When the Angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, the angel greeted her with the words, “Hail, full of grace.” When we repeat these words in one of our best-known Catholic prayers, we add her name: “Hail, Mary, full of grace.” The fact that the angel did not use her name does not diminish the greeting given to Mary; it simply shows us the key to her identity: she was filled with the life and love of God.
The Easter Season gives special emphasis to the reality of our Baptism, since it is the cornerstone of our identity as Christians. In Baptism the life and love of God enters us in a particularly strong way, making us “full of grace.” As Christians, we have a special relationship with God and also with everyone who shares the life of grace. This includes a special relationship with the Virgin Mary.
Are we still full of grace? Well, we are not perfect. We do our best to cultivate the life of grace God gives us. As we do so, it is only right that we look to Mary, who is the Mother of all Christians. The month of May is especially dedicated to her, so this is a good time to remind ourselves that the Mother of Christ is our mother as well. She looks out for us and prays to her Son with us and for us. Pray an extra “Hail Mary” every now and then during this month as a powerful expression of faith that our holy Mother prays for us “now and at the hour of our death.”