The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God dates back to the birth of Jesus. Why is this not a surprise? The Shepherds and the angels, the sheep and the cattle, the maji and the little drummer boy all realized at that happy event that not only had the Son of God been born, but also that we poor humans had been given a Mother. We believe that Jesus was the greatest gift ever, and of course it is. But right along with that wonderful gift we were given another great gift. The gift of our very own mother. It took a while for the Church to declare the Solemnity of the Virgin Mother. And yes, they did, however long it took. But we. the poor people of this earth knew it instinctively. We rejoiced, fell on our knees, and prayed in thanksgiving to the Mother who gave us Jesus and we knew that because she gave us Jesus she would, as a loving Mother, give us whatever we thought we needed and asked for.
My own mother taught me The Hail Mary. She told us, my brothers and sisters, we should say three Hail Marys every time we were in trouble and Mary would find a way to get us out of trouble. My mother said, “If you are ever afraid, say three “Hail Marys” and Mary would take care of our fears.” We learned early in life to rely on Mary. And even to this day, before I embark on a Journey, I remember to recite my three Hail Marys for a safe journey. And my four year old niece always prays three Hail Marys as we buckle her into her car seat.
And yes, the calendar is filled with feast days to the Blessed Mother. And every country has its own day and name to honor Mary, the Mother of God. In Mexico, it is Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. In Cuba, Our Lady of Charity on November 22. In every country and language Mary is honored as the Mother of God and as our Mother.
Listen to the many prayers, besides the Hail Mary and the Rosary, songs and hymns dedicated to Mary. Artists too, have depicted Mary in every art form imaginable. And we, simple monks and sisters, end our evening prayer raising our voices to the refrain of , “Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae: vita dulcedo…”
Evangeline Salazar, OSB