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 “GOD”

By Arwen Mosher

The funny thing about the word “God” in the Hail Mary prayer is that Mary herself would not have been allowed to say it. 

Well, more than not being allowed, she wouldn’t have wanted to. The Blessed Mother was a reverent woman, and it’s forbidden for Jews to speak the tetragrammaton (transliterated “YHWH”) which refers to God in Hebrew. I find it ironic, and highly symbolic, that every time we ask for her intercession in the Hail Mary we speak [our form of] a word that she would have avoided out of love and respect for God.

It’s ironic because we say the Hail Mary out of love and respect for God. He wants us to ask for his grace through the prayers of his mother. In that act, we do something that she would have never done – with exactly the same motivation.

The word “God” is it.

And it’s symbolic because the Hail Mary prayer itself, just like Mary’s whole life, from her immaculate conception through her fiat and her great sorrow to her eventual assumption into heaven, points to God. She lived for him, and because she did, her son was able to die to save us. No solely human person has ever served God better.

Because she said “yes” and helped God bring Jesus into the world, we can now say the name of God aloud every time we pray. In our creed, we name the entire Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – with love and reverence. The new covenant, brought about in part because of Mary’s love and obedience, makes us free to name the One who holds us in being.

“God” belongs in the Hail Mary because Mary’s life is about God. Praise him for creating her so that we can have a chance to do as the servants of God before Christ could not: say his name.

Arwen Mosher, a wife and mother of four, blogs from her home in Michigan. You can find her at Faith & Family Live and her own blog, ABC Family.

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