Hail Mary, The

  • A Verbal Icon of Mary

  • by Nicholas Ayo C.S.C.

  • 244 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Paperback | 9780268011024 | February 1994

  • Hardcover | 9780268011017 | February 1994

  • eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268081508 | February 1994


Next to the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary may well be the most recited prayer in Catholic Christendom. In this volume, which comprises the most thorough and comprehensive book-length study of the Hail Mary available, Nicholas Ayo, C.S.C., presents a compendium study of this ancient prayer, one that is at once historical and exegetical as well as critical and meditative. Here he thoughtfully examines the quintessential Marian prayer word by word and line by line, analyzing each phrase in itself and in relation to the other phrases, a method that will enable readers to study the prayer for maximum understanding, appreciation, and spiritual gain.

With a balance of clarity and insight, Ayo considers the Hail Mary from every angle, taking into consideration its history, language, literary quality, theology, and spirituality. His reflections reveal a deeper spiritual appreciation for the particular genius of the Ave Maria, which, when combined with an enhanced knowledge of it, will help readers gain a more meaningful understanding of this treasured prayer.

In addition to an in-depth study of the pray itself, The Hail Mary includes an overview of the larger issues of Marian theology and devotion, a review of Mary in the biblical scriptures and in the apocrypha, and a summary review of the place of the Virgin Mary in the hearts and prayers of Christian men and women. Although Ayo treats the Hail Mary as it is known today, he also provides an anthology of commentary on the prayer from over the centuries, including the reflections of such writers as Thomas Aquinas, Matilda of Helfta, and Caryll Houselander, and others.

This insightful study will be useful for clergy, religious, and all Christians who seek a greater understanding of the fundamentals of their faith and devotion.