We just had our May Crowning this evening.
I still had the lovely strains of "Bring flowers to the fairest.." flowing through my head when I opened the Gospels-in-a-year email in my inbox. Today was the beginning of Luke, and in the footnotes I found this whopper:
(1) The expression full of grace is rooted in Catholic tradition and traced to St. Jerome's translation of this verse in the Latin Vulgate. Although fundamentally accurate, it lacks some of the depth of the Greek original. Luke could have described her with the words full of grace (Gk. pleres charitos) as he did of Stephen in Acts 6:8, yet here he uses a different expression (Gk. kecharitomene) that is even more revealing than the traditional rendering. It indicates that God has already "graced" Mary previous to this point, making her a vessel who "has been" and "is now" filled with divine life.What a marvelous insight from the rendering of the word kecharitomene! It reminds me of the time I learned that St. Jerome originally rendered 'daily bread' as 'supersubstantiated bread'.
(2) Alternative translations like "favored one" or "highly favored" are possible but inadequate. Because of the unparalleled role that Mary accepts at this turning point in salvation history, the best translation is the most exalted one. For God endowed Mary with an abundance of grace to prepare her for the vocation of divine motherhood and to make her a sterling example of Christian holiness (CCC 490-93, 722).