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644

Part Four

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death:

By asking Mary to

pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address

ourselves to the “Mother of Mercy,” theAll-Holy One. We give ourselves over

to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already

at the present moment, to surrender “the hour of our death” wholly to her

care. May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross. May she

welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing

38

to lead us to her son,

Jesus, in paradise.

2678

Medieval piety in the West developed the prayer of the rosary as

a popular substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours. In the East, the litany

called the

Akathistos

and the

Paraclesis

remained closer to the choral office

in the Byzantine churches, while the Armenian, Coptic, and Syriac tradi­

tions preferred popular hymns and songs to the Mother of God. But in the

Ave Maria,

the

theotokia,

the hymns of St. Ephrem or St. Gregory of Narek,

the tradition of prayer is basically the same.

2679

Mary is the perfect

Orans

(pray-er), a figure of the Church.

When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the

Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple

we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes,

39

for she has become the

mother of all the living. We can praywith and to her. The prayer of the

Church is sustainedby the prayer ofMary andunitedwith it inhope.

40

IN BRIEF

2680

Prayer is primarily addressed to the Father; it can

also be directed toward Jesus, particularly by the in­

vocation of his holy name: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of

God, have mercy on us sinners.”

2681

“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy

Spirit” (

1 Cor

12:3). The Church invites us to invoke

the Holy Spirit as the interior Teacher of Christian

prayer.

2682

Because of Mary’s singular cooperation with the ac­

tion of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in

communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with

her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to

entrust supplications and praises to her.

38 Cf.

Jn

19:27.

39 Cf.

Jn

19:27.

40 Cf.

LG

68-69.

1020

971, 1674

967

972