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 “US”

By Sarah Vabulas

I’m a firm believer that there are no coincidences in life. I’ve given a few talks recently or led activities at church and the topic has been one of two things: Community or Mary. So when Sarah asked me to reflect on the word “us” in the Hail Mary, I chuckled to myself. How appropriate.

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “us” is community.  How important community is in our lives!

Community can be a number of things: your family, a group of friends and your church. At the core of the human person, we all desire community. God knows this is on our hearts. No one wants to be alone (at least I don’t!). And this is reflected in so many aspects of our Catholic faith.  A perfect example is in the Hail Mary as we ask Our Lady to pray for us.

Grotto at Sarah’s parish in the Atlanta area

There is such humility in asking Mary to pray for us. – that the Blessed mother of our Lord would be an advocate for us with her Son. Mary, one born without sin, who carried in her precious womb the baby Jesus, prays for us. As a woman, developing a relationship with the Blessed Mother has been one of the most fruitful experiences of my spiritual life.

Through Mary, we are all united in the saving grace of Jesus. Every person, every Catholic falls into the us in this prayer. We all need grace, we all need prayer and we all need forgiveness. Mary can advocate on our behalf for each of these things!

Last year, I visited Ephesus on a pilgrimage with Lino Rulli and the Catholic Guy Show and was able to visit not only the ancient city of Ephesus, but also the House of Mary – where Mary lived with John before her Assumption. Here, prayers line a wall near the home. The faithful “tie on” a prayer to the wall and Mary takes the petition under her mantle. It was a beautiful experience and one I will carry with me forever. I looked upon the thousands of prayers on the wall and couldn’t help but consider the community of believers that look to her as their Mother and ask for her care and protection.

Sarah in Ephesus, tying her prayer on to Mary

In that moment, I felt united not only with the Blessed Mother, but with the thousands my prayer sat next to on the wall. United in a community of believers!

Holy Mary, pray for us.

Sarah Vabulas, affectionately known as “Vabs,” was born and raised in the Atlanta area. She left her southern roots to pursue her collegiate endeavors at Saint Mary’s College at Notre Dame where she studied communications and theology. She has somehow managed to turn her social media addiction into a paying career. Sarah is also a Catholic geek who has a social media presence known as the Catholic Drinkie (on Twitter as @CatholicDrinkie) where she blogs about her love for the Catholic faith and her pursuit of community and a tasty beverage. She also loves Notre Dame football, the Atlanta Braves, New York City, traveling, running long distances, 80s music, and her Wayfarers & Members Only jacket.