How many times have we prayed those words Hail Mary, full of grace and moved on to the next phrase without even thinking about them? And yet these words are a summary of Our Lady’s whole life in two different ways.
When the angel Gabriel proclaimed Mary to be full of grace, he was acknowledging that God’s special favour had been with her all her life, in fact from the very moment of her conception. She was full of grace in a way similar to Abraham who received the grace of faith that justified him before God. Mary had the same grace of courage that Moses had as he led the Hebrews through the Red Sea. And she had the grace of a deep prayer life that King David had. Like all these ancient heroes of faith, Mary received supernatural grace and power to enable her to do something that seemed humanly impossible.
But that’s not the whole story of Mary’s grace. Our Lady was also full of grace in the way she lived her life. She was the most gracious woman the world had ever seen. Generous, patient, loving, and kind, she walked this earth in a way that radiated the love and peace of God. And it wasn’t just because Mary was a nice woman; her graciousness stemmed from her cooperation with the grace that God had poured into her heart. And so both internally and externally, Mary was indeed full of grace.
But what about us? Right here and right now as we celebrate this Mass, God is pouring out gallons of grace upon us, enough to make us full of grace ourselves. We may be tempted to think it isn’t possible for us to be as gracious as Mary was, but it is. All we need is a humble, generous and open heart.
May we always turn to Our Lady who, for Our Holy Father Dominic, was the model of what it means to follow Jesus; Our Lady gives us all the clearest example of what it means to be a disciple in the world, making Christ present through our lives and through our preaching and teaching. May Our Lady’s prayers always assist us as we draw ever closer to God’s Kingdom.