Hail, favored one! - A Reflection on the Hail Mary
February 28, 2016

VivianGrotto

We are three days into our pilgrimage in the Holy Land. It's been an absolutely incredible experience so far, walking in the footsteps of our Lord. We've had the chance to visit Nazareth and the house where Jesus was raised, Cana, where Jesus preformed his first miracle and even took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. But perhaps my favorite moment was filming my Holy Land Reflection.

On Saturday, February 27, I had the incredible opportunity to film my Holy Land reflection INSIDE the Grotto where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and first uttered those famous words - Hail, favored one! It was the moment that changed the course of history forever. What made my moment inside the Grotto even more incredible was the fact that very few people are given access inside the Grotto and they must view and venerate the Grotto from behind the gate. I was able to stand inside and the best part? We got it all on film!

While we wait for my video to be finalized, I leave you with the text to my reflection:

Hello. I’m Vivian Cabrera from Salt + Light Television here in Nazareth, the city of the Annunciation where the Word became flesh.

There is a prayer we all know well. A prayer that has been passed on to us from our mothers and grandmothers. The Hail Mary.

Hail Mary, full of Grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

It’s a simple prayer, the Hail Mary. A beautiful prayer. A prayer that has much meaning and goes far deeper than you can imagine. And it all began here, at the Annunciation.

We find ourselves here in Nazareth, inside the beautiful n  Basilica of the Annunciation, where this prayer was first said. This is the beginning. It is believed that HERE is where the Angel Gabriel first appeared to Mary and greeted her, saying ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’

And here is where she gave her response, the one courageous response that would change the course of history forever. Yes.

‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done according to thy word.’

There will come a point in our lives when we will have to make a choice. The Lord will call to us and we must freely decide whether we say yes or no, just as Mary did. ‘Let it be done to me according to thy word.’ She said yes. And after our yes, freely and totally given, then the real journey begins for us.

Take a moment...close your eyes and imagine a pregnant woman, not unlike Mary. What stands out to you? Is she glowing? Is she emanating pure joy? Now imagine our Blessed Mother in the same way. Glowing and full of joy, knowing that in her womb she bears the Word Incarnate.

This is how each of us should be after we have encountered Christ. After our encounter, we are commissioned with sharing the Gospel message with all those around us. After our Yes, our incredible journey begins, just as Mary journeyed along with Christ until his sacrificial death.

One of my favorite prayers is The Fragrance prayer. It goes

‘Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly, That my life may only be a radiance of Yours.’

This is the spirit we should have after an encounter with Christ.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death...

Amen.

From Nazareth, I'm Vivian Cabrera.

#SLPilgrimage

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Vivian Cabrera is the Social Media and Communications Manager for Salt + Light. Follow her on Twitter!

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