Hail Mary Full Of Grace

The few lines that I write about the Mother of God may appear to be just a drop of water in an ocean or a sand particle on a sea shore since through the centuries thousands of people have come to know of the various dimensions of the devotion to Mary from the various writings of several theologians, scholars and Her own revelations. Yet our understanding is far short of the desired level, I feel. Can those who have known, understood

and loved the Mother of Jesus ever desert her? Can She be rejected? If that takes place then She is not known at all! It is through chapter 1 of Luke in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit makes known the birth of Jesus. We shall meditate on that part: ‘In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said,“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?’’ The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; there fore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God”. Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her’ (Lk 1:26-38).

Read carefully the 27th verse: Angel Gabriel was sent by God to Virgin Mary! It was because Holy Mary appeared acceptable to God more than everyone else in her generation that God chose her to become the abode of His son. Mary offers herself to accept something which no woman engaged to a man would ever do. Even when she heard that she is going to be mother of God, she spoke only two ‘words’: One, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?(Lk. 1; 34). Two, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk.1:38). The first one naturally comes from a woman untouched by man; but it also reveals the eagerness to know God’s plan being unfolded through her. The second one relates to the complete surrendering to the will of God.

The incarnation of God summarized in just 13 sentences may appear to be inconsequential. But we may realize

that the suffering life of Holy Virgin Mary starts here. In these days Virgin Mary isabused most banally. But what wrong has she done to merit so much banal abuses and that too from Christians? Is it because she offered herself completely to the plan of God? Is it because she forsook all the human pleasures of life and endured silently much

more than what an ordinary woman could hardly bear? Nowhere in the Bible have we seen Mary making revolutionary statements, rallying people behind Jesus, or controlling and giving lead to his apostles. On the contrary Mary’s life was one of deep silence; and her ways - of prayers, tears and abstinence! Mary accepted the Word that God the Father entrusted with her. She believed the Word that she accepted; obeyed the Word that she believed; protected the Word that she obeyed; and gave to the world the Word that she protected. Once I happened to hear an evangelist asking the reasons for giving so much importance to Mother Mary; there is no reason whatsoever for recognizing, loving and respecting her; the Bible does not require so!!

Those who reject Holy Mary may realize that Jesus came to the world through Mary; that He received body and blood from Mary. Those who reject mother Mary but at the same time claim that they need only Jesus may remember that the blood of Jesus on which they trust for the salvation of their souls is in fact the blood of Mother Mary. “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sins” (1 Jn. 1:7). The body of Jesus crucified for you was formed in the womb of Mary! The claim of those who reject Mary but at the same time believe in Jesus and stand in his name is similar to the position that we don’t need the body but only require the heart in it to sustain life!

1. Humility of Mary

What was the nature of Holy Virgin Mary chosen to become the mother of God? Was it divine? We shall find it out through Mary herself. She says: “He has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant” (Lk.1:48). The deep humility in the personality of Virgin Mary is reflected in this Word: humility that approximates nothingness or self-emptying. This aspect of Virgin Mary is evident in the Book of St. Luke. “In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.’ ( Lk.1:39-40). ‘And Mary remained with her for about three months and then returned to her home’ (Lk. 1:56). Though she was chosen to become the mother of the Messiah, the fulfillment of numerous prophesies and centuries of expectant- waiting, the first act of Virgin Mary was one of service. She descended into the depths of humility ever since the moment of conception.

2. Continuous Faith

‘Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord: let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her’ (Lk. 1:38).A great declaration of faith of Holy Mary; a declaration beyond the imagination of any human being! Ever since Genesis human offspring is born from the union of man and woman; though Mother Mary was aware of that universal rule, She did not question the message coming through Angel Gabriel though untenable to human intelligence. She submitted herself wholly to God’s plan. The most edifying factor about Virgin Mary’s faith is that She  did not ask for a unique sign beyond what was told by Angel Gabriel. Who on earth in this generation who have known God the Father through Jesus can believe God as the Virgin did; She did not question, doubt or ask for a sign, but just believed. She believed in God even when She wandered here and there for a place to beget the savior, when after giving birth to child Jesus She put him in a manger (Lk 2:5-7) and also when She had to flee with the child to Egypt by night and live there incognito (Mt 2:13-15).

3. Intense love/ silent suffering

It was the love of God in her that strengthened Virgin Mary to endure all the sufferings and insults in life. Her love (endurance) was befitting to the plan of God. Her conduct was acceptable to God in all the ways She had to traverse for the fulfillment of God’ plan. The love of God in its perfection was evident in all her doings. We know that Love is the nature of God. “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes in all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13: 4- 8). Virgin Mary is the perfect personality defined as per this Word. Her perfection is the perfection of the holiness of God. If She did not have the perfection of the holiness She stood alongside Him till death, endured alongside Jesus till crucifixion. There is no love of Jesus in those who reject Mary, the clearest evidence of which is their rejection on very slight provocation of the holy sacraments and Holy Mary branding her as ‘devil’ and their self-exit from the Church which till then has been their fountain of life. To justify their action before the world and thus save their face they interpret the word of God according to their whims. The word of God is unambiguous: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). When one stands for Jesus and the kingdom of God, he should have in him the perfect love towards God/ Jesus in order to overcome problems and to endure pain on the way. Only those who love Jesus could love Mary. During the last hours of Jesus in this world when every one of his disciples ran for their own safety out of fear, John alone stood beside Jesus. He stood at the foot of the cross without fear and proclaimed silently: Jesus I love you very much! And Mary, mother of Jesus is the invaluable gift that Jesus gave to the disciple who loved him very much and whom he loved (Jn. 19: 26, 27). To love her, you should love Jesus as John loved. Jesus who gave his life loving the world now also looks eagerly as ever for those who love him; how many people love my mother through me. He will love you as he loved John since when you love Mary you are accepting Jesus fully. Mary, mother of Jesus and Lady of All Nations, pray for us.


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