VIII. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The “Hail Mary”.

VIII. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The “Hail Mary”.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

VIII. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The “Hail Mary”.

“And the angel said to her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.”—Luke i, 28.

Dear Brethren: To-day there is offered for our consideration one of the sweetest of prayers of our holy Religion. It is the “Hail Mary,” or Angelical Salutation, which we say so often, particularly in the Rosary. Considered in its origin, its contents, and in its efficacy it is beautiful and sublime, and, with the exception of the Lord’s Prayer, the most excellent. Its origin is to be had in the words which the Archangel Gabriel addressed to blessed Mary, ever virgin. To these have been added the words of St. Elizabeth on the occasion of Mary’s visit, and the holy Church has completed the prayer with a consoling supplication. Its very origin, therefore, makes this prayer a holy and venerable one.

The words of salutation are brief, but they contain everything that one could ever say in praise of the Virgin Mother of God.

The petition includes briefly everything for which we may ask Mary.

Let us then give our attention to this beautiful prayer in the name of Jesus and Mary, His blessed mother.

I said, that in the first part of the “Hail Mary” all the privileges and glories which made the blessed Virgin so worthy of praise are contained. A closer examination will show us how true this is. Let us transport ourselves in spirit to Nazareth, to the quiet little room where Mary is praying in deepest devotion. Suddenly there enters this room one of the most exalted spirits that stand at the throne of the Creator. What does this messenger from heaven desire of this humble virgin, unknown to the world? He desires no less than her participation in our redemption. The only begotten Son of God, in His infinite love for mankind, has offered to take upon Himself human nature, to atone for our sins and to redeem us. The time appointed by God’s providence, when this great work was to be consummated, had now come. Mary, in the divine counsels, is destined to be the mother of the Saviour. The celestial messenger appears to bring this message to her, and to obtain her consent. God desired that Mary should voluntarily cooperate in the redemption.

Mary cooperated in our redemption by proving herself worthy to be called to the divine motherhood, as far as this is possible for a human being. This she did by cooperating faithfully with the abundance of grace granted her by God, and thus proving herself worthy to become the mother of the Saviour. Through her virginity she rendered herself worthy according to the body, and through her most profound piety and humility according to the spirit. Both virtues stand forth most brilliantly in the annunciation of the angel. But she wished rather to forego the exalted dignity of divine motherhood, than relinquish the virginity which she had dedicated to God. And when the highest dignity which can be bestowed upon a creature was announced to her, she called herself the handmaid of the Lord. Mary, when convinced of the will of God, humbly consented, saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.”

Through this consent Mary conferred upon the world an unspeakable great blessing, for which we should be eternally grateful to her. By this consent she became the second Eve, the spiritual first parent of the redeemed race.

The angel, recognizing in Mary his future queen, now reverently set forth in brief words all the prerogatives which God had granted her, and was about to bestow upon her. These prerogatives are: (1) the fulness of grace which God had already granted unto her; (2) the dignity of mother of God which He now granted her, and, finally (3), the veneration and glorification which on account of this fulness of grace and this dignity she would partake of in heaven and earth.

The first privilege, fulness of grace, which she had received from God, the angel expressed with the words “full of grace.” These words mean: thou art filled with all the divine graces in a measure possible to no other creature; thou hast received to the full all graces. As God will exalt thee to a dignity beyond that of the most exalted spirits of heaven, so He has granted you more and greater graces than even to the Seraphim and Cherubim. Now since thou hast cooperated in a perfect manner with all these graces, thou hast become the most virtuous, the holiest, the most perfect of all creatures. Therefore, art thou worthy to become the mother of the Most High.

Mary’s second privilege which the angel mentioned was her elevation to the dignity of mother of God. “The Lord is with thee,” that is, God has bestowed upon thee every grace, and, finding thee worthy, thou art to be the mother of His Son, to cooperate in the redemption and the salvation of the world.

In the words “The Lord is with thee” is expressed the intimate relationship of Mary to God, accomplished by the Incarnation. Not merely through the fulness of His grace and love is God with her, but even according to the flesh God is intimately united to her.

Mary’s third privilege announced by the angel is the exalted veneration which she merits for her dignity and sanctity. The angel expresses this in the words “Blessed art thou among women.” The angel had reference to the promise given by God in Paradise, that there would come a woman who should crush the serpent’s head. He had in mind also the renowned women of the old law who had rescued the people of God from peril and oppression, and who were for this reason blessed by the people, such as Judith and Esther. These heroic women were glorious prototypes, pointing to Mary who was to crush the serpent’s head, to destroy the designs of Lucifer, and to save the human race from destruction. Yes, truly, Mary is blessed by God among all women, and is herself an infinite blessing for the entire world. The Lord hath done great things in her. She realized this herself, in those prophetic words, “Behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, for He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His name.” And so it has been, and ever will be, as long as the sun illumines the earth. For more than nineteen centuries the people and nations have joyfully repeated the angel’s words, “Blessed art thou among women.” By precept of the Church we add the words “and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus,” in order to join to our praise of Mary that of Jesus, from whom and on whose account she received all her privileges, and for whose sake she receives all this praise.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.


Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
PRAYER
.

Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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