August 19, 2013
Introduction: Father Paul Robichaud, CSP
With the recent feast of the Assumption, it seemed appropriate to publish Father Hecker’s reflection on the Hail Mary. First is the greeting of the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:28) which reminds us of the importance of Mary’s “yes” in salvation history. Father Hecker parallels her “fiat” or “let it be done” to similar words spoken by God the Father in the act of creation. Here he links the creation of the world to the new creation of the Incarnation.
Second, to demonstrate that the “Hail Mary” is a living prayer of the church, the prayer continues in the greeting of Elizabeth (Luke 1:42) welcoming Mary as the new “ark of the covenant” who is carrying within her being the Messiah who is God and man. Father Hecker cites St. Vincent de Paul, that we continue the greeting welcoming Mary and her Son into the present and future church. In doing so, we the present church complete the prayer in our own time inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Third, Father Hecker adds that when we pray to the Blessed Mother for protection, we should accompany our petition with an effort to be more like her Son. The prayer therefore while focused on the Virgin Mary becomes a Christ centered prayer for it encourages us to be more like the Christ, the object of the Virgin Mary’s love.
The Hail Mary: A Hecker Reflection
Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Father Hecker: With God’s “fiat” (“let it be done”) the world was created; but with Mary’s “fiat” God himself became man, and the lost world was saved.
Blessed are You among women. And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Father Hecker: An archangel visited her, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, the Almighty God descended into her womb. When it was told to her to visit her cousin, she could have used all of this as an excuse. But no, she thought only of her nothingness. She therefore hastened to visit her cousin. Indeed, she was the handmaid of the Lord.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Father Hecker: The mother of God becomes the refuge of sinners, the servant of all. What heart is not overpowered with joy? If we are to have the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we must become like her Son, for to gain the affection of a person, we must become like the object of their love.
St. Vincent (de Paul) says of the Hail Mary that an angel began it when he saluted the Blessed Virgin Mary, that St. Elizabeth continued it when visited by her cousin, and that we the Church complete it so that every Hail Mary is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
About this series
Father Paul Robichaud, CSP, is historian of the Paulist Fathers and postulator of the Cause of Father Hecker. Publishing and disseminating the writing of Servant of God Isaac Hecker is the work of the Office for Hecker’s Cause. If you have asked Father Hecker to pray for you or another person who is ill, and you believe something miraculous has happened, please phone Father Robichaud at 202-269-2538.
If you would like to contribute to Father Hecker’s cause for canonization, please click here.