Jesus Reemphasises The Blessedness of Mary: The “Hail Mary” Prayer (CF. Luke 11:27-28)

1) THE TITLE OF MARY AS “BLESSED”

As regards the “Blessedness of Mary“, It is a very common thing among the Catholics to refer to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, with the title: “the Blessed Virgin Mary”. However, more than just a title, it is equally “an intercessory invocation”. This is because the Catholics also believe in the intercessory role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus Christ and the earthly wife of Joseph.

However, this very title is not without an origin, it is not born out of a mere conjecture or thought; it is greatly rooted in the Bible. It is found in one of the prayers that is being referred to as the “Hail Mary” prayer.

For reference sake, the “Hail Mary” prayer can be located in the Gospel of Luke, comprising of two principal parts. The first part of the prayer is derived from the Annunciation encounter, when the angel Gabriel greeted Mary by saying, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28) The other part of the prayer is taken from the encounter at Mary´s visit to Elizabeth, when Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, “BLESSED are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42).

Even though it is provable that the Prayer stems from the Bible, however, it only came to be used together as an article of prayer about the 11th century. Based on the information from the Catholic Encyclopaedia, “there is little or no trace of the Hail Mary as an accepted devotional formula before about 1050.”

Nevertheless, it is with the publication of the Catechism of the Council of Trent that the “Ave Maria (Hail Mary)” was officially finalised and included in the Roman Breviary of 1568 (ref: ALETEIA)

JESUS REEMPHASISES THE BLESSEDNESS OF MARY: THE “HAIL MARY” PRAYER (CF. LUKE 11:27-28)

2) THE RECONFIRMATION OF JESUS ON THE BLESSEDNESS OF MARY

Within the same biblical context, Jesus continues to confirm this “Blessedness” and privileged position of Mary.
Not only in granting her humble request at the wedding at Cana in Galilee (cf. John 2:1-12), nor in entrusting the World to her at the point of death on the cross through the person of John the beloved (cf. John 19:26-27), but also in explicitly pronouncing the very words in confirmation of this “Honour” of Blessedness. While in the same scenario, inviting us all to this Blessedness, which He desires that all those who believe in Him and Obeys His Words, which is also Himself, will come to enjoy.

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3) THE BIBLICAL BACKUP AND INTERPRETATION OF THIS SUPPOSITION

The Gospel of Luke 11:27-28 is a clear confirmation of this supposition, and it is the fulcrum of this very write-up. The statement of Jesus in this passage, even though it is not directly stated, is quite a reconfirmation of the Salutation of both the Angel Gabriel and Elizabeth.

The Passage clearly reads: “It happened that as He was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ´Blessed the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you!´ But He replied, ´More Blessed still are those who hear the word of God and keep it!´”

3a) Affirmation by Provocation:

Now, with a clearer look at this passage, one can discover two great affirmations. The first affirmation, which is the “affirmation by provocation”.
There is a popular saying among some cultures that “a good child brings honour to the mother, while a bad child brings disgrace to the father”. In this sense, the very act of Jesus was very propelling that the woman had to affirm what was already a reality.

Even though it was not documented that the Spirit of God led her to make this postulation, yet one could rightly postulate that the spirit that inspired such affirmation in her must surely be a Spirit of Truth.
Therefore, if that is the case, then it is surely the Divine Spirit, which is the fullness of Truth. Moreover, it even makes more sense, because she was also before the very one, who is the Truth incarnate, affirming the reality of Truth.

3b) Deductive Affirmation:

The second affirmation is the “deductive affirmation”. Jesus said, “More Blessed still are those who hear the word of God and keep it”. By way of indirect deduction and within, still, the same context of the honour that is already hallowing the motherhood of the Jesus Christ, He re-acknowledges the “Fiat” of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Jesus indirectly reminds us that His mother is not only “Blessed” because of what He Himself does, but also for “believing and accepting” the message of God, which was sent by the angel Gabriel. Because Mary both “heard the Word of God” and “kept it”. She gave her positive response, notwithstanding the cultural and religious risks and implications that it had during her time. It was a sign of a radical and profound faith. It is every obvious that this very “Word”, which is Jesus Christ, was consciously kept by the Blessed Virgin Mary, right from the moment of conception, through suffering, death and resurrection, until His glorious ascension into heaven.

Oh, what a care so divine and human, a responsible responsibility, a faithfully faith, and a chore that was taken to the core!

4) THE INCLUSIVITY OF JESUS´ ASSURANCE

One of the good examples that these salvific histories and messages has continued to teach humanity is that their protagonists are humans, or said the other way round, “came in the form of humans, with all the characteristics, endowments, difficulties and exigencies of the human life.”

As such, Jesus is at the same time inviting all to that “Blessedness”, which her mother enjoys; if and only if, “we hear or listen to His word and keep it”.
However, the Goodnews is that we have a model, one in whom we can look up to, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She has also been graced with the privilege of interceding for all the believers in Christ, an honour she holds right from her times in the world.

As such, it is advisable that the believers in Christ should take good advantage of this medium. History, backup with the ecclesiastical catholic doctrines and teachings, has shown how powerful her intercessory role has been for all who call on her. The “Ave Maria (Hail Mary)” has always served as one of those means.

JESUS REEMPHASISES THE BLESSEDNESS OF MARY: THE “HAIL MARY” PRAYER (CF. LUKE 11:27-28)
JESUS REEMPHASISES THE BLESSEDNESS OF MARY: THE “HAIL MARY” PRAYER (CF. LUKE 11:27-28)

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