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Where is the Hail Mary in the Bible?

If we’re going to be praying the rosary regularly, we are going to be praying A LOT of Hail Marys. The rosary is repetitive, like so many other important things we do (eating, sleeping, and saying “I love you” to our family members), but that doesn’t mean that it is mindless. In fact, to pray the Hail Mary is to declare Biblical truth.

Let’s break it down:

The first half of the prayer is straight out of Sacred Scripture. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would be the mother of Jesus, he greeted her, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28). God chose Mary to be the mother of our saviour. She certainly was blessed.

While Mary was pregnant with Jesus, she went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. At Mary’s greeting, the child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt, and filled with the holy spirit, Elizabeth declared, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:41-42). Sound familiar?

The second half of the Hail Mary is not a direct quote from the Bible but it is completely in line with Biblical teaching. We pray: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Lets take a closer look:

  1. We call Mary “Holy.” Does it give Mary honour that only God deserves? No. While only God is holy by nature, others may be called holy by association with him. In the Bible, to be “holy” is to be set apart for God’s purpose. People, places, and things are called “holy” throughout Scripture. God declares through Moses that Israel will be a “holy nation” (Ex 19:6). The city of Jerusalem (Is 48:2) and the tabernacle where God’s presence dwells (Ex 28:43) are also called “holy.” The word “saint” actually means “holy one” (Rom 1:7, Eph 1:1, Phil 1:1, Col 1:2). Undoubtedly, Mary is holy.

  2. We call Mary “Mother of God.” Jesus is God. Mary is so special because she is his mother. Elizabeth understood this when she exclaimed: “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me” (Luke 1:43)?

  3. We ask Mary to pray for us. Jesus wants his people to pray for one another (check out our other blog posts for more on this). Scripture tells us that the prayers of a righteous and faithful person have great power (James 5:16, Matt 17:20, Matt 21:22, Mark 11:22-24). Who could be more righteous or powerful than Jesus’ own beloved mum? Moreover, as our spiritual mother, Mary’s role is to help us on our journey to heaven. She loves her children on Earth and is happy to pray for us!

We’ve seen that the Hail Mary is biblical through and through. But there is much more to what the Bible tells us about Mary! If you’re interested in exploring more deeply, check out Hail Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn or Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defence of the Marian Doctrines by Tim Staples.

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