Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fr. Antonio Royo Marin's Commentary on the Hail Mary, pt. 8: "Holy Mary, Mother of God"

Holy Mary, Mother of God

These words begin the second part of the Hail Mary, which does not appear in the Gospels. Now, we have already noted in the first part of this commentary that the second part of the prayer began to appear in the 14th century, but it was not used universally until the reform of the Roman Breviary, promulgated by Pope St. Pius V in 1568. We pick up again the pious commentary of Fr. Barcón:

1. Holy Mary. God values the sanctity of Mary more than her maternity. Hence, I should prefer Mary to be holy before being the Mother of God. And for this reason, the Church firstly calls her "Holy Mary." And in the litanies we place her sanctity before her other prerogatives, saying: Holy Mary, Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins. And it is before holiness that the angels and archangels, the cherubim and seraphim, unceasingly sing before God in heaven: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus [Holy, Holy, Holy]! 

Mary is holy because she faithfully fulfilled the will of God in all things. She is holy because, after her Son, nobody had the same degree of charity, the same humility, the same patience, or any of the other virtues to the same degree as her. She is holy in her conception, in her life, in her death. Holy in Bethlehem, in Egypt, in Nazareth, at Calvary.

Holy Mary, obtain for us from your Son celestial light to deem holiness above all the goods of the earth. 

We know how one degree of grace is of greater value than the entire good of the universe combined. We ought never waste the occasion to augment our virtues, and we ought to understand the glory that awaits in heaven for all eternity to a single work of virtue. We must believe within that we have come to earth for no other purpose than to be holy. We have come neither to be rich, nor to be praised, nor to be entertained, nor to pursue a happy life, comfortable, and more or less free of faults [as society deems them], but we are here to be chaste, humble, mortified, meek, obedient to the law of God. This is our obligation and our bliss.

2. Mother of God. No mother is a seraphim or cherubim, but all things and the celestial hierarchies are of the Lord and God. No mother is powerful, rich, the owner of great treasures and possessions, nor is any mother the master of the earth and the seas, of the air and the depths of the abyss, of the stars and the clouds, of the birds and the fields.

But the Mother of God is to be a Mother under whose care are all things: those things which, like bodies, perish, and those things which, like souls, are immortal. The Mother of God is to possess, after God, the loftiest dignity, sanctity, goodness, loving-kindness, and power. The Mother of God is to be the Mother most pure, without original sin; the Mother most chaste, the Mother most amiable, the Mother most admirable, the Mother of all Christians, the Mother of the Creator, the Mother of the Savior, the Mother of Beautiful Love, the Mother of divine grace.

3. The Mother of God is our Mother as well. We ought to recall that the life of grace was communicated to us by Mary's Son in Redemption.

Because Christ is head of the Mystical Body, of which we are the members, Mary is our Mother. Because at the foot of the Cross Christ said to Mary, "Woman, behold your son," and we are the adopted sons of God by grace, Mary is our Mother. 

And for these reasons we are obliged to reciprocate: She to love us, to defend us, to raise us, to teach us; we to love her, invoke her, reverence her, to present ourselves to her.

He who will not be safeguarded by Mary will be lost; he who will not be led by Mary will walk as a blind man; and he who will not love Mary will not know Jesus, nor will he be preserved in grace, nor will he enter glory, for She is the gate of heaven: ianua cæli [the door of heaven].

Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of mercy, defend us from the enemy and receive us at the hour of death. Show yourself to be a Mother; bring our petitions before Him who, born for us, desired to be your Son.


Source: Fr. Antonio Royo Marín, La Virgen María, trans. by R. Grablin (Madrid, Spain: BAC, 1996), 456-457.

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