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 “WOMB”
By Kevin Lowry
Womb. What a great word. Of course, we don’t actually use the word much anymore. It’s a “uterus” or worse, an “oven” (as in, she’s got a bun in the oven).
What a happy absurdity for a guy to write a guest post on the word womb. Never had one, never will. Why would anyone, let alone Sarah’s scholarettes and esteemed blog followers, give a rip about what I have to say? The word womb itself has esoteric connotations… for a man, writing about the womb is like trying to write about the joys of shopping, or why crying can be a good thing, or why women go to the bathroom at the same time when they’re together at a restaurant. We don’t get it at all.
Yet here’s what impresses me about the womb in the context of the Hail Mary. In a very practical, concrete sense (that even a guy can grasp), Mary’s assent to the angel at the annunciation gave God a big thumbs-up to change her from within. Of course, this would be manifested externally soon enough, and Mary was certainly aware of the possible ramifications. But she said yes anyway.
In my conversion to the Church, the thing that first caught my attention was the teaching on artificial birth control. At the time, I was Presbyterian, and the topic was a non-issue. After questioning (at some length) what substances my classmates at Franciscan University were inhaling or otherwise ingesting, I had to listen. At least well enough to pass the class. Sex has something to do with babies? Actions have consequences? Responsibility? It was all quite appalling.
Later, some guy named Scott Hahn gave me a rosary. I had no idea what it was. But there I was, and I had the audacity and lack of judgment to use it. What was I thinking?
You know where this all leads – my wife and I faced the inevitable, and entered the Church. We have eight kids.
Wouldn’t you know it, twenty years later, I still don’t fully understand the Hail Mary – but it’s my favorite prayer. And I know one thing – without the women in my life who opened their wombs out of love, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Or I wouldn’t be at all.
I’m a rather obtuse guy, for sure, but also one who wants more than anything to give God a thumbs up to change me from within – not via a womb, of course, but in my interior, spiritual life. To be more like the next word in the Hail Mary – the Word Incarnate Himself. Jesus.
Kevin Lowry is an enthusiastic Catholic, husband, father, and serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Coming Home Network International. His first book, Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck, was just released by Our Sunday Visitor. Kevin’s website and blog can be found at Grateful Convert. He’s also an Ohio resident, which makes him a rockin’ awesome guy.
image credit: MorgueFile