We echo the most majestic greeting given to Our Lady by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. This greeting (reserved for royalty!) reminds us that we are addressing our prayer to the Queen of Heaven and Earth - of Love, Truth and Mercy Incarnate. She is full of Grace Itself as God takes refuge within her most holy womb.
The Lord is With Thee.
The angel, understanding this, awaited her "Fiat." As soon as she uttered her humble, trusting acceptance of God's plan, no doubt he knelt before her, adoring not the Blessed Mother, but the Child she then accepted into herself through the Holy Spirit. God had always surrounded this humble Virgin. He always resided joyfully within her heart and soul. Now, He took physical shape within her body, and henceforth they became inseparable in a wholly unique way.
Blessed are Thou Amongst Women
Here we are faced with the words given to Our Lady by both Angel Gabriel and her cousin, Elizabeth, during the first moments of the Visitation. Elizabeth, deeply moved by the Holy Spirit, cries out the Divine Revelation that Mary, her young cousin, unknown to any man, was the dignified spouse of God spoken of in Psalm 45, verse 17: I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever. Indeed, the Blessed Mother acknowledges her blessings once more through her Magnificat in stating "All generations shall call me blessed."
And Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus.
Ah, here we are at the exact center of the prayer. Who do we find? Jesus. After all, Jesus is at the center of all Mary is. Her very existence is to both bring Jesus into the world, and bring the world back into Jesus. Thus, at the center of even her most revered prayer, Jesus is the foundation on which it is built. Jesus was the reason for the angel's majestic greeting. Jesus was the reason for Elizabeth's inspired emotion. And it is through Mary's intercession that we hope to reach the heart of Jesus.
Yet we are also reminded that Jesus is both God and Man. He is, after all, a product of both God (the power of the Holy Spirit) and Man (through the Blessed Mother's physical bearing and tending). Thus, it is fitting to call Jesus the Blessed Fruit of HER womb. For as much as God did to create Himself within her, she also did her part in ensuring He grew and was born into the world safely.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
We acknowledge her unique place as Queen Mother (a topic I could devote several blog entries to!), and in doing so, trust that our next request is placed in capable and loving hands.
Pray for us Sinners now and at the Hour of Death.
Like children lost and in need of help, we turn to our Heavenly Mother for guidance and assistance. We understand that, as the Mother of God, her intercession is strong. She is not to be swayed, and knowing how much she loves her Son... how much she, too, sacrificed for the salvation of humanity, God cannot say "No" to her. Nor would He, as her intentions always reside peacefully within His Will.
The word "amen" is a Hebrew word meaning "Have faith and believe." Once we adopted this word for Christian use, we taped it onto the end of our prayers to add conviction. The "Amen" places our stamp of firm conviction on the Hail Mary, reaffirming our beliefs that the statements we make (and all the nuances they carry) are true. So true, in fact, that we would be willing to stake our lives on their validity.