How many people know how to say the Hail Mary correctly? The saints have said that one Hail Mary said well is worth 1,000 Hail Mary’s said poorly. The Spanish philosopher and Jesuit Francisco Suarez once said he was willing to give all the works he had ever written in exchange for the merit of one Hail Mary. So how do we say this beautiful prayer? How do we gain all the graces you should receive by saying it?

The first words of the Hail Mary are Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee. These are the words that were said to Mary by the Angel Gabriel at the Incarnation. By saying these words, we are reminding Our Lady of the most wonderful, amazing, and beautiful moment of her life, the moment she became the Mother of God. The Hail Mary brings Our Lady back to that moment of the Incarnation, praising her and saying with her cousin Elizabeth, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

 Saint Mechtilde, the Benedictine mystic, was once praying and trying to think of some way to express her love for the Blessed Mother. Our Lady appeared to her with the Angelic Salutation in flaming letters of gold written on her breast and said:

“My daughter, I want you to know that no one can please me more than by saying the salutation which the Most Adorable Trinity sent to me, and by which raised me to the dignity of Mother of God.

“By the word Ave (which is the name Eve, Eva), I have learned that in His power God has preserved me from all sin and its attendant misery which the first women has been subject to.

“The name Mary which means ‘Lady of Light’ shows God has filled me with wisdom and light, like a shining star, to light up heaven and earth.

“The words full of grace remind me that the Holy Spirit has showered so many graces upon me that I am able to give these graces in abundance to those who ask for them through me a Mediatrix.

“When people say The Lord is with thee, they renew the indescribable joy that was mine when the Eternal Word became incarnate in my womb.

“When you say Blessed art thou among women,I praise Almighty God’s divine mercy which has lifted me to this exalted plane of happiness.

“And at the words Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus Christ adored and glorified for having saved mankind.”

Can you not now see how beautiful this short prayer is? Saint Jerome says, “The words of the Hail Mary are so sublime that no human intelligence is capable of adequately explaining them.” If truly the words of this beautiful prayer are so full of meaning and so close to the heart of Our Lady, then it must be a source of many graces. Should we not then say often and with fervor the words Hail Mary full of grace!