Without doubt, the Hail Mary prayer, also known as Ava Maria, is one of the most widely used prayers in the Christian world. The prayer addresses the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, and rejoices in the grace which raises her above all other women.
The Hail Mary has a long history and has evolved over time. The prayer was widely used in the Middle Ages and was included in the rosary, a popular devotion in the Catholic Church that involves the repetition of prayers and meditation on the lives of Jesus and Mary.
The most current version of the Hail Mary was standardized in the 16th century.
The first line of the prayer, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” comes from the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:28.
Have you ever fully meditated upon what this much-recited prayer actually means?
Watch the short videos below to hear spiritual teacher, author, and founder of The Institute of Sacred Activism Andrew Harvey unpack the power of the Hail Mary — line by line. Tenderly and with great passion, Andrew breaks down the beloved prayer in an absolutely modern way, drawing on the full richness of the Christian mystical tradition. An abridged transcript is provided below each video.
Full of Grace!
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.
Before breaking down the prayer, let’s quickly hear what Andrew has to say about Mary.
Who is Mary?
Mary isn’t this sweet, simple girl who happens to be chosen by God to bear the child of God. That is a patriarchal fiction. Mary is nothing less than the full glory of our Divine Mother.
One of the greatest secrets of the Christian mystical tradition is that Christ Consciousness is born not only from the Father, the transcendent, but also from the embodied Godhead, the mother. The Christ Consciousness is the child of the sacred marriage.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace!
When you say “hail” you open your whole being in adoration to her as the mother — Hail Mary full of grace! When you open to Mary as mother you open up to allowing her to give you everything that you need to birth yourself into your true human divinity full of grace. You know that she is dying to give you the grace you need. Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. This is so wonderful, because what it brings to us in the very first line is the sacred marriage of the transcendent and immanent father and the mother.
Blessed Art Thou Amongst Women
One of the most extraordinary and unique things about Mary is that she is a human face for the Divine Mother. There are many marvelous representations of the mother in all of the mystical traditions, but with Mary, we have a human face.
And that gives a particular intensity of poignancy and intimacy in our relationship with her, because we know that as a woman who was the Divine Mother on earth, she lived through everything that we are living through.
All the pain, all the anguish over doubt, all the difficulties, all the extraordinary intensity of the very difficult time she lived in — just as difficult as the one we’re living in.
Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb
In the deepest sense, that doesn’t just mean blessing Mary for having birthed this extraordinary messenger of our embodied divine humanity — but Mary as Divine Mother, who is going to help us birth through her womb, love, protection, generosity, and lavish passion for us.
Mary helps us birth our own unique Jesus, our unique Christ Consciousness. That’s the sublime secret, hidden in that line.
Pray For Us Sinners
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.” Sin simply means to miss the mark. It means that you are a human and will make mistakes.
Pray for us (Mary) so that we can be filled with your grace, courage, passion, power, compassion. Pray for us now, and at the hour of death.
That last line has a very profound meaning in current times, because he is certain that we’re living through a global dark night — a death of humanity as we know it.
So this global dark night is an evolutionary crisis. a process to rebirth us into an embodied divine humanity.
When you bring all of that insight to the prayer, you realize what a comprehensive revelation this prayer really is.
The next time you pray the Hail Mary, think upon all of those meanings, pregnant within the lines. Let the prayer comfort and empower you.
Want to learn more about Andrew’s teachings on the Christ Consciousness and how it can guide us out of any darkness we may find ourselves in? Check out this blog.
Have a great Hail Mary story or miracle to share? Let us know in the comments below!