Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
A reflection on the word “FRUIT”
By Pat Gohn
Bite into any lush, ripened, fresh fruit and you feel the gush of juices between your lips and running down along your tongue to the little well underneath. You move the pulpy flesh of the fruit around in your mouth, gliding it in place with your tongue to chew. Depending on the variety of fruit, you may experience momentary dripping down your cheek or lower dimples as you savor the flavor and enjoy that first full bite.
The fruit was where the trouble started. One taste of the fruit of the tree — the tree that God had expressly forbidden (Cf. Gen 2:2-3) — and Eve was in deep trouble.
One bite of the fruit and Eve was mesmerized. Her knowledge grew immediately, but in ways she did not expect. She expected to be like God; duped, instead she became a lesser mortal than before. The preternatural gifts she was endowed with by her Creator were shut down. No longer blessed with infused knowledge, she could not see the truth of her present situation. She gave the fruit to Adam.
The woman, the fruit-gatherer and eventual fruit bearer, unwittingly tasted decay and death disguised as a temporary tasty morsel that slid down the back of her throat. The mother of all the living had triggered the trap door leading to separation from God and eventual suffering and death. Her husband, unable to withstand the temptation, also acquiesced and took a bite.
We know the rest of the story.
The Divine Will and Providence of God so loved the man and the woman and their progeny — us!– that He sent them a Way out of their plight. But first God would cultivate a new fruit, and a new fruit bearer.
The Woman, the one that God envisioned from the start (Cf. Gen 3:15), would, one day, bear the fruit that saves humanity from its sins.
It was St. Irenaeus who taught, the knot Eve tied was untied by Mary. St Louis de Montfort also spoke a deep truth: “The salvation of the whole world began with the ‘Hail Mary’. Hence, the salvation of each person is also attached to this prayer.”
Only Mary, God’s pure and perfect creature, the masterpiece of Creation, could bear such good fruit, both in word and deed. Jesus, the offspring of the Virgin’s womb, was indeed the blessed fruit of a remarkable, holy union… the sign and promise of the wedding of God to his Creation.
We sing of it with every note of Ave Maria, and pray it with every syllable of “Hail, Mary!”
The fruit we sing of and adore in the center of this prayer is the vital and everlasting fruit of Mary’s womb, JESUS!
The fruit — Jesus! – would sweeten and strengthen humanity, answering every angelic prayer of heaven and longsuffering mortal supplication of earth since that fateful day in the Garden.
Not surprisingly, we can understand why the Fruit that is Jesus would one day be eaten.
Jesus would lay his own flesh down to be food and those who eat of it would partake of eternity (Jn 6: 35-58, Luke 22: 19).
Down through the ages the flesh of that miraculous fruit would feed apostles and martyrs, kings and saints, rich and poor, poets and psalmists, young and old, saints and sinners, you and me.
No longer would a fruit bring a curse. No longer would the thirst of sin go unquenched.
Blessed is the Fruit that revives the soul and restores true Life… the good fruit, the holy fruit… the succulent fleshy fruit of God’s own nature mingling with our own, its juice running down our chin, nourishing our bodies, transforming our lot with its precious wine.
©2012 Patricia W. Gohn
Pat Gohn is a writer, speaker, and (my favorite) host of the “Among Women” podcast and blog. She holds a Masters in Theology, and a Bachelors in Communications. Her passion is working within Catholic adult faith formation and using media for evangelization and catechesis. Find out more at PatGohn.com.
image credit: MorgueFile