Friday, March 27, 2009

Ave Maria

We move now from talking about general forms of prayer, to looking at specific prayers. Probably the most recognizable Catholic prayer is the Hail Mary. It's a prayer that tends to make a lot of non-Catholic Christians squirm a bit, but a closer look at the words themselves reveals that it is partly comprised of scripture, and partly a mere petition to ask for intercessory prayer (as talked about here.) The parts in brackets are not direct quotes from scripture.

Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee. (Luke 1:28)
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, [Jesus]. (Luke 1:42)
[Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
And just because I find it beautiful, here is the text in Latin.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.

In looking at sacred art and the many images of Mary, it's common to see Mary staring at, pointing to, or holding up the child Jesus for us to adore. And this embodies her role, and provides an image of why it is we ask for her prayers at all. Mary, the first to receive Christ into her body, always helps us to draw closer to Him, she points the way to true union with Him.

Here's a lovely Ave Maria with some beautiful sacred art to accompany it. Enjoy!

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