Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with Thee, blessed art thou among women.
The immortal words, spoken prayerfully every day by millions of Catholics in millions of rosaries, were not of human thought. They were spoken by the Archangel Gabriel, who came straight from the throne of God. These words were an angelic echo of the voice of the Trinity.
In this sinful world there was one creature full of grace.
In a world wrecked by a woman who turned from life to death, from virtue to sin, from loving obedience to rebellion and ruin, God had created, the angels had seen, and one angelic messenger had found a woman not only good and holy and pious and devout but full of divine life. She was filled with the love of God, rich in the power that makes saints saints because it makes God God.
An immortal kneels to a mortal. Gabriel kneels to Mary.
Into a breast untouched by sin, into a body unmarred by blemish, into a soul that was a flawless mirror of God came the Word of life, the Second Person of the Trinity, the world’s Savior, Christ the Lord. At that moment, God became incarnate. The Son of God became man.
With Gabriel, standing before Mary Immaculate, we pray:
The Prayer of the Immaculate Conception
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, didst prepare a worthy dwelling place for thy Son, we beseech thee that, as by the foreseen death of this, thy Son, thou didst preserve her from all stain, so too thou wouldst permit us, purified through her intercession, to come unto thee. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
(Copyright 1947 Daniel A. Lord, S.J. Nihil Obstat: John M. Fearns, S.T.D. Imprimatur: Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop, New York)