This series of Morning Bell begins on 15 August and marks the Church’s love and respect for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Hail Mary is a prayer at the heart of devotion to her. The prayer is rooted in scripture – echoing words spoken to Mary by the angel Gabriel and then by her cousin Elizabeth (both in Luke 1) – and concludes with a humble request for Mary to pray for us.
Mary carried the Christ into the world and in Orthodox practice she as know as Theotokos, the God-bearer. Learning from the Celtic Christian tradition we love the sense of Jesus’ family, his disciples and the saints as being close by. They remind us that we too belong to the holy family of God. For us it seems that to love and honour Mary the mother of Jesus is both to step deeper into our calling to carry the Christ into the world, and to come home. Here’s the prayer in full, in its contemporary form…
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
The images for this series are formed from photos taken by Ian of friends of ours. The women in the series remind us that Mary was and is one of us. A reminder too that we are called to live and love with Mary’s spirit of faith and courage. And so with Mary we may be able to sing ‘from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me…’
Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail
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Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.