Hail Full of Grace, the Lord Is With You

Whom does the Archangel Gabriel address when he speaks the words: “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you”? Is it not a humble Virgin named Mary, born to Saints Joachim and Anne in the city of Galilee named Nazareth?

She who is known as: Theotokos (the Mother of God), the Immaculate Conception, who gave her fiat (her yes) to God’s plan — that she conceive in her womb and bear a Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Full of Grace,” like no other creature upon the face of the earth, because she was given the singular grace of being preserved from the stain of all sin, at conception.

St. Thomas Aquinas acknowledges this plenitude of grace, the magnitude of reverence due the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a result of this unique and specific gift:

“With regard to the first part, we must observe that in earlier times it was no small event when angels appeared to men, or men paid reverence to them, such a thing being recorded as deserving of great praise. Hence it is mentioned in praise of Abraham that he gave hospitality to angels and paid them reverence. But it was unheard-of that an angel should show reverence to a human being, until one of them greeted the Blessed Virgin reverently, saying, Hail. In ancient times, reverence was shown by men to angels, but not by angels to men, because angels are greater than man in three respects:

  1. In dignity. An angel surpasses man in dignity, since an angel is of a spiritual nature “Who maketh His angels spirits” [cf. (LXX) Ps 103:4; (HEB) Ps 104:4], whereas man is of a corruptible nature. For this reason Abraham said, “I will speak to my Lord, whereas I am dust and ashes” (cf. Gn 18:27). Hence it was not fitting that a spiritual and incorruptible creature should show reverence toward a corruptible one, namely, man.
  2. In close association with God. An angel surpasses man in familiar association with God, being a member of God’s household and standing by His throne: “Thousands of thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him” (cf. Dn 7:10). Man, on the other hand, is like a stranger and far away from God on account of sin: “I have wandered afar off” [cf. (LXX) Ps 54:8; (HEB) Ps 55:7]. Thus it is fitting that man should revere an angel, who is intimate and familiar with the King.
  3. In the fullness of divine grace. An angel surpasses man in the fullness of the splendor of divine grace, since an angel partakes of the divine light in the greatest plentitude: “Is there any number of His armies? And upon whom doth not His light arise” (cf. Jb 25:3)? For this reason angels always appear surrounded by light. Men, on the other hand, although they partake somewhat of this same light of grace, have but a small share of it which is not without some darkness.

So it is not fitting that an angel should pay respect to a man until one should be found in human nature who would surpass the angels in these three ways — and such was the Blessed Virgin. Thus, in order to show that she excelled him, the angel desired to show her reverence by saying, Hail.”1

The Blessed Virgin was granted this “Fullness of Grace,” and was wholly preserved from the stain of all sin within the womb of St. Anne — at conception — that, “when the fullness of time had come,”2 she might in all freedom give her assent to conceive and bear the Son of the Most High, Jesus Christ. And this unique preservation is accomplished when Christ offered the Father His very Life upon the Cross, toward this end and in ransom for all of our sins. Thus, the efficacy and merits of His Oblation cannot be denied: “Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: ‘We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.’”3

Therefore, is it not fitting that the Divine Word, Jesus Christ, take on flesh within the womb of a woman untainted by the stain of any sin? That the Father send His Son, through an act of God, an act accomplished by the very One Who is to be Conceived and take on flesh in her womb? Not only does Christ have the power to offer His Life in Sacrifice and take it up again, but also the power to preserve the Blessed Virgin from the stain of all sin — at conception, in advance of His Sacrifice within the order of time. Undertaken, that this unique and singular preservation be accomplished, as well as the remission of the sins of mankind.

But is this great gift imparted that the Blessed Virgin exalt herself? That she regard herself as great or powerful? No, we understand that the Blessed Mother does not believe this within her heart of hearts and we hear this confirmed when she prays her Magnificat prayer in the Gospel of Luke: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”4

The Blessed Virgin affirms that “Her Soul” magnifies the Lord and “Her Spirit” rejoices in God her Savior. That God, has “regarded the low estate of His handmaid.” She does not praise herself, nor attribute any glory to herself; rather, in humility, she attributes all honor and glory to God.

St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort speaks about the virtue of humility and the Blessed Virgin’s possession of it, within his writing, True Devotion to Mary:

“Mary was singularly hidden during her life. It is on this account that the Holy Ghost and the Church call her Alma Mater — ‘Mother secret and hidden’ (cf. Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin for Advent; also the hymn, Ave Maris Stella). Her humility was so profound that she had no inclination on earth more powerful or more constant than that of hiding herself, from herself as well as from every creature, so as to be known to God only.

“3. He heard her prayers when she begged to be hidden, to be humbled and to be treated as in all respects poor and of no account. He took pleasure in hiding her from all human creatures, in her conception, in her birth, in her life, in her mysteries, and in her resurrection and Assumption. Even her parents did not know her, and the Angels often asked one another: ‘Who is that?’ [cf. (CC or SS) 3:6; 8:5] because the Most High either had hidden her from them or if He did reveal anything, it was nothing compared to what He kept undisclosed.

“4. God the Father consented that she should work no miracle, at least no public one, during her life, although He had given her the power to do so. God the Son consented that she should hardly ever speak, though He had communicated His wisdom to her. God the Holy Ghost, though she was His faithful spouse, consented that His Apostles and Evangelists should speak very little of her, and no more than was necessary to make Jesus Christ known.

“5. Mary is the excellent masterpiece of the Most High, the knowledge and possession of which He has reserved to Himself. Mary is the admirable Mother of the Son, Who took pleasure in humbling and concealing her during her life, in order to favor her humility, calling her by the name of ‘woman’ (cf. Jn 2:4; 19:26) as if she were a stranger, although in His heart He esteemed and loved her above all Angels and all men.”5

One instance in which we witness the depths of this humility is found within the account of the Annunciation, specifically, the acknowledgement of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Archangel Gabriel. This moment is located just prior, within the Gospel of St. Luke, to St. Gabriel’s announcement that she will conceive in her womb and bear a Son and she shall call His Name Jesus. The Archangel greets the Blessed Virgin with the words “Hail Full of Grace.” And, it is in pondering the Blessed Mother’s reaction to this greeting, which offers us great insight into her disposition: “[S]he was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.”6

Why would someone who is “Full of Grace” be troubled at hearing the Archangel pronounce this truth? Why would the Blessed Virgin Mary, who possesses an unparalleled faith in God, be concerned at this greeting? Our Lady would certainly not have questioned the will of God, though she, like us had the ability to reject the will of God. Her will was so united with His, as a result of being “Full of Grace,” that it would seem almost impossible for her to reject the Greatest Good in favor of a lesser good. Thus, it would appear, that the Blessed Mother was surprised to hear this title addressed to her person, and, in all likelihood, this pronouncement made her uncomfortable due to her great humility. The Blessed Virgin never pursued honors or sought to be exalted. Rather, she desired with all of her heart, to live out a holy life with St. Joseph, to whom she was betrothed, praising God for all of the blessings He continually bestowed upon her.

Thus, when Our Lady heard the words of the Archangel: that, she, a virgin, would conceive and bear a Son, whom she shall name, Jesus and Who will be called Son of the Most High, she must have had a sense that this is what she was being called to fulfill. And, it should be noted, that although the Archangel states, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God,”7 the Blessed Virgin shows no sign of fear during this encounter; she simply ponders the greeting, “Hail Full of Grace.”

This being the case, then, what can be said about Our Lady’s question, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”8 (As this question has been translated within the New American Bible and the approved 2002 Revised Lectionary). Does this mean that the Blessed Virgin doubted what the Archangel was telling her? Our Lady does not doubt in the least that God can and will do what the Archangel has said.

And this is confirmed within the Greek text of this Gospel passage. The question of Our Lady is not phrased, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man,” rather, it is literally phrased: “How will be this, since a man I know not,” Πῶς ἔσται τοῦτο ἐπεὶ ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω?”9 This is not a question of doubt. The Blessed Mother is simply asking, in what manner will this event take place.

This is very different from the encounter the priest Zechariah has with an Angel who appeared to him, in order that he foretell the birth of his son, John the Baptist. (Recounted within the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, just prior to the passage pronouncing the Birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ). Within this account, we read that when the angel appeared:

“Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of [the] Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”10

Unlike the Blessed Virgin Mary, Zechariah was “troubled by what he saw,” “and fear came upon him.” This fear can be linked to original and personal sin, in much the same manner as Adam came to fear the Lord God, once he and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit and, through this act of disobedience, committed original sin within the garden of Eden: “But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’”11 Diversely, the Blessed Virgin had no fear of the Archangel, or of what she was being called to, because she remains ever free of the stain of any and all sin.

Nevertheless, we know that Zechariah proceeds to ask the Angel a question concerning the birth of his son, John the Baptist: “‘How shall I know this?’”12 Or, as it has been translated within the Greek text: “By what shall I know this,” Κατὰ τί γνώσομαι τοῦτο?13

It is only after Zechariah queries the Angel that the Archangel chooses to reveal his name: “‘I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.’”14

Why is it that Zechariah is struck dumb or rendered “speechless,” “until the day these things take place?” It is clear that Zechariah’s question expresses his doubt: “How” or “By what shall I know this,” for what he heard the angel proclaim sounded entirely impossible to him. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were advanced in age and up until this point in their lives, she had been barren. He is not trusting in the Lord, nor is he relying upon his faith. Instead, he is depending upon his human experience, human wisdom, and the familiarity of what he has seen with his own eyes. While the question of the Blessed Virgin never casts doubt upon what the Archangel has expressed, nor that it will indeed come to pass just as he described it. Rather, she merely desires to know in what manner this will come to pass.

St. Ambrose of Milan confirms this thought within his writings: “She does not appear to have doubted the event but asked how it would take place. Clearly, if she asked how it would happen, she must have believed in its fulfillment. Thus she merited to hear the words, ‘Blessed are you because you have believed’ (cf. Lk 1:45).

“Yes, truly blessed for having surpassed the priest [Zechariah]. While the priest denied, the Virgin rectified the error. No wonder that the Lord, wishing to rescue the world, began his work with Mary. Thus she, through whom salvation was being prepared for all people, would be the first to receive the promised fruit of salvation.”15

Thus, does not the role of “Advocate” arise from the same “Fullness of Grace” and depth of faith which granted Our Lady the interior freedom to give her fiat at the Annunciation? Christ affirmed this idea within the Gospel of Matthew: “While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. [Someone told him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.’] But he said in reply to the one who told him, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.’”16

What, may at first seem a coarse reply to the statement: “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you,” one must look deeper into the Lord’s response: “For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Notice that Christ ends the sentence with the word Mother, that the words brother and sister precede the word Mother, indicating that there is greater emphasis placed upon this word. Christ is praising His Mother as being she among all creation who keeps the will of His Heavenly Father in its fullest respect.

And who among us carries out the will of God without having faith in Him? Among mankind, who has a faith greater than that of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Thus, is it not fitting that Our Lord grant us the gift of the Blessed Virgin as our “Mother” and “Advocate”? “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”17

St. John Paul II connects the fiat of the Blessed Virgin at the Annunciation with her role as “Advocate” and “Mother:”

“The title ‘Advocate’ goes back to St Irenaeus. With regard to Eve’s disobedience and Mary’s obedience, he says that at the moment of the Annunciation ‘the Virgin Mary became the Advocate’ of Eve (cf. Haer. 5, 19, 1; PG 7, 1175-1176). In fact, with her ‘yes’ she defended our first mother and freed her from the consequences of her disobedience, becoming the cause of salvation for her and the whole human race.

“Mary exercises her role as ‘Advocate’ by co-operating both with the Spirit the Paraclete and with the One who interceded on the Cross for his persecutors (cf. Lk 23:34), whom John calls our ‘advocate with the Father’ (cf. 1 Jn 2:1). As a mother, she defends her children and protects them from the harm caused by their own sins.

“Christians call upon Mary as ‘Helper,’ recognizing her motherly love which sees her children’s needs and is ready to come to their aid, especially when their eternal salvation is at stake.”18

As Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary surely defends and cares for her children. If we turn to her, Our Lady is ever present as our Advocate, pleading our cause before her Son. The Blessed Virgin recognizes, accentuates, and enhances, the good present within the hearts of her children. And, as a mother, she sees with a particular maternal fondness the good within us, through the “true state” of our souls — what we are wholly unable to comprehend, due to our sinful condition, the spiritual blindness which clouds our understanding and keeps our soul from receiving the Love of God. Our Lady accepts and acknowledges even the smallest measure of good, deep within the recesses of our hearts, and desires that it be fostered. She yearns that we, her children, reject the lure of sin, implore the Lord for His Forgiveness, and open ourselves to the grace and Love of God, that this flickering flame of love might burn ever more brightly into a blazing fire. St. Bernard of Clairvaux exhorts: “Let us venerate Mary with every fiber of our being, from the deepest part of our heart, because this is the will of him who wanted us to receive everything through Mary.”19

St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort affirms the Blessed Virgin’s role as Mother and Advocate within his writing, True Devotion: if “we give to our Lord, by His Mother’s hands, all our good works, that good Mother purifies them, embellishes them and makes them acceptable to her Son.

“§ 1. She purifies them of all the stain of self-love, and of that imperceptible attachment to created things which slips unnoticed into our best actions. As soon as they are in her most pure and fruitful hands, those same hands, which have never been sullied or idle, and which purify whatever they touch, take away from the present which we make her all that was spoiled or imperfect about it.

“147. § 2. She embellishes our works, adorning them with her own merits and virtues. It is as if a peasant, wishing to gain the friendship and benevolence of the king, went to the queen and presented her with a fruit which was his whole revenue, in order that she might present it to the king. The queen, having accepted the poor little offering from the peasant, would place the fruit on a large and beautiful dish of gold, and so, on the peasant’s behalf, would present it to the king. Then the fruit, however unworthy in itself to be a king’s present, would become worthy of his majesty, because of the dish of gold on which it rested and the person who presented it.

“148. § 3. She presents these good works to Jesus Christ; for she keeps nothing of what is given her for herself, as if she were our last end. She faithfully passes it all on to Jesus. If we give to her, we give necessarily to Jesus. If we praise her or glorify her, she immediately praises and glorifies Jesus. As of old when St. Elizabeth praised her, so now when we praise her and bless her she sings: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord’ (cf. Lk 1:46).

“149. She persuades Jesus to accept these good works, however little and poor the present may be for that Saint of Saints and that King of Kings. When we present anything to Jesus by ourselves and relying on our own efforts and dispositions, Jesus examines the offering, and often rejects it because of the stains it has contracted through self-love; just as of old He rejected the sacrifices of the Jews when they were full of their own will. But when we present Him anything by the pure and virginal hands of His Well-beloved, we take Him by His weak side, if it is allowable to use such a term. He does not consider so much the thing that is given Him as the Mother who presents it. He does not consider so much whence the offering comes, as by whom it comes. Thus Mary, who is never repelled but always well received by her Son, makes everything she presents to Him, great or small, acceptable to His Majesty.”20

Here, we must recognize a theme that runs throughout the entirety of the Blessed Mother’s life, a willingness to be of service, as well as a humility and selflessness which are beyond compare. Known to us, because they have been witnessed at their very core within her actions: “‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’”21 The Blessed Mother possesses a purity so unlike any other that, when she gave her fiat and was overshadowed by the Power of the Most High, immediately she was found with child. By analogy, it was as if the sun shone upon her, and, through this means, she conceived in her womb the Eternal Word.

And, in like manner, when the Blessed Mother gave birth, it was as if the sun broke forth from within her womb and the Child Jesus came to rest in her loving embrace without being impeded in any way, or having lost any measure of this Light’s Original Intensity, as has been articulated within the Catechism of the Council of Trent: “Besides, a circumstance wonderful beyond expression or conception, he is born of his Mother without any diminution of her maternal virginity; and as he afterwards went forth from the sepulchre whilst it was closed and sealed, and entered the room in which his disciples were assembled, ‘the doors being shut’; (cf. Jn 20:19) or, not to depart from natural events which we witness every day, as the rays of the sun penetrate, without breaking or injuring, in the least, the substance of glass; after a like, but more incomprehensible manner, did Jesus Christ come forth from his mother’s womb without injury to her maternal virginity, which, immaculate and perpetual, forms the just theme of our eulogy. This was the work of the Holy Ghost, who, at the conception and birth of the Son, so favoured the Virgin Mother as to impart to her fecundity, and yet preserve inviolate her perpetual virginity.”22

This Birth, Incomprehensible, because we are unable to fathom an example from within the material world where a source of light is not degraded in some way as it travels through a material. As the sun passes through the atmosphere, glass, or a prism, a portion of this light is diminished or refracted in different directions. And, yet, this Divine Light remains unhindered and the Blessed Mother’s integrity as a perpetual virgin undisturbed.

As Mother and Advocate she purifies, embellishes, and makes acceptable all that we give to our Lord through our prayers and good works. And, when we receive the Grace of God through her hands, she keeps nothing for herself.

Thus, these words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Bonaventure must be our prayer and should resonate within our hearts all the days of our lives: “No other mother was becoming to God than a virgin; nor was any other son becoming to a virgin than God. A greater among mothers than Mary and a greater among sons than Jesus could not be born. This mother is, therefore, the flower of mercy, the mother of the Sun of justice, the mother of the Fountain of wisdom, the mother of the King of glory. She is the mother of Him, I say, whose mercy leads us to love, whose justice to fear, whose wisdom to know, whose glory to hope. Mary is, therefore, the mother of Him who is in fact our love by mercy, our fear by justice, our knowledge by wisdom, our hope by glory, so that she can truly say: ‘I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope’ (cf. (LV) Si 24:24). But is Mary the Mother of Christ only? Nay, what is most joyful, she is not only the Mother of Christ, but also the Mother of all the faithful.”23

  1. Thomas Aquinas, The Three Greatest Prayers: Commentaries on the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Apostles’ Creed (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 1990), 163-165.
  2. Catholic Biblical Association of America, Saint Joseph Edition of the New American Bible, (Washington, D.C.: 1986), Gal 4:4.
  3. Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus: Defining the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1854 (Boston, MA: St. Paul Books & Media, 1992), 20-21.
  4. Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain), The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Translated from the Original Tongues, Being the Version Set Forth A.D. 1611, Old and New Testaments Revised A.D. 1881-1885 and A.D. 1901 (Apocrypha Revised A.D. 1894), Compared with the Most Ancient Authorities and Revised A.D. 1952 (Apocrypha Revised A.D. 1957). Catholic ed. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994, Lk 1:46-55.
  5. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, trans. Frederick William Faber (Bay Shore, NY: Montfort Publications, 1967), 3-4.
  6. RSV, Lk 1:29.
  7. RSV, Lk 1:30.
  8. NAB, Lk 1:34.
  9. Alfred Marshall, The New International Version Interlinear Greek-English New Testament: the Nestle Greek Text with a Literal English Translation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), Lk 1:34, p. 222.
  10. NAB, Lk 1:12-17.
  11. RSV, Gn 3:9-10.
  12. RSV, Lk 1:18.
  13. NIV, Lk 1:18, P 220.
  14. NAB, Lk 1:19-20.
  15. Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 196, as quoting Expositio in Lucam 2, 17; PL 15, 1640.
  16. NAB, Mt 12:46-50.
  17. RSV, Jn 19:26-27.
  18. Pope John Paul II, General Audience, 24 September 1997, p. 5. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en//audiences/1997/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_24091997.html.
  19. Luigi Gambero, Mary in the Middle Ages: The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Thought of Medieval Latin Theologians (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2005), 136, as quoting De Aquaeductu, 7; PL 183, 441B.
  20. De Montfort, True Devotion, 107-109.
  21. RSV, Lk. 1:38.
  22. Pope Pius V, Catechism of the Council of Trent, 1566, trans. J. Donovan (Baltimore: Lucas Brothers, 1829), 40-41.
  23. Bonaventure, The Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Speculum Beatae Mariae Virginis) and the Psalter of our Lady (Psalterium Beatae Mariae Virginis), trans. Sr. Mary Emmanuel, O.S.B. (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1932), 93.
Rev. Kenneth M. Dos Santos, MIC About Rev. Kenneth M. Dos Santos, MIC

Rev. Kenneth M. Dos Santos, MIC, is a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province, located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and was ordained a priest in 2010. He is currently serving as a Provincial Councilor and is the Superior of a Marian house in Thompson, Connecticut. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and an MDiv from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of Hagia Sophia: the Wisdom of God as Offered to the Modern World (Marian Heritage, 2021).


  1. This post makes one fall in love with the Blessed Mother all over again in a deeper, more meaningful way. Thank you, Father Kenneth.

  2. Avatar George HALL says:

    What can you tell me about the picture at top of the artical.

    • Sarah Greydanus Sarah Greydanus says:

      George, the picture is a triptych painting, tempera on wood, called The Annunciation and Two Saints (detail), by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi, dating from 1333. I found it on Wikimedia Commons, where it is in the public domain.
      A blessed Christmas to you,
      Sarah Greydanus
      Managing Editor, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

  3. Avatar Michael Barrachina says:

    Father Ken,
    Excellent article on our Blessed Mother, you are blessed/gifted in a special way to be able to write such an outstanding tribute to our Blessed Mother. Hail Full of Grace, the Lord Is With You
    God Bless you