I have seen different variations of this prayer, but at first I thought the words, “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope” was referring to Jesus who is “our life, our sweetness and our hope”; but in other versions of this prayer, it is clearly referring to Mary. Can someone please help me to understand this better as to how we refer to Mother Mary as our life, our sweetness and our hope?
Also, the part that troubles me most is where she is referred to as our “most gracious Advocate”. Is this “most” to be understood as “very” gracious? It troubles me because it seems to hold her as being a more gracious advocate than that which Jesus Christ is for us.
I do love Our Mother, and I want to get rid of these doubts and fears that still plague me from being raised in a very anti-Catholic, Protestant background.
I can understand but do not share your concerns about Mary. This beautiful prayer does nothing to take away the salvation promised to us through Christ alone. Mary is His mother and justly deserves our praise and thanks for her fiat and for her continuing intercession found in its bilical roots at the marriage feast at Cana.
She is a great advocate but cannot, being human, be compared to God or in any sense to Jesus our redeemer.
But do not fear the great Catholic devotion to Mary. She is not some goddess to us as you know. Rid yourself of your protestant fear and pray as you feel comfortable; to Christ only if you prefer. They all get to Him as the salvation of the world.
Here is the version I referred to as clearly referencing Mary as “our life, our sweetness, and our hope”, since it places another “hail” directly before these titles.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Jesus is Our Advocate with The Father.
1 John 2:1 “My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.”
And another Scripture which speaks of the Holy Spirit as our Advocate
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.”
I agree. I think it is meant to be poetic when is says “most gracious”; because, like DavidFilmer also stated, none can be compared to Jesus who is infinitely gracious. I like the Latin version. Thank you for sharing that.
It is referring to Mary because she is our Mother. There is no other creature of God that will ever compare to her.
*]She is ‘our life’ because she gave Jesus to the world, Who gives us all eternal life through the Holy Eucharist.
*]She is ‘our sweetness’ because she loves and cares for us even more than our real mother, in the same sweet way that she cared for Jesus.
*]She is ‘our hope’ because she always leads us to Jesus, Who is our only real hope.
We have many advocates in Heaven, including all the Saints. Our primary Advocate is always Jesus, but we also have the Holy Ghost Who Jesus sent us to also be our Advocate. Since He is also the Spouse of Mary, she shares in that role, although she does it (as a human being) by appealing to God for us.
Throw all of your doubts out the window! Mary is very powerful in Heaven because God has given her that power. She does not usurp the Power of God. He gave it to her because He loves her. He abundantly rewards those who do His will in this life, above their own, and no one has ever cooperated with God’s will more than Mary did.
I’m not sure where this version comes from, but I’ve never heard it before, personally. I really don’t think there’s anything really wrong with it, it’s just different than the one I learned.
This is the version I know, but it still leaves off the last part, which is:
“Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.”
I think that final line says it all, and puts Mary’s position in the proper perspective of the whole prayer. She appeals to Jesus for us. This prayer is meant to ask her for her intercession with Him. It appeals to her as His Mother, as well as our Mother. This is why Jesus gave her to us to be our true Mother in Heaven, who continually appeals to God for all of her children on earth.
As I said above, we have many advocates in Heaven.
Mary is the ‘most gracious’ of all God’s children. The angel Gabriel said she was “full of Grace”, meaning that she has been given every Grace of God, and she is free to dispense all of those Graces as she chooses. All we have to do is ask her and she will give them to us, if it’s in agreement with the will of God. So, we should never be afraid to ask. As long as we always remember that Mary is still only a creature of God like the rest of us, then there is no problem with our appealing to her for help. Since she is also human, like us, we can more easily identify with her than we can with God, Who is a million times greater than all of us put together. God can be very intimidating, but Mary is not. She’s our “Mom”.
Yet, the whole point of the prayer is about Our Lady and her intercession to Christ for us - the originally banished children in need! Therefore, it follows, that she is our life, our hope, and sweetness because without her we could not know her son sufficiently to please Him!
This isn’t only poetic, it’s true!
…hence, why Jesus said to make a place for her in our homes!
…and, why Jesus answered Mary’s prayer, and specifically Mary’s, at the Wedding Feast of Cana! That we could go to her, for her to go to Him. And we then go to Jesus, with Mary.
Our Lady is the only one out of all the apostles that is shown to give a perfect discipleship, apart from the Beloved Disciple, who is Beloved, because of the love shown by the disciple in the witness of being near Jesus and next to His mother at the Cross.
To understand Catholic Mariology you should know that the Dogma of the Catholic Church is that Jesus Christ ALONE is our ONE Mediator before the Father in Heaven.
The Mediation of the Virgin Mary is by THE WISH OF JESUS CHRIST, who prophesied in the parable of the Talents, that those who were profitable in small things would be put in charge of much greater things in Heaven.
The Mediation of grace by the Virgin Mary is by the express wish of her Son.
This is Catholic Doctrine, which is both Biblical, and ancient in its Tradition.
There is no need to fear Catholic teaching on the Virgin Mary as somehow infringing on the Redemptive Satisfaction and Grace, won by Jesus Christ alone. However, it is the prerogative of Jesus Christ alone, as to how His grace and blessings will flow upon earth.
Jesus almost ALWAYS used the advocacy of his disciples and others to bestow even his corporal benefits (healing miracles, driving out devils etc.) to others. Even at the Wedding Feast of Cana, Jesus instructed the servants to fill the vessels with Water (which would be changed into wine) and take to the chief steward to taste. No one thinks that using servants in disbursing his gifts somehow detracts from the True Source of those gifts.
Jesus gave Our Lady to us at the foot of the Holy Cross. What more is there to question?
In Holy Scripture, Our lady said: “My soul doth magnify the Lord”. This means that she magnifies all that is life, sweetness and hope in God!
One reason I love and adore the universal / Catholic Church is that it so clearly reveals and illuminates the beauty and importance of family - Mother, Father and Son and the love of the Holy Spirit that binds us all together.
This is very unfortunate, because really it’s a question of changes in how we use the language. Used to be that we used very flowery poetic language; now we are instructed to make our writing practically skeletal in comparison
Consider that a mother can honestly say to her husband: You are my life! But she can also equally honestly say it to each of her children as well!
This is the thing about love: it can stretch infinitely. Words cannot express the totallity of our love. I love each of my children totally, and if I had enough, I would live him or her just as much!
Christ is our Lord and Savior, the Alpha and the Omega, so what we experience in relation to God is the highest. But our loving God does not preclude our loving our spouses, our parents, etc. Our love for God actually makes our love for them better!
It’s a conundrum: the more we love, the more love we have to love with.