Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hail Mary, Full of Grace!

The mother of Jesus has a beautiful prayer that most people know as the "Hail Mary."  It is often recited like this in the Catholic tradition:

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.

Mary is a perfect example of the "Mother" archetype: nuturing, loving, and always willing to listen and help her children.  The imagery of Mary holding her baby Jesus has created some of the most touching and beautiful artwork that the world has ever known.

In Catholic school, we sang a song called "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman" which was written by Carey Landry sometime in the 1960s or 1970s.  I always loved it; it perfectly sums up the woman who mothered God's son, both gentle and strong at the same time.

The lyrics are as follows:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blest is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of death. Amen.

Gentle woman, quiet light,
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.

You were chosen by the Father;
you were chosen for the Son.
You were chosen from all women
and for woman, shining one.

Blessed are you among women,
blest in turn all women, too.
Blessed they with peaceful spirits.
Blessed they with gentle hearts.

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