A Revised Hail Mary Prayer For Our Post-Modern Times

We are meditating on the original, 12th century, version of the “Hail Mary” prayer of the Middle Ages, which goes like this:

A Philippine conception of Mary as Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, located in the Santa Cruz Church in Noveleta. Photo by IFI Noveleta. Wikimedia Commons.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with you, untroubled maiden.
You are blessed among women,
you who brought forth peace to people
and glory to the angels.
Blessed too is the fruit of your womb,
who by grace made it possible for us to be his heirs.

Notice the important words here: grace, glory, peace, [being] heirs of Christ, angels. It is a poem of empowerment. 

Angels, like the word “glory,” suggest the Cosmic Christ. And angels traditionally usher the soul after death to the next level of existence. The message that humans bring “glory to the angels” and are “heirs” to Christ, along with the emphasis on “grace” and “peace,” stand out as integral to the creation spirituality tradition. In one of his sermons, Meister Eckhart challenges us to be “full of grace” like Mary was.

“O viridissima virgo,” one of Hildegard von Bingen’s beautiful hymns to Mary, performed by Sarah Anne Champion. Video by The Marian Consort. 

Notice too what words are absent: “death, fear, sinners” and the guilt and shame that accompanies them. The 16th century version that talks of sinners and fear of death is deeply fall/redemption.

Patriarchy and pessimism ruled over culture and religion in the West, as French historian Jean Delumeau demonstrates in his powerful study, Sin and Fear: The Emergence of a Western Guilt Culture 13th-18th Centuries. A “new fear” was birthed, he says—“the fear of one’s self” which advanced the “dread of God” over the “fear of God….The accusation of man and the world reached its climax in Western civilization” in the sixteenth century, he maintains. 

“The Annunciation” (1857) by Sir Edward Byrne-Jones. Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash.

I propose updating the prayer for our post-modern times by adding to the original Hail Mary of the Middle Ages the following ending:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us heirs and co-workers of God at the hour of our creativity. Amen.

Such invoking of creativity is essential, if our species and the planet as we know it is to survive.

A prayer to the Divine Feminine ought not conclude in a tone of patriarchal self-pity, powerlessness and fear.


Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 163-173.

And Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 99-104, 107.

And Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake, The Physics of Angels. pp. 177f.

And Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 93f., 101.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “The Annunciation” (1914) by John William Waterhouse. Public domain from WikiArt.org.



Queries for Contemplation

How does this new ending to an old prayer strike you as useful for our times? Do you sense a “dread of God” and “fear of self” lurking behind too much Western religion?


Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science & Spirit Meet
By Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake

When was the last time a scientist and a theologian discussed angels together? What are angels? Many people believe in angels, but few can define these enigmatic spirits. Now visionary theologian Matthew Fox and acclaimed biologist Rupert Sheldrake—pioneers in modern religious thinking and scientific theory—launch a groundbreaking exploration into the ancient concept of the angel and restore dignity, meaning, and joy to our time-honored belief in these heavenly beings.

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  


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14 thoughts on “A Revised Hail Mary Prayer For Our Post-Modern Times”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you for this and all your kind sharings. They inspire.
    You advise a Hail Mary revision and call it a “A prayer to the Divine Feminine”.
    And yet you continue to treat “the Divine Feminine” as merely an intercessor for us to the yet more powerful Divine Father (or any other member of the Trinity) saying “Holy Mary, Mother of God, PRAY FOR US heirs and co-workers” [emphasis mine].
    Were you to truly treat to the Mother of God as DIvine you would pray ” Holy Mary, Mother of God, {not ‘pray for us’} EMPOWER us heirs and co-workers of God at the hour of our creativity. Amen.”
    Or better yet don’t deign to direct the omnipotent this way or that for our purposes…but rather, show faith.
    As in “You give us power as heirs and coworkers of God. Thank you. May we ever be mindful of this and use it.”

    Just sayin.

    Also I love your pictures (Annunciation) but can you cite them and give credit to the artist?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_William_Waterhouse#/media/File:John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_Annunciation.JPG

    This one (Annunciation) is by John William Waterhouse in 1914, an Anglican. He painted it while dying with liver cancer and the Annunciation was “The only time Waterhouse opted for a Christian theme for any of his Academy paintings …. it marked the transition into his final collection”
    He died one year later in 1915.
    from https://engole.info/john-william-waterhouse/
    Pax vobiscum,
    John Daly

    1. Phila Hoopes

      Thank you for your kind comments, John. The DM team is extremely careful to credit artists and sources. If you look at the endnotes below the essay, you will see a linked credit to the artist.

      Appreciation,
      Phila Hoopes
      Blog Manager

    2. Avatar

      So pleased Matthew you agreed with me for a long time. I add ” pray for is and help is to use our creativity to add peace and harmony to our earth.

  2. Avatar

    (Rosary Prayer, through the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina on the 12th century version of Hail Mary)

    A ROSARY PRAYER

    Hail Mary, first Inspirited Woman
    whom set in motion the bringing forth
    and birthing of the blessings of our inheritance
    the living essence and presence
    of the glorious light, love and peace of God
    in us, with us, for us, moving through us.

    Hail Divine Spirit of the Sacred Feminine
    fullness of love, compassion and mercy graciously given
    Blessed are You, our Holy Mother
    Blessed are all, whom are wrapped in Your mantle
    and blessed are the fruits of our One shared womb
    baring forth and birthing Your mysteries from within.

    Mothering essence and presence of God
    pray with us, for us, from within us
    that Your living Spirit may release its fragrance
    from within our souls, unfolding, evolving,
    emerging and converging with
    all that we encounter in life and death.

    Amen

  3. Avatar

    Such a profound – Thank You -for this message Brother Fox.

    My own rendition has included this:

    Holy Mary Mother of All. Pray for All Humans – All Creation, Now and Every Moment of Life. Amen

  4. Avatar

    Thank you. This was a revelation to me and I will copy this prayer and use it from now on. This may even rekindle in me a desire to use the rosary.

  5. Avatar

    How does this new ending to an old prayer strike you as useful for our times? Do you sense a “dread of God” and “fear of self” lurking behind too much Western religion?

    Awe Matthew, this new ending to the Hail Mary prayer is intimate and powerful just like creativity is when it comes from love.
    I love it very much! I could feel the Spirit of these words settle into my heart and open it up to receive this intimate grace, inspiring me to create this very moment out of this love, therefore healing myself and inspiring to help heal our world. These new words give Us the creative energy to heal and grow, to create with the Spirit of Love a universal path to wellbeing and wholeness for every creature on this Earth.

    For me in my Catholic upbringing and our patriarchal culture, a fear of self and a denial of self caused repression and sorrow in me. It caused me to lose myself rather than find myself. My creative spark was dimmed.
    To add “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us heirs and co-workers of God at the hour of our creativity” will birth the Spirit of God into us and our creativity.
    Thank you Matthew!!!

  6. Avatar
    Barbara McGurran

    Thank you ,Matthew, for this beautiful ending to the Hail Mary. It will surely birth the latent creativity in the minds and hearts of all who pray it. Your book,Original Blessing, was the impetus for me to start my own journey of creativity in both my spiritual and working life. Blessings on you.

  7. Avatar

    Thank you so much for your research on the origins of the Hail Mary. Could you please provide the reference to the source document as well as the text in the original language which i imagine is in latin?

  8. Avatar
    Katherine Sogolow

    Here is an alternate version:

    Hail, Mary,

    Full of grace, the Creator is with you, shining brightly.

    Blessed are you among women, bringing forth joy and peace to all people;

    Blessed is the fruit of your womb- whose grace welcomes us into the communion of all life.

    Holy Mary , Mother of all, pray for your children now and at this hour of your blessing.

    Amen.

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