The ‘Hail Mary’ prayer, called Ave Maria in Latin, is the most recited prayer to the Virgin Mary. What does it really mean? In addition to understanding its historical and biblical context, let’s try to understand its meaning. The ‘Hail Mary’ is structured as a prayer both praising and supplicating the Virgin Mary.
This salutation opens the prayer. It refers to God’s greeting to Mary, through the intermediary of the Angel Gabriel (Luke 1: 28). Back then, the word ‘Hail’, or ‘Ave’ in Latin, was a sign of respect reserved for the high class citizens of society. To Her surprise, the angel Gabriel used it to greet Mary, reflecting all the deferential respect that God had for Her. ‘Ave’ is also the reverse of the Latin spelling of Eve, “Eva”, who committed the original sin.
The first part of this verse is clarified by the second: Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with Her. She is also full of grace because she is without sin, and sin is an obstacle to grace. Therefore, the notion of “Immaculate” appears in the second verse. the Virgin Mary is also referred to as the “Immaculate Conception”
After the Angel’s greeting, the prayer features Mary’s cousin Elizabeth’s greeting. (Luke 1: 42). Jesus Christ is called the fruit of Her womb: Mary offered both Her soul and Her body to God. Through Her and Her intermediary, God was made flesh. The word “fruit” is also a deeply biblical term, it is incorporated into many parts from the Old Testament, such as God’s command to: “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28) and the Forbidden Fruit.
We are only human beings, which is why we ask that the Virgin Mary intercedes for us before God. Here, we fully give ourselves to Her and entrust Her with everything we have, everything we are. We pray that she may align our will with God’s. We also pray that She may bring us our salvation: by calling ourselves sinners, we recognise our inferiority. We ask that Mary may lead us to the path towards Her son Jesus Christ and God the Father.
Discover the many spiritual programs and prayer communities dedicated to the Virgin Mary that Hozana has to offer! You can join a community to spend a month of prayer with Our Mother Mary, or dedicate thirty days to the consecration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.