The “Hail Mary” gives us the explanation of the mystery we are celebrating.
As we prepare for the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the close the Year of St. Joseph, we place in the loving protection of both Mary and Joseph, in this time of preparation for Christ’s birth, all the many worries and preoccupations that weigh upon us.
We entrust to her the coming year, asking her to guide us in and through it, that each day of 2022 will bring us closer to her Son.
In the Liturgy of this Feast the Gospel of the Annunciation (Lk 1:26-38) is proclaimed. It contains, precisely, the dialogue between the Angel Gabriel and the Blessed Virgin. “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you,” God’s messenger says, and in this way reveals Mary’s most profound identity, the “name” so to speak, with which God himself recognizes her: “full of grace.”
This expression that is so familiar from childhood because we say it every time that we recite the “Hail Mary,” gives us the explanation of the mystery we are celebrating today.
In fact, from the moment when she was conceived by her parents, Mary was the object of unique favour on the part of God who, in his eternal plan, chose her in advance to be Mother of his Son made man and, consequently, preserved from original sin. Therefore the Angel addressed her with this name which means implicitly, “always filled with God’s love,” with his grace.
This is the oldest recorded Marian prayer, outside of the texts from the Gospels:
We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.