Hail Mary, Full of Grace

Mary distributes graces to the world
Ave Maria gratia plena – "Hail Mary, full of grace".

Thus opens the Hail Mary prayer in its Western Christian form. In the Déanic version, this becomes:

Ave Maria, Fons gratiarum – "Hail Mary, Fount of grace".

Thealogically, the distinction is important, because it makes clear that Mary is the Source, and not a mere human recipient, of grace. The importance of this is explained in our full discussion of the Hail Mary prayer.

However, iconographically, the image of Our Lady distributing grace to the world is universal. The image shown here is one of the many images of Our Lady in the position known as the Distribution of Graces.

This image of Our Lady showering grace upon the world is by no means restricted to the Western figure of Mary. In the East, Quan Yin is frequently depicted holding a vase containing the sacred dew or nectar of grace or wisdom which She showers upon suffering beings.

Hail Mary full of Grace – Kuan Yin distributes graces

Quan Yin may hold the vase either upright or inverted. If it is inverted it is exactly equivalent to the Marian Distribution of Graces icon – showing Her in the act of showering Her grace upon the world. In some cases statues of Quan Yin actually have water pouring from the vase, depicting the distribution of Her grace.

Interestingly, the upright vase might be said to correspond to the formula "Hail Mary, full of grace", while the inverted vase corresponds to the words "Hail Mary, fount of grace".

Again, some would attribute "Hail Mary, full of grace" to the Mother, who, contains within Her all grace, while "fount of grace" may be considered as belonging to the Daughter who mediates between the Mother and the world of fallen beings, distributing Her grace.

Nevertheless, in the Hail Mary prayer – which is addressed to the Mother – "fount of grace" is important, for it represents not only the Distribution of Graces – which She performs through Her Daughter – but the fact that She is the fons et origo – the Fount and Source – of all grace.

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See also:

A full explanation of the Hail Mary Prayer as a devotion to Our Mother God

Main page on Our Lady Mary

The Immaculate Heart of Mary: A beautiful and profound symbol of Our Dear Lady's Godhead

Creation Myths and the Virgin Mary: What is a Creation Myth? Is it true? And how is Our Lady Mary connected with the primordial Creation Myth?

Choosing a Virgin Mary Statue: A guide for devotees of Our Mother God

Mary Statues as Images of God the Mother: Further important information on statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Maria-sama no Kokoro: A beautiful online video of a hymn to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with Déanic interpretation

The Mother-God Hail Mary MP3 The Hail Mary, as "translated" for devotional use by children of Our Mother God, presented and explained in a sermon given at a Filanic Service

Mary and Eve: Reflections on the original Divine status of Eve as Creatrix, and the traditional idea of Mary as "the New Eve"

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Our Lady Mary

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  • Angel & Titan, Mary & God

  • The Immaculate Heart

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  • Our Lady of Guadalupe

  • The Hail Mary Prayer to Our Mother God

  • Hymn: Lady Mary's Heart

  • Choosing a Mary Statue

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  • Hail Mary, Full of Grace

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