Have you ever quoted an angel? Think carefully before you reply! The answer is a definite yes: “Hail, Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you.” So, you see, you are quoting the Archangel Gabriel every day, often many times a day! It might interest you to note, though, that Gabriel did not actually say, “Hail, Mary, full of grace” but “Rejoice, you who have been filled with grace!” That’s what St. Luke says in his Gospel (Luke 1:28). What we say in the Hail Mary is the result of a pious rendering of the words of Gabriel and St. Elizabeth, to make it easy to pray.
Luke’s exact words are very interesting, because they show us that God’s proper name for Mary was, not Mary, but “you who have been filled with grace.” God sees into the heart and soul and pronounces her name as He sees it. He had given her the fullness of grace in her Immaculate Conception. That fullness of grace, though, came to her from the (future) saving death and resurrection of her Son. For her, God “anticipated” the outcome of Jesus’ mission, which was to make the fullness of grace available for every human being. Such is the tremendous and beautiful privilege of the Mother of God.
That fullness, though, is not just a personal privilege that Our Lady keeps jealously to herself. With Mary, fullness is her lifestyle, fullness is her style, fullness is her “M.O.”, her “modus operandi”, her way of working. Think of her response to Gabriel: “let your word happen to me” – that’s fullness of obedience, of docility. Think how she lived out that fullness so fully by walking the Way of the Cross. Think how her fullness of commitment led to the fullness of her salvation, body and soul, in heaven.
With regard to her children, she is no less fulsome in her “M.O.” We see it in today’s Gospel reading. She perceives the need of the young couple at the wedding feast. She always perceives all our needs. With the fullness of her maternal attentiveness she intuitively understands the fullness of our situation. Then, echoing her own plenitude of obedience, she commends the same to the servants, “do whatever He tells you.” They do, and what is the result? Six very large vessels brimming over with the best wine! Mary received the fullness of grace from her Son and obtains the fullness of his gifts for her children – if we “do whatever He tells us.”
On this Feast Day of Our Lady, Patroness of St. Mary’s, be in no doubt that she perceives all the needs, spiritual and temporal, of every one of us. Turn to her and give her the joy of obtaining for you, through your obedience to Christ, the fullness of grace.