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Chapter 35. God Calls Us to Pray • 471

the presence of God in Mary’s womb: “How does this happen to me,

that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43). This is

the first time in Scripture that Mary’s faith is praised.

• “Holy Mary, Mother of God.” Sometime in the Middle Ages, the

second half of the Hail Mary, which begins by invoking her title of

Mother of God, was composed. This title comes from the earliest

days of Christian faith. Mary is the Mother of God, because she is

the mother of Jesus who is true God and true man, as defined by

the Council of Ephesus in AD 431. The Eastern Churches call Mary


, or “Birth-giver of God” (sometimes translated as “God-

bearer”). Mary’s response to God engages her in the plan of human

salvation through motherhood of Jesus.

• “Pray for us sinners.” We have noted that intercessory prayer con-

cerns the needs and hopes of others. Jesus Christ, our High Priest,

always intercedes for us before the Father, and he calls us to inter-

cede for others as well. The saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary con-

tinue this prayer of intercession in heaven. As Mother of the Church,

Mary continues to pray with a mother’s care for the Body of her

Son on earth. At Cana, Mary interceded with Jesus on behalf of the

couple who had run out of wine. Jesus heard her prayer and turned

water into wine. Mary’s last words in Scripture are spoken to us:

“Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you” (Jn 2:5). Our holy Mother always

brings us to Jesus.

• “Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” In her life, Mary walked

a pilgrimage of faith. Even with all the grace she received from God,

she encountered the mysterious ways of God and profound suffer-

ing, especially at the death of her Son. She knows what a journey of

faith entails, and she accompanies us with prayer as we make our

journey to God throughout our lives and at death.

Other Prayers to the Blessed Virgin

In the Latin Church, the Rosary, a venerable and powerful form of

prayer, developed out of popular piety. Praying the Rosary involves the

recitation of vocal prayers, including the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and

the Glory Be, while meditating on mysteries in the life of Jesus. In the