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 “OUR”

By Mrs. Darwin

Death seems like the ultimate isolation. Everyone knows that “you can’t take it with you!” At the moment of death, a person leaves behind everything earthly and familiar: his possessions, his family, even his body. The image of standing naked and alone before the Seat of Judgment is so terrifying that humans have long sought ways to avoid death, to put off that moment in which one is alone with every sin exposed.

The paradox is that this ultimately isolating experience is the one inevitable thing shared by every member of the human race (well, that and taxes, of course). “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” Our death, because everyone must die. Our death, because Mary also has died. We beg her prayers for those who are dying, and others in turn pray for us, and this densely-woven blanket of prayer covers our nakedness before the throne of God. In the end, the moment of death is not a moment of isolation, because both the prayers of the living and the dead converge on this critical point in time in which the final temporal choice must be made.

And in that hour of death, Mary, as requested again and again in her own prayer, accompanies every sinner before the seat of judgment, even those who have never known to turn to her. Her maternal sense draws her to intercede for all souls, never leaving them alone and unprotected. She lavishes the same love and attention on each dying person as she did on her dying son, joining that soul to Jesus’s at the moment of his death, so that “our death” becomes a literal expression of communion with God.

And the more frequently we pray the Hail Mary, the more likely it becomes that death will not be leaving the familiar world, but stepping into it for the first time, accompanied by those whose deaths are united to ours through our mutual prayers.

Mrs. Darwin is part of the blogging duo at Darwin Catholic. Not only is she brilliant, but she’s fun to be around, too.

image credit: MorgueFile