The Hail Mary, also known by its Latin title, Ave Maria, is the best-known prayer in honor of the mother of Jesus. It is used primarily by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Step 1: Close your eyes if you choose Close your eyes if you choose. Some people feel it’s easier to concentrate this way, but it’s by no means required.
Step 2: Place yourself in God’s presence Place yourself in God’s presence.
TIP: Remember that prayer can happen anywhere, even in a noisy crowd.
Step 3: Say the prayer Say the prayer:Hail Mary, full of Grace,The Lord is with thee.Blessed art thou among women,And blessed is the fruitOf thy womb, Jesus.Holy Mary,Mother of God,Pray for us sinners now,And at the hour of death. Amen.
TIP: Read the Gospel of Luke for the antecedents of the first five lines. They’re based on the Angel Gabriel’s announcement that Mary would give birth to Jesus, and the words her cousin Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, used in greeting her.
Step 4: If you’re Orthodox ... If you’re Orthodox, the prayer omits the plea to Mary at the end. Translations from the Greek differ, but here’s one:Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God, Mary, full of grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, For thou hast borne the Savior of our souls.
FACT: The 12th-century Saint Aybert was said to recite 150 Hail Marys daily, 100 on bended knee and 50 prostrate on the ground--talk about devotion!