By: Father Steve Gallagher
Have you ever given any serious consideration to the words of the Hail Mary? In our Catholic world it is a well-established and easily recognizable prayer in which we simply ask the Mother of God for her intercession on our behalf. Sometimes I chuckle to myself when I contemplate this prayer because I cannot begin to count the amount of times when I would ask my dad for something and he would say, “Ask your mother.”
This is exactly what we are doing, we are asking our heavenly mother, the Mother of the Church and the Mother of God, for help in our day-to-day lives. I receive so many different prayer requests in many different ways that sometimes it can be hard to keep up with them let alone remember them all. When I find myself getting over-whelmed by the number of requests I receive I always “Ask my mother.”
Consider for a moment the three parts to the Hail Mary. The first one is a supernatural message delivered to Mary by a messenger from God, the angel Gabriel: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” This “Annunciation” is so validly recognized that the liturgical calendar of the Church celebrates this great mystical event on March 25th.
The second part of the Hail Mary, inspired by our heavenly Father is: “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” These are the words of Elizabeth to her cousin Mary and we celebrate this as the Feast of the Visitation on May 31st. In the first salutation we see an angel of God greeting Mary while in the second she is greeted by another woman.
The third part of the Hail Mary was given to us at the Council of Ephesus in 431AD to combat the evil of Nestorianism. And then, over the years, the Church, in her love and wisdom, added the names of Jesus and Mary as a way to clarify our own, personal petition.
gMary most pure, who is of human origin, was chosen by the Divine to bring his Divine Son into this troubled world for our salvation. Since God the Father deemed it necessary to use Mary as a remedy for our salvation, may we consider recognizing her intercessory power in our lives. “By way of showing the sovereignty and supremacy of Mary as Mother of God and the Queen of All Saints, we may pause to think of the millions and millions and millions of Catholics who have died under her protection, saved their souls, been purified in Purgatory, and are now in the Beatific Vision, adoring God and singing the praises of His mother”. And this is exactly what it is about, saving souls from the fires of hell.
Recognizing the holy dignity which God has bestowed on Mary and his desire in using a mere human being to bring our savior to us, let us, in humble faithfulness, also go to Mary so that this world of our day may be brought to Christ. Her role – her only role – is to lead others to Christ her son. At Cana she said, “Do whatever he tells you.” She is the one, sure, immaculate and most direct way that will lead individual souls and nations back to Christ.
The purpose of the Hail Mary Club – “One a Day” is threefold:
• For an increase of vocations to our diocese.
• For the needs and intentions of all those who join the club.
• For the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
Take a minute to reflect on the immense power of the entire Diocese of Juneau all united as one for these intentions. A spiritual army of the faithful petitioning the Mother of God on a daily basis is a significant show of faith. Let us be grateful children of God and ask for her daily intercession.
Ideas on how to use these little cards, that are available at each parish in the Diocese:
• Put them in your Christmas cards.
• Put them in birthday cards, anniversary cards.
• Put them in the bills you mail.
• Pass them out to friends.
• Give one to each of your children.
• Carry them in your wallet or purse.
• Put them on the visor of your car.
• Put them on your refrigerator.
• Use your imagination – they are a tangible reminder.