Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We glorify God in the Hail Mary

Non-Catholic Christians often accuse Catholics of idolatry by claiming that we worship Mary as if she was more important to us than God. However, any honest Christian who truly knows what Catholics believe and practise would never accuse a Catholic of such a heinous sin.

On the contrary, Catholics do not worship Mary as above God. In fact, Catholics do NOT worship Mary – period. We honour her because she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, (which makes her the Mother of God); and she is also our Mother given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ before He died (Jn 19:26-27). As our Mother, we do well to obey God’s command and honour her (Ex 20:12).

As part of this honour to our Blessed Mother, we Catholics often recite the Hail Mary:

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer asking our Lady for her intercession on our behalf. What we often don’t realise is just how Scriptural the Hail Mary is. The first part is taken from the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary; the second and third part is taken from St. Elisabeth’s greeting to her; and the third part is based on the Christian principle that we should pray for one another.

At present, I am reading “The Secret of the Rosary” by St. Louis de Montfort, who has the following to say about the Hail Mary:

“Although the [Hail Mary] is addressed directly to the Mother of God and contains her praises, it nevertheless glorifies the Blessed Trinity. Any honour we pay to our Lady returns to God as the cause of all her perfections and virtues. God the Father is glorified because we are honouring His most perfect creature. God the Son is glorified because we are praising His most pure Mother. God the Holy Spirit is glorified because we are in admiration of the graces with which He filled His Spouse.”

May our Good Lord grant that we would grow in our love and devotion towards Mary…and as we do so, we will find that she will do for us what she has always done for all God’s saints – she will unfailingly point us to her Son.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

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