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Robert wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why is Mary called our life and our hope in the Hail Mary when Jesus says He is, 6 the Way the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)?

Thanks so much,


  { Why is Mary called "our life" and "our hope" in the Hail Mary when Jesus is the Way and the Truth? }

Bob replied:

Dear Robert,

Thanks for the question.

You don't mean the Hail Mary but rather the Hail Holy Queen, that is where the prayer says,

our life, our sweetness and our hope.

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.


The Hail, Holy Queen (also known as the Salve Regina)

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, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us.
And after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray. O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His Life, Death and Resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of Eternal Life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ, Our Lord.


Keep in mind that when Catholics pray to Mary they are really asking her to pray for us to God, to whom she is present. Mary has a unique relationship to God, for she gave flesh to the Son of God, and became his Mother — a relationship that will always be. It doesn't mean she gave birth to God, the Father in eternity, but rather she gave birth to God, the Second Person of the Trinity, in time, and became the complete model of the Christian: total surrender, total obedience, total love and sacrifice for the sake of her God. Mary is indeed blessed among women (Luke 1:42-45), so we recognize in her a unique place in God's heart, which has extraordinary intercessory ability on our behalf. She is always a mother, and so we are confident that she will act as a good mother in every circumstance, wanting and pleading for her children to have the best of God's grace.

So, Mary doesn't take away from Jesus' Mercy, she draws on it. She amplifies it, and we are supposed to imitate her as well. Because she brings so much to us as a mother we say: our life, sweetness and our hope.

This does not imply that Jesus isn't all these and more, but rather that Mary does more than any other person to bring Jesus to us. We could say that to anyone who played such a pivotal role in bringing God's love into our lives . . . not to take away from God, but to show how God used them to bring us closer to Him. She is a conduit of grace, because God wants her to be. Jesus had a special plan for His mother, which we recognize in the Scriptures, as He gave the disciple whom he loved his mother. (cf. John 19:26ff) That disciple is each of us! We take her into our homes and let her be part of our lives, as we all need a good spiritual mother; and Jesus gave us the best — His own mother.


Bob Kirby

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