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The angel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke1:28)

How can the angel said "the Lord is with you" when the Holy Spirit had not yet overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary?

St.Elizabeth said this words to Mary "And why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke1:43)

It would seem to appear that Angel Gabriel already sees the presence of Jesus Christ in Mary's heart even before the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit happened.

Why Angel Gabriel greeted Mary saying "the Lord is with you" in Luke1:28?

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  • It's an old idiom. It has nothing to do with the holy spirit. Answers should fixate on what the idiom means, not any interpretive conclusions about it.
    – user2055
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 20:02
  • This is another occasion when a question is migrated and the original OP is not logged as a member on this Stack Exchange site, Therefore the OP is, at present, unable to accept an answer or to participate in the process of voting or comment. I do not know how this is dealt with.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 1:52

3 Answers 3

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The salutation of Gabriel to Mary was :

ο κυριος μετα σου TR-undisputed Luke 1:28, KJV.

Which, literally translated (see The Englishman's Greek New Testament) is :

The Lord with thee [EGNT].

These are the exact words which Boaz used in greeting the reapers in Ruth 2:4

The Lord with thee Masoretic text Ruth 2:4

It is a form of salutation, a blessing which desires the Lord's presence to be with someone. I don't see that anything can be inferred about Mary in particular by this form of greeting.


The Douay-Rheims adds the copular verb ('is') when translating Jerome's Vulgate :

The Lord is with thee [D-R, Luke 1:28]

And the D-R also adds the copular verb ('is') in Ruth 2:4 :

The Lord be with you [D-R, Ruth 2:4]

But the salutation in the D-R to the reapers, by Boaz, is expressed as a future event - or a desire. The salutation expressed in the D-R to Mary, by Gabriel, expresses a present situation.

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  • if its just a form of salutation or blessings citing Ruth2:4, why would Mary be greatly troubled and reacted as if that kind of greetings was never heard before in succeeding verse?
    – ianjoseph198
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 13:51
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    The verse implied Mary was troulbed with the "words" and not because She saw an angel speaking. The verse stated "Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greetings this might be." (luke1:29). I think Church teaches that Mary was familiar with the angels encamping on her and in seeing an angels.
    – ianjoseph198
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 14:54
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    @ianjoseph198 The original Greek is η δε ιδουσα διεταραχθη - 'but she, seeing, was troubled'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 1:57
  • Old Testament and Psalms had so many references of angel appearing to men even Jacob wrestled with the angel. St.Joseph had been encountering angels and it seems OT people are familiar with the angels. Seeing an angel wont trouble the Blessed Virgin either based on scriptures.
    – ianjoseph198
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 4:03
  • @ianjoseph198 But she, seeing, was troubled is what the scripture says.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 5:21
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Why did Angel Gabriel greet Mary saying “the Lord is with you” in Luke1:28?

Answer :

Before the Angel announce that Mary was chosen to be the "bearer of the Logos", Mary already "bear the Logos in Her pure & immaculate heart" thru Her unceasing prayers. Jesus Christ presence already existed in the pure & immaculate heart of Mary as she persistently petition God to send the promised Messiah. As the scriptures speaks of the faithful must have an expectant & trusting faith that God will answer all our prayers if it is in accord with His Will.

The Blessed Virgin Mary have a perfect faith that God will grant Her prayers and Her pure & humbled heart always seek the Will of the Father.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.(Mark11:24)

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer.” (Matthew11:22)

Supporting explanation:

To fully understand the the angel salutation before it arrives at the phrase "the Lord is with you", it would suffice if we get the full understanding of the whole phrase "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you".

The mystics say that at the Annunciation/Incarnation three drops of the Blessed Virgin Mary's blood received the Divine Power of the Holy Spirit and the Second Person of the Triune God became the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

...her most pure heart, as it were by natural consequence, was contracted and compressed with such force, that it distilled three drops of her most pure blood, and these, finding their way to the natural place for the act of conception, were formed by the power of the divine and holy Spirit, into the body of Christ our Lord. Thus the matter, from which the most holy humanity of the Word for our Redemption is composed, was furnished and administered by the most pure heart of Mary and through the sheer force of her true love. The Mystical City of God, Venerable Maria of Agreda

The angel greeting of the word "Hail", is what troubled the Blessed Virgin Mary, her profound humility would not seek praises nor would it want any exaltation from men much more to an angel.

Mary is "Full of Grace" because the role of being the Mother of the Messiah the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity demands a high dignity.

MARY, GOD’S MASTERPIECE

Of all the feast days in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, only three birthdays are observed: the Nativity of our Divine Savior, Who is Holiness Itself; St. John the Baptist, who was sanctified in his mother's womb; and Mary, the ever-virgin Mother of God, whose birthday is celebrated on the eighth of September.

But Our Lady was eternally present in the mind of God. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. (Proverbs 8: 22-23). God preordained from all eternity that Mary should exist. And, by a positive act of the Divine Will, God predestined Mary to be entrusted with the sublime mission of being the Mother of His only-begotten Son Who was to come in the flesh. This was an absolutely free act on the part of God. Because she was to be the Mother of God incarnate, God would accord to her all the gifts and perogatives commensurate with that dignity, including the grace to merit a singular degree of sanctity and purity in order to render her worthy to be the Mother of God.

Now, the whole reason for Mary's existence is Jesus. In fact, Jesus and Mary were predestined together. This is the teaching of two popes: Pope Pius IX, in his Apostolic Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus, defining the Immaculate Conception as a dogma of the Faith, and Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus, in which he issued the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Both say that Jesus and Mary were predestined by God "in one and the same decree." There is a hierarchical order here. Christ, because He is God, was willed initially, and Mary second. As St. Paul said, He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature; for in Him all things were created in heaven and on earth. . . (Colossians 1:15-16). This order, however, does not imply chronology. Because of our creaturely limitations, we must speak as though God willed this order sequentially. But we know that in God there is neither past nor future. Time does not elapse in the mind of God; there is only the "Eternal Now."

Mary, Full of Grace

You might say that the Immaculate Conception is a "negative" holiness, since it means a lack of sin. But God also willed to complement this with another gift: the fullness of grace, thereby joining to her freedom from sin a positive sanctity. This positive holiness would include the infusion of sanctifying Grace, the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and the four cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance, along with the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Does this mean that God granted Our Lady absolute fullness of grace from the beginning? No. But she was to have all the grace that her dignity as the Mother of God demanded. However, this fullness would be able to enjoy increase, so that every time Mary freely and consciously cooperated with the will of God, her merit, grace and sanctity were augmented. Grace would increase in the soul of Mary every time she received the Sacraments. But of the seven Sacraments, Mary would receive only three: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist. Mary would not need Baptism in order to free her from Original Sin, but to incorporate her into the Mystical Body of Christ and to impress upon her soul the sacramental character. And, as we know, Baptism is necessary in order to receive the other Sacraments. Mary was confirmed at Pentecost along with the Apostles, and received the Holy Eucharist as often as she could. Because of the perfect disposition of her soul, the effects of the Sacraments would be of such strength that Mary would enjoy a profound and rapid growth, which would deepen her original fullness of grace, so that at the end of her time here on earth, Mary would be ablaze with grace and love, truly a "Woman clothed with the Sun. http://www.thesacredheart.com/mary.htm

In closing, the three mysterious phrases in the greetings of the angel "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you" defined three things which comes from the revelation of the Archangel Gabriel belonging to the choir of cherubim who possessed superb knowledge and knows the secrets of God. The word "Hail" means the angel had acknowledged Mary as their Sovereign Queen, and the words "full of grace" means the angel saw the quality of the soul of Mary and lastly the phrase "the Lord is with you" means the angel saw the pure & immaculate heart of Mary already bear the Logos.

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When Moses was sent on his first great challenge, to confront Pharoah, he was reassured that God would be with him. Exodus 3:10-12

When Gideon was commanded to deliver Israel from the might of Midian, he was reassured that God would be with him. Judges 6:14-18

When Joshua saw that his enemy were of giant stature, he took courage because God's message was that He was with him. Numbers 13:32-33, Joshua 1:4-6, 9.

And likewise with Our Lady, when she was presented with this extraordinarily difficult, impossible task, the message (to be repeated by countless Christians for all time) was that "the Lord is with thee".

(hat tip to Edward Sri, "A Biblical Walk Through the Mass", 2006, page 12)

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