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 “AMEN”

By Fr. Patrick Toner

“Amen” is from the Hebrew root “amam” meaning to believe or to be faithful.  It means more than just an intellectual accent to a doctrine or statement.  It is a promise to be bound to act upon the words you’ve just affirmed.  We often hear the word translated as “So be it.”

For Jews, there was no distinction between hearing a word and doing what was heard.  The word “Shema” meant to “hear and obey.”  “Amen” is applied to confirmation or an endorsement of what God says.  I can be used to express hope, or to confirm a blessing, a prayer, a curse or an oath.

“Amen” is much more than an ending to a prayer.  When another leads the prayer, it is our affirmation of what was prayed.  The Church teaches “lex orandi lex credendi”, or “what you pray is what you believe”.  The “Amen” at the end of any prayer is like signing your name to the Declaration of Independence, you’ve put your life on the line.  Live all of your “Amens”.

Fr. Patrick Toner is the pastor of St. Joseph Church and has been a dear friend and inspiration for our family for many years.

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