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We Catholics have some prayers (as most people have ) that seem to have been with us since we were born. “Hail Mary…” never passes our lips without “full of grace..,” and the rest of the prayer in honor of the Mother of Jesus -who, we believe, is also our mother. I was blessed in my life with a wonderful “earth” mother who had great devotion to our “heavenly” mother, so it was easy to understand the relationship of Jesus to his mother. We celebrate her, too, under many titles and for many reasons throughout her life. Today it is simply the recognition of her holiness even before she was born that we celebrate. We call her full of grace.

If you were asked what makes Mary full of grace, how might you answer? Would you speak of her accomplishments? What would those be? Would you cite her personality as the center of her blessedness? Do you have stories that illustrate her fitness for the title? What is it that allows her that designation?

I have come to appreciate all the ways we speak of Mary, but lately, for me, I believe the fullness of her “grace” abides in the reality that she was totally and uniquely herself – the person that God saw and loved just as she was. We could do well to think of ourselves as the same, each of us being just the person that makes God happy just the way we are, continuing to grow in love until we are welcomed home into our Divine Mother’s arms in God’s house.