Most Highly Favoured Lady, Gloria!

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden, Mary,
most highly favoured lady,”

“For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honor thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favoured lady,”

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“my soul shall laud and magnify His holy Name.”
Most highly favoured lady,

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say
“Most highly favoured lady,”


About Joshua Michael

Writer. Catholic. Fan of John Henry Newman and the Inklings.
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1 Response to Most Highly Favoured Lady, Gloria!

  1. Valerie O'Regan says:

    I love the “Annunciation” theme of this carol, and the delightful melody, but the words are all wrong.

    The angel did not call Mary “lowly”. Mary expressed her humility later, in the Magnificat:
    “He has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.”

    The term “highly favoured” is a Protestant innovation, found in the King James Bible. Before the Protestant Revolt, it was “full of grace”. “Highly favoured” is a different concept which demeans Mary somewhat, a way of denying the Immaculate Conception.

    Haydock tells us that there is no need to substitute other words for “fulll of grace” — a translation approved by the ancient Fathers — such as “gracious”, “freely beloved” or “highly favoured” (identified as Protestant), and goes on to ask, “Why should anyone be offended at this salutation?”

    “The Lord is with thee” — a very important phrase spoken by the angel — is left out.

    It is ironic that few Protestants pay the slightest attention to Mary, and some even denigrate her, thus failing to fulfil the statement in the carol that Christian folk throughout the world will ever say “most highly favoured lady” despite the biblical phrophecy in the Magnificat, “All generations shall call me blessed.”

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