Mary’s New Name

Every time we pray a “Hail Mary,” we’re repeating the words of the Angel Gabriel.

Kind of…

The Angel Gabriel never says, “Hail, Mary.” Instead, he says, “Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1:28). In other words, he calls her by a new name.

Just like other figures in salvation history whose name change denotes something about their identity (Abram becomes Abraham – “Great Father”, Jacob becomes Israel “One who reigns with God”, Simon becomes Peter “Rock”), when he calls her “full of grace,” the word he uses is a new name.

He calls her “kecharitomene, “which means, “favored one” or “full of grace.”

That’s an extremely rare word, used only in the Annunciation scene and in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (1:6-7). In Luke, the term is used in the perfect tense. This means that the angel is saying he finds Mary in an already graced state.

She is “full of grace.” There is no lacking in her.

In other words, she has been immaculately conceived without sin.

Before becoming Catholic, I used to get all in a huff about this. “How can God do that? It doesn’t make sense.” And yet I didn’t have any problem with the fact that Eve was created sinless.

I just didn’t consider the fact that the grace of Christ’s death and resurrection can be applied to any place in time that God wants.

Even though Mary was born after Original Sin and before the Cross of Christ, God is inside and outside of space and time. That means he can apply grace anywhere he wants. We get it 2,000 years after the Cross and Resurrection of Christ.

Mary got it at the moment of her conception. She is created sinless. She is the New Eve.

And the same grace that is given to Mary is the same grace given to us. In fact, she has become the conduit of that grace into our lives. God gave us the grace of His Son through Mary. In other words, she is the channel God uses to give us grace.

(This is part of the basis for all Marian devotion. We go back to God the same way He came to us…through Mary. We’re just using the channel he set up!)

And as our Mother in the faith, Mary is trying to conceive in us the same love and devotion to Our Lord that she’s had since first moment of her conception.

So on this Solemnity of the Annunciation, ask Our Lady to open you up to all the grace of God that she wants to pour out upon you. As the Mother of God…and yours…she knows exactly what you need.

Ave Maria!


All who have been lost were lost because they did not pray.” St. Alphonsus Liguori.

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It’s an easy step-by-step summary of the spiritual giants of the Church designed to help you rocket to God!




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070: How Mary Can Save Civilization…again

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Have we lost? Because a lot of people think so.

Earlier this year a book came out called The Benedict Option. It’s a runaway bestseller written by a famous former Evangelical named Rod Dreher.

He basically says we’ve lost the culture war and radical change in lifestyle is needed if Christianity is going to survive in the West.

And he’s right…most of the time.

While Dreher’s call for a retreat into a kind quasi-monastic existence rings true on many levels, it misses a key ingredient that can change everything…Mary.

Enter Dr. Carrie Gress.

In this year of the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, she provides a little different slant…a Marian slant. Her new book “The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis” presents what I think is Dreher’s missing link.

If you don’t recognize the hand of Mary in our past then you can’t understand her pivotal role for our future.

So in this episode, Dr. Gress and I will discuss:

  • What exactly is the Marian Option
  • Why Mary is the “Cultivator of Culture”
  • The fascinating connection between Islam and the apparitions at Guadalupe, Fatima, and Lourdes
  • Why Mariology stopped developing in the East after the Great Schism
  • Why ecumenism without Mary is false ecumenism

It’s a fantastic and illuminating discussion in which I’m betting you’ll learn a few things and gain some deeper insight into this transitional moment in human history.

But as the infomercials say, “That’s not all!”

Because after my conversation with Carrie, the amazing Curtis Mitch will answer a very intriguing and bothersome question on our second installment of Next Level Scripture.

You don’t want to miss it.

God bless!


P.S. If you liked this episode, you’ll probably like these, too:

Episode 055 – Unveiling the 3 Secrets of Fatima

Episode 027 – Part 1 – The (Very) Ancient Origins of Marian Devotion

Episode 028 – Part 2 – The (Very) Ancient Origins of Marian Devotion

CLICK HERE to grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to the amazing, undeniable parallels between Our Lady and the Ark of the Covenant in Sacred Scripture.

It’s the perfect size to share with others who don’t appreciate Our Lady.

And what shall we say is the Ark, but holy Mary?” St. Ambrose of Milan


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Click here for trip details.


059: Unleashing the Rosary with Fr. Don Calloway

catholic_FINAL_150In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re at war.

We need a weapon. A powerful one. One feared by the Devil.

Most of us already have one.

It’s called the rosary. And if wielded properly it cuts through the darkness like a light saber (especially if it’s glow-in-the-dark:).

In this special episode of The Art of Catholic, I interview Fr. Donald Calloway, author, speaker, and Vicar Provincial of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He knows the rosary.

In fact, he wrote a great book static1-squarespaceon it titled Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual WeaponSo I brought him in to give us all a greater appreciation for the history, beauty, and power of the “Bible on Beads.”

Among other things, we discuss:

  • The miraculous origin of the rosary through St. Dominic
  • The history of the Marian Psalter (which predated the rosary)
  • How the horrific Black Plague shaped the rosary
  • The epic defeat of the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto (because of the rosary!)
  • Why you should know a guy named Alan de la Roche
  • The crucial role of England in preserving the rosary51ycyytfyol-_sx353_bo1204203200_
  • The indulgences associated with the praying the “Bible on Beads”

All that and more in this jam-packed episode of The Art of Catholic. It’s a show you don’t want to miss. So grab your rosary (and your coffee) and join us! Hail Mary!

God bless!


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What is an authentic Catholic life? Louder Than Words: The Art of Living as a Catholic covers topics like evangelization, redemptive suffering, what we can know about heaven, Sacred Scripture, prayer, the Eucharist, and more. But it also illuminates the final end toward which it’s all ordered – divinity – real participation in God’s divine nature! This book is a clarion call for spiritual growth proclaiming the transforming power of an authentic Catholic life.

“A theological thrill ride that will leave you breathless and exhilarated by God’s love. Matthew Leonard knows the Catholic faith and, even more impressively, he knows how to articulate it in a way few others can. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and get this book.” Mark Hart, author, speaker, & Executive Vice President of Life Teen International

Full of biblical wisdom and practical insight, readers will be inspired and challenged to grow, and then motivated and empowered to go forth.” – Dr. Scott Hahn, author, speaker, & Professor, Franciscan University of Steubenville

8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life Cover ImageGrab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! It’s an easy step-by-step guide to help you rocket to God!


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