Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Learning Latin with the Liturgy: the Hail Mary (Ave Maria)

The Hail Mary is one of the most beloved prayers in the Catholic church.

In the Lutheran Church of my nurture (for which I am indeed grateful for many things), I was taught to never practice Saint Intercession, something there held as nigh unto Satan worship.

But having come into the Communion of the Historical Church, I rejoice that I am now free to practice the faith of the First (and Second and Third) Millennium and address the Dead of the Church Suffering and Triumphant.


Praying the Hail Mary

When we recite this prayer, we are first beside the Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation. With him we proclaim:

Hail, O One Full of Grace! The Lord is with you. Blessed (are) you among women.
(χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου ευλογημενη συ εν γυναιξιν)
Luke 1:28

Next we are beside Elizabeth, as she addresses her kinswoman:

Blessed (are) you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
(ευλογημενη συ εν γυναιξιν και ευλογημενος ο καρπος της κοιλιας σου)
Luke 1:42

Notice, and this is important, both the Archangel and Elizabeth tell Mary that she is "Blessed among women."

So apparently she is.

And to remove any doubt, Mary herself then proclaims:

From now on, all generations will call me blessed.
(απο του νυν μακαριουσιν με πασαι αι γενεαι)
Luke 1:48

And so I just have to put this out there. If your church community does not on any regular basis talk about Mary as being blessed, you should join us...and the Angels. 


Holy Mary, Mother of God...

In the second half of this prayer, we have the opportunity to address Mary with the title "Mother of God" (Greek: Θεοτόκος).

Keep in mind, this title is more about what you believe regarding Jesus than it is about Mary.

Do you believe that the Second Person of the Trinity took human flesh so completely that the person Mary gave birth to was both human and divine?

In other words, do you believe that she gave birth, not just to the human shell, but the whole human and divine person, and therefore is rightly called the Blessed Birthgiver of God?

If you are a Protestant and still need more evidence of Mary's significance, notice the following.

Despite the inestimable value of our Lord, Elizabeth says to her kinswoman Mary:

How is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?
(και ποθεν μοι τουτο ινα ελθη η μητηρ του κυριου μου προς με)
Luke 1:43

Notice, she does not say, "How is it that this random and unimportant pregnant woman brings my Lord near me?"

Elizabeth is indeed near her Lord. But she reveres her Lord's Mother.

And then she adds something truly interesting:

When the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy in my womb.
(ως εγενετο η φωνη του ασπασμου σου εις τα ωτα μου εσκιρτησεν εν αγαλλιασει το βρεφος εν τη κοιλια μου)
Luke 1:44

I have read Protestant commentators that say this verse means John leaped to be near Jesus.

But that's not what the Bible says!

John the Baptist leaped in the womb when he heard the voice of Mary, the Mother of God.

Veneration of Mary and Worship of Jesus is not an either/or.

It's a both/and.


Ave Maria/Hail Mary

Here is the Hail Mary, in Latin and English, followed by a grammatical description of the prayer.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum
Hail, Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord (is) with you

Benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesus
Blessed (are) you among women and blessed (is) the fruit of your womb, Jesus

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners

nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen
now and in the hour of our death. Amen.

Here's how the Latin works:



Latin
English
Parsing
Grammar Points
Ave
Hail
sing. imper.
aveō, avēre
Maria
Mary
voc. sing. fem. name
Maria, Mariae
gratiā
with grace
abl. sing. fem. noun
gratia, gratiae
plena
full
nom. sing. fem. adj.
plenus, plena, plenum
Dominus
The Lord
nom. sing. masc. noun
Dominus, Domini
tecum
(is) with you
abl. sing. pronoun
tu, tui; with enclitic preposition cum.
Benedicta
Blessed
nom. sing. fem. past. part.
benedīcō, benedīcere, benedīxī, benedīctus; past participle used adjectivally
tu
(are) you
nom. sing. pronoun
tu, tui
in
in (among)
Prep. + Abl.
mulieribus
women
abl. pl. fem. noun
mulier, mulieris
et
and
conj.
benedictus
blessed
nom. sing. masc. adj.
benedīcō, benedīcere, benedīxī, benedīctus; past participle used adjectivally
fructus
(is) the fruit
nom. sing. masc. noun
frūctus, frūctūs
ventris
of womb
gen. sing. masc. noun
venter, ventris
tui
your
gen. sing. masc. poss. adj.
tuus, tua, tuum; modifies ventris
Jesus
Jesus
nom. sing. masc. name
Jesus, Jesu; in apposition to fructus
Sancta
Holy
voc. sing. fem. adj.
sanctus, sancta, sanctum; modifies Maria
Maria
Mary
voc. sing. fem. name
Maria, Mariae
Mater
Mother
voc. sing. fem. noun
mater, matris
Dei
of God
gen. sing. masc. noun
Deus, Dei
ora
pray
sing. imper.
ōrō, ōrāre, ōrāvī, ōrātus
pro
for
Prep. + Abl.
nobis
us
abl. pl. pronoun
nos, nostri
peccatoribus
sinners
abl. pl. masc. noun
peccator, peccatoris
nunc
now
adv.
et
and
conj.
in
in
Prep. + Abl.
horā
the hour
abl. sing. fem. noun
hora, horae
mortis
of death
gen. sing. fem. noun
mors, mortis
nostrae
our
gen. sing. fem. poss. adj.
noster, nostra, nostrum; modifies mortis


Here is Aaron Neville singing Schubert's version of the prayer:






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