Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Luciano Pavarotti, “Ave Maria”

Today’s prompt is “Mary/Maria/Marie.”

Anyone who’s been reading The Sound of One Hand Typing for any length of time knows that I’ve been married for over 42 years to my beloved Mary. The year she was born, Mary was the most popular name for girls in the United States, and in much of the world. (For the record, my name was #5, behind Michael, James, David, and Robert.)

To Christians, Mary is the name of the mother of Jesus, and if you’re a Catholic Christian, she holds a special place in your heart. She’s appeared in apparitions all over the world: Lourdes, Fatima, La Salette, Guadalupe, and (unofficially) Medjugorje are the ones that come immediately to mind for me. Her message to the people she’s appeared to is a simple one: Pray, repent, and prepare for the return of her Son. Some non-Catholics accuse Catholics of praying to her as though she’s God, but that isn’t the case; she’s an intercessor, as are the saints, but being His mother gives her a special place in His heart. Which reminds me of a story…

An older priest, the pastor of his parish, is showing his new vicar around the church. They go up to the choir loft and look over the rail, and see old Maggie Guilfoyle kneeling in the tenth pew back, saying her Rosary in front of a picture of Mary. The pastor pulls the young priest down and says, “let’s have a little fun.” The old priest pokes his head up and quietly says, “Maggie! Maggie Guilfoyle!” The woman stops briefly, then continues praying. The old priest pokes his head up and, a little more loudly, says “Maggie! It’s Jesus, Maggie!” Maggie stops, looks around, then shrugs and goes back to her beads. A third time, the priest pokes his head up. “Maggie! Maggie Guilfoyle! It’s Jesus Christ!” This time, Maggie turns around and, in a thick Irish brogue, barks “WILL YE SHUT UP? I’M TALKING TO YER MOTHER!”

March 25 is my birthday, and it’s also The Feast of The Annunciation on the Church’s calendar. It celebrates the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, who’s about 13 years old, to tell her that she has found favor with God and that, with her permission, He would like her to give birth to His Son. The story is told in The Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 1, verses 26 to 38, and commemorated in the Ave Maria prayer, known colloquially as the “Hail Mary.” It has been set to music many times, most famously by Franz Schubert, who had originally written the music as “Ellens dritter gesang” (“Ellen’s Third Song”), which he wrote in 1825 as part of his Opus 52, a setting of seven songs from Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady Of The Lake. St. Luke provides the lyrics for the first half of the song, while the second half is a prayer asking Mary to pray for us, now and at the hour of death. There are many versions, but my favorite is Luciano Pavarotti’s.

The lyrics, according to Songlyrics.com, with the English translation in parentheses (provided by me):

Ave Maria (Hail Mary)
Gratia plena (Full of grace)
Maria, gratia plena (Mary, full of grace)
Maria, gratia plena (Mary, full of grace)

Ave, ave dominus (Hail, hail the Lord)
Dominus tecum (The Lord is with you)
Benedicta tu in mulieribus (Blessed are you among women)
Et benedictus (And blessed)

Et benedictus fructus ventris (And blessed is the fruit of the womb)
Ventris tuae, Jesus (Your womb, Jesus)
Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

Ave Maria (Hail Mary)
Mater Dei (Mother of God)
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus (Pray for us sinners)
Ora pro nobis, Ora, ora pro nobis peccatoribus (Pray for us, pray, pray for us sinners)

Nunc et in hora mortis (Now and at the hour of death)
Et in hora mortis nostrae (and in the hour of our death)
Et in hora mortis nostrae (and in the hour of our death)
Et in hora mortis nostrae (and in the hour of our death)
Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

The actual prayer, in English:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday and Song of the Day for June 21, 2020.

23 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Luciano Pavarotti, “Ave Maria”

      1. because of this part of your post … β€œMaggie! Maggie Guilfoyle! It’s Jesus Christ!” This time, Maggie turns around and, in a thick Irish brogue, barks β€œWILL YE SHUT UP? I’M TALKING TO YER MOTHER!”

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