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