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 “FULL”

By Jaymie Stuart Wolfe

Full. Full of yourself. Full of baloney. Full of it. There are instances in which “full” really means “empty.” It’s so easy to chase our appetites, to fill ourselves with what we think will satisfy our hunger. But that is precisely how we end up empty.

Full of life. Full of hope. A full heart. These are things we cannot acquire ourselves, things that we must receive. To be “full,” we must have been filled.

We may look to others as well as to our own ingenuity, but there is only One who can fill us. This is the very human truth that Mary knew and lived. God alone can “fill the hungry with good things.” (Lk. 1:53)

We live in a world of image and appearance where what we seem has become more important than what we are. All around us exquisitely crafted empty bottles are being sold as full ones. That’s not difficult when no one is willing to take the stopper out and turn the bottle upside down. Not one drop. But afraid we might miss out, a whole lot of us are quick to pay the price—one that’s way too high for a pretty jar with nothing in it, one that none of us can really afford.

Sometimes “full” looks like less than empty.  A positive pregnancy test. A negative MRI. A teenage girl from a backwater town in an unimportant province at the edge of the Empire. A Virgin.

Mary is the human face of all that is full. She is filled with the unspoken hopes, the inspirations and dreams, the unknown longings of every human soul. Even before she conceives the Son of God, Mary is full of Him. She has been His bondservant from the beginning. Mary is the culmination of human history, the sum of all of us, the hinge by which the door to salvation opens.

Across history and language, culture and race, flooding over every barrier we suffer and those we have devised, Mary’s fulness overflows to us. She does not keep it for herself. “When the fulness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman.” (Gal. 4:4) For Mary, now is the fulness of time; today is the day to birth salvation into the world and place Him into our hands. Full.

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is an author, singer-songwriter, and lay evangelist, in addition to being an amazing woman and all-around rockin’ editor (I know from personal experience!). She converted to the Catholic faith in 1983 and is a wife and mother of eight. She’s written a biweekly column in The Pilot since 1995 and currently serves full-time as Children’s Editor at Pauline Books and Media. She’s a wonderful person to get to know and always has a moment for a laugh. Find her at Loaves and Fishes Ministry and Mass Minutes.