Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us Sinners

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.” St. Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises invites us to meditate on three sins and their consequences: the sin of the angels, the sin of Adam and Eve, and the personal sin of one individual lost for all eternity on account of this one mortal sin.

The angels are beautiful, majestic, spiritual beings created by God, who reflect His perfection; they are to love Him, adore Him, serve Him, and glorify Him. Created with free will, they are free to choose God or not, to be faithful to Him or not. One of the angels rebels against God, a voice ringing out in Heaven as it were: “And you said, ‘I will not serve.’” (Jeremiah 2:20). This rebel angel then induces other angels to sin also, to rebel against God. As we read in the book of Revelation: “And another sign appeared in Heaven; behold a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth” (Revelation 12:3, 4). Then war breaks out in Heaven between Michael and his angels—the angels who remained faithful to God, who did not sin—and the dragon and his angels (Cf. Revelation 12:7). The dragon and his angels lost the battle, “they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:8-9). Thus Jesus said: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). St. Ignatius quotes these verses from Isaiah regarding the angel who rebelled, the Devil: “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:13-14). These rebel angels—the Devil and his angels—who, at their creation reflect the beauty, glory and majesty of God, now look like hideous monsters and are cast into the depths of hell, into “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41) There they hate, curse and blaspheme God for all eternity, when they were created to be with Him in Heaven, to love and possess Him for all eternity. These are the consequences of the sin of one angel—the Devil, Satan—who was the first angel to sin. St. Ignatius asks us to consider the motive of the sin: pride.

Adam and Eve were created by God to love Him and to be with Him in Heaven for all eternity—they and their offspring. God created them in the state of original holiness and placed them in an earthly paradise as we know. They too were created with free will—free to choose God, to be faithful to Him or to sin. In Genesis 3 we read that the serpent, who is identified as the Devil in Revelation 12:9 lies to Eve, and tempts her to eat from the tree which God had forbidden her and Adam to eat from. “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5)…these words call to mind the words quoted above: “I will be like the Most High…” (Isaiah14:14) Eve discourses with the Devil, the serpent; this is something we should never do. She believes his lie, falls into the temptation; she eats of the forbidden fruit and then tempts Adam to eat if it. He takes and eats. This one sin of Adam and Eve, a sin of disobedience rooted in pride—the original sin—brings death to all of humanity, to all of the future offspring of Adam and Eve. Thus Jesus says of the Devil: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” After this one sin of Adam and Eve, a deluge of sin ensues; humanity will sin until the end of time. These are just some of the consequences of the one sin of Adam and Eve—the original sin—which, as we mentioned, was rooted in pride.

Now St. Ignatius invites us to meditate upon the sin of a soul in the depths of hell right now, the one mortal sin which brought about the loss of this soul. This soul created by God to love Him and to be with Him for all eternity in Heaven, may once have been holy he says, even retaining its Baptismal innocence for decades. This soul may have performed many good works. Then came the day when it was tempted, fell into the temptation and committed a mortal sin. The soul may have fallen through weakness after resisting the temptation for a long time. Death came suddenly, and the soul was caught unawares; it had not repented of this one mortal sin. St. Ignatius wants us to reflect on the consequences of this sin. Created to love God and to be with Him for all eternity, this soul ends up in the depths of hell where it will be tormented for all eternity, where it will hate, blaspheme and curse God for all eternity.

Let us return to Revelation 12. “And a great sign appeared in Heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child…” (Revelation 12:1, 2) Then in Revelation 12:17 we read that the dragon (who, as we mentioned is identified in verse 9 as the Devil, Satan), angry with the woman, “went off to make war on the rest of her offspring.” Who is the woman and who are her offspring? After the sin of Adam and Eve, God says to the serpent—the Devil—in Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”(Douay Bible).  Woman does not bear the seed, thus God is speaking here of a Virgin Mother—the Blessed Virgin Mary—Who is the woman of Revelation 12:1 and Genesis 3:15, who crushes the head of the serpent, the Devil, by Her Divine Motherhood. God gave us a miraculous image of Her in the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

This leads us then to Luke 1, a chapter of the Gospels with which we are very familiar, where we read the account of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Divine Motherhood. “The angel Gabriel, sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace the Lord is with you!’” (Luke 1:26-28) These words of God, spoken to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the angel Gabriel, are, as we know, the first words of the “Hail Mary” prayer. The angel then tells Our Blessed Mother that She will conceive and bear a son—Jesus. Thus God became flesh in the Immaculate womb of Mary and the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son…” (John 3:16)

The woman of Revelation 12:1 and Genesis 3:15 then as we mentioned, is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. The Mother of Jesus—God—is the Mother of His Mystical Body, the Church. She is our Mother and we are her offspring upon whom the Devil wages war (Cf. Revelation 12:17). Is there, as a priest said, greater proof in the Scriptures that we are the children of Mary, than this one verse—Revelation 12:17? The Devil makes war on us usually by temptation, by tempting us to sin, and in God’s design it is our Blessed Mother Mary Who crushes his head (Cf. Genesis 3:15). Thus a priest said: “when you are tempted, pray the “Hail Mary”, and Mary will crush the head of the serpent, the Devil….try it, try it.” “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now…” Mary comes to our aid, Mary prays as we asked Her to, and we are delivered from the temptation; we will not fall if we do not want to.

“And at the hour of our death. Amen.”  This priest also said, “I prepared for death 250 times today…I prayed 5 Rosaries.” Every time we pray the Rosary we prepare for our death. With each “Hail Mary,” we pray: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.” How serious is the hour of our death; it is the moment that will determine where we will go for all eternity—Heaven or hell. At that moment the Devil wages the fiercest battle against us. All our life he tries to drag us into hell with him…but at the hour of our death, it is his last chance to do so. At that moment we greatly need our Blessed Mother Mary to assist us, to crush his head, so that we will not be overcome by the force of the temptations.

We do not know the day or the hour; death comes like a thief in the night. By our Rosary, let us call on Our Blessed Mother that She may deliver us from temptations now and at the hour of our death. Let us ask Her for the grace to live a holy life and to die a holy death. Let us ask Her that we might reach the degree of holiness God call us to, and go straight to Heaven when we die—into the eternal embrace of God’s Merciful Love, as St. Therese of Lisieux said—bypassing Purgatory altogether. By our Rosary let us ask Our Blessed Mother for these same graces for all Her children…a mother wants to save all her children. “Pray for us sinners…”

Let us trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession; She is the Mother of God, thus Her prayer bears the force of a command, as St. Alphonsus Liguori the great doctor of the Church says in the sixth Chapter of his inspired book The Glories of Mary, which is highly recommended. “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Photo by Saint John’s Seminary on Unsplash


After a number of years trying to become a nun, which was my ardent desire, I submitted to God's will and returned to the world! I live a quiet contemplative life in the world, spending many hours a day at my parish in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, assisting at the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, praying Rosaries and writing. It is my great desire to make Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph more known and loved, and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament...He is really present in our midst, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist. My writing can be found at my blog, beholdyourmother.net.

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