Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”

After several years of reciting Hail Marys, it just dawned on me that there is a hidden petition in the final words.

When we say, “at the hour of our death.” We’re asking Mary to pray for us in the most important moment of our life, which is when the soul leaves the body and stands before Our Lord. When eternity, be it for good or for ill, stretches before us.

But, it appears to me, that “hour of our death” can also mean more. In life, there are two kinds of death! there is bodily death, and there is also a dying to self, a putting to death of the part of me that is turned from God and attached to self and sin.

And don’t we need Our Lady’s support in that moment of “death” as well?

Now, I come to understand this petition of the Hail Mary to encapsulate all of this: Pray for me now; pray for me at the hour of my physical death; and pray for me at the time of my little, daily death, the deaths to self, those times when I am called upon to bury the “old me” so that, I may rise to fullness of life in Christ.

I can run to our Lady with my fears, my terrible images of what the future holds, and my utter weakness. Asking her to pray for me NOW, in all my present problems, fears, and struggles.

And also at the hour of death, which is at those hours of death to self and at that ultimate hour in which I will be brought before the judgment seat.

As Our Lady stayed with Christ to the very last, so will she accompany us, if we allow her. She wants to sustain us in our daily deaths so that she may see us arrive victorious before the throne of Christ in our final hour.

Our battles in life, are real! Our little struggles in life do count! But we can’t win them on our own.

Therefore, let us pray earnestly, in sincerity and in confidence to our faithful Mother.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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