Hail, Mary, full of grace.
How many times a year do we salute her like this? Hopefully a lot of times. Hundreds, thousands.
Here’s a possible resolution for the new year: at least one decade of the Holy Rosary every day during 2014. That would mean 3,650 Hail Marys this year.
And how about a Hail Mary every time I get ready to put the car in drive? Every time. “Our Lady of the highways, be with us on our journey, for all your ways are holy, and all your paths are peace. Hail, Mary…” That would mean probably another 500-1000 Hail Marys for the year.
How about another dozen, one for every time I go to Confession, having resolved to do so at least once a month?
Of course, no one wants to lay him- or herself down to sleep without a Hail Mary. So, putting it all together, we could hit 5,000 Hail Marys each this year.
Not saying we should try to rack up Hail Marys like rushing yardage or like coins in a piggy bank. But: No one has ever said too many Hail Marys. If we could train ourselves to the point that, at our unguarded moments of intense emotion, what comes out of our mouths is a Hail Mary, instead of something else—that would be great. Someone cuts me off in the WalMart parking lot, and I say, “Hail, Mary, pray for us sinners!” Little baby vomits on my chasuble during a baptism, and I say, “Hail, Mary, full of grace!” That would be great. But it takes a lot of training.
Does our Lady ever get tired of hearing us pray to her? Duh. Don’t think so. Does the Lord Jesus get annoyed when we pray all the time to His mother—the woman who held Him in her arms, nursed Him at her breast; the woman who literally grew closer to God during every instant of her earthly life? Don’t think it bothers Him.
A full Rosary every day during 2014 would get us close to 20,000 Hail Marys for the year. Talk about taking it to the next level.
Not to encourage competition. But let’s see which parish in our humble cluster racks up more Hail Marys during 2014. Or maybe Roanoke Catholic School will win it. Those kids say a lot of Hail Marys. I make them say a lot, and they say a lot on their own, too.
Of course, we won’t know the winner on December 31, 2014. But our Lady will know. We’ll find out who won when we get to heaven, please God. And the people of the parish which prays more will be all the more likely to make it to heaven–which is, in itself, the real victory.