Jesus answered: ‘Will you lay down your life for me?’ - John 13:38

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Monday, August 23, 2010

HM1101: Introduction to Hail Mary

When was the first time you learnt Hail Mary prayer? Hmm.. I went to a Catholic school from kindergarten till high school. I think the kindergarten teacher taught us when we were in K1. I can’t remember whether I learnt this prayer in K1, K2, or maybe primary school. In my school, we always prayed The Lord’s Prayer before class started and we recited Hail Mary when the class ended.
We might not remember how we learnt about this beautiful prayer. So, let’s visit our childhood and learn again about this prayer 

When you open Luke 1: 28, you’ll find that the first part of this prayer comes from this verse, the salutation from Angel Gabriel to Our Lady, “Hail (Mary) full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women.” If you jump a little bit to Luke 1: 42, you’ll find out that we use the same words as what St. Elizabeth used when Our Lady visited her, “and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Jesus)”. How about the finale? It is stated in the ‘Catechism of the Council of Trent’ which has been framed by the Church. The last sentence is our petition which implies that “we should piously and suppliantly have recourse to her in order that by her intercession she may reconcile God with us sinners and obtain for us the blessing we need both for this present life and for the life which has not end” (

We possibly cannot recall how many times we have prayed Hail Mary: during rosary, during Angelus prayer, in front of Our Lady’s grotto, and for me, every time I feel nervous, especially before exam or presentation. We might feel that this prayer has become too automatic in our brain and recited too automatic by our mouth. Now is the moment for us to contemplate on this prayer, a ‘normal’ prayer, a prayer that we have learnt since our childhood, but it doesn’t mean it is an ‘automatic’ prayer without any feeling or emotion.

When we say, ”Hail Mary, full of grace…” , how about trying to visualize the Annunciation? Imagine you were there in the room when Angel Gabriel salute Our Lady, a very young Virgin who answered “Yes, be it done unto me according to Your word.” Then we fly to a few months later when Our Lady visited St. Elizabeth. In this prayer, we praise Mother Mary and Jesus at the same time, “… the fruit of Thy womb …” . Last but not least, when we recite the last part, asking Mother Mary’s intercession, we also offer our whole life to the Lord, the happiness and sadness, petition and thanksgiving. At the same time, we realize how we are a sinner, but still, Mother Mary wants to pray for us

Je vous salue, Marie pleine de grâces ;
le Seigneur est avec vous.
Vous êtes bénie entre toutes les femmes et Jésus,
le fruit de vos entrailles, est béni.
Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu,
priez pour nous pauvres pécheurs,
maintenant et à l'heure de notre mort.

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