The “Hail Mary” / “Ave Maria” is one of the main prayers of the Catholic Church. With this prayer, the Mother of Jesus, Mary, is being called. Its name is taken from the beginning of the prayer in the English or the Latin version.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
The Hail Mary consists of two parts:
In the first part we call Mary just like she’s been greeted in the Gospel according to Luke.
First by the Archangel Gabriel: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28), then by her relative Elisabeth: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42)
In the second part, we ask Mary for support, now and at the hour of our death.
Please note (as this is often misunderstood): By praying the Ave Maria, Catholics do not worship the Mother of God, but we call her as our advocate. On the cross, Jesus said that Mary is also our own mother (“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!'” John 19:26-27). We may turn to her wenn we need support and assistance; Mary intercedes for us before God.
Just like with Mary, the Lord is also with us Christians, in any situation, any circumstance, day and night. By praying the Hail Mary we are reminded of that.