The Glories Of Mary
by ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
DEVOTION I. OF THE "HAIL MARY"
THIS angelical salutation is very pleasing to the most holy Virgin, for it seems to renew, as it were, the joy which she experienced, when St. Gabriel announced to her that she was made mother of God; and therefore we should often salute her with the "Hail Mary." Salute her with the angelical salutation, says Thomas À Kempis, for gladly does she hear this sound. The divine mother herself said to St. Matilda, that no one could better salute her than with the "Hail Mary." He who salutes Mary will also be saluted by her. St. Bernard heard himself once audibly saluted from a statue of the Virgin, which said to him, Hail Bernard: "Ave Bernarde." And the salutation of Mary, says St. Bonaventure, will be some grace, whereby she always responds to those who salute her. And Richard adds: If any one comes to the mother of our Lord saying, "Hail Mary," could she deny him the favor he asks? Mary her self promised St. Gertrude help in death for every Hail Mary she said. The blessed Alanus asserts, that as all heaven rejoices when "Hail Mary" is said, so the devil trembles and flees: "Caelum gaudet, Satan fugit, cum dico, Ave Maria." Which Thomas À Kempis also confirms, for a devil who once appeared to him suddenly fled at hearing the "Hail Mary."
The practise of this devotion is:
1st. To say every morning on rising, and every evening on going to bed, three "Hail Marys," prostrate, or at least kneeling, adding at each that short prayer: "By thy pure and immaculate conception, Oh, Mary! make my body pure, and my soul holy." To ask the blessing of Mary as our mother, as St. Stanislas always did, and place ourselves under the mantle of our Lady, praying her that during the following day or night she may keep us from sin. And it is a great help to this, to keep near the bed a beautiful image of the Virgin.
2d. To say the Angelas, &c., with the three "Hail Marys," as usual, in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. John XXII. was the first Pope who attached an indulgence to this devotion, on the occasion, as Father Oaseet relates, when a criminal who was condemned to be burned, by invoking Mary on the Vigil of her Annunciation remained uninjured, even to his garments, in the midst of the flames. Benedict XIII. at length granted a hundred days, indulgence to those who recite it, and at the end of the month a plenary indulgence, having made their confession and received holy communion. Father Crasset also states that there have been other indulgences granted by Clement X. to those who at the end of each "Hail Mary" add: Thanks be to God and Mary: "Deo gratias et Mariae." Formerly, at the sound of the bell, every one knelt to say the Angelus; now some are ashamed to do so; but St. Charles Borromeo was not ashamed to descend from his carriage or horse, to recite it in the street, and sometimes in the mud. It is related that a certain indolent religious, who would not kneel at the signal for the "Hail Mary," saw the belfry bow three times, and a voice spoke from it which said: Behold, thou wilt not do what even senseless creatures do. Let it be remembered, that as Benedict XIV. directed, in the Paschal season, instead of the Angelus the "Regina Coeli" is said. And from Vespers on Saturday,through the whole of Sunday, the Angelus Domini is said standing.
3d. To salute the mother of God with a "Hail Mary," every time the clock strikes. Alphonsus Rodriguez saluted Mary every hour, and in the night when the hour came, the angels awoke him, that he might not omit his devotion.
4th. On quitting or entering the house, to salute the Virgin with a "Hail Mary," that at home and abroad she may protect us from sin, and to kiss her feet as the Carthusian Fathers are accustomed to do.
5th. To pay reverence with a "Hail Mary" to every image of Mary which we meet, and let every one who can do so, place some beautiful image of the Virgin in a niche in the walls of his house, that it may be honored by those who are passing by. In Naples, and still more in Rome, there are very beautiful images of our Lady, by the way side, placed there by her devout servants.
6th. The holy Church directs that the angelical salutation be prefixed to all the canonical hours of the office, and that the office should terminate with it; hence it is well, at the beginning and end of every action, always to say a "Hail Mary;" I say of every action, whether it be spiritual, as prayer, confession, communion, spiritual reading, hearing a sermon, &c., or temporal, as study, giving counsel, labor, going to table, to bed, &c. Happy are those actions that are enclosed be tween two "Hail Marys!" And thus also on awaking in the morning, on closing the eyes to sleep, in every temptation and peril, in every burst of anger, &c., say always a "Hail Mary." My dear reader, practise this, and you will see the advantage to be drawn from it; remembering that for every "Hail Mary" there are twenty days indulgence. Moreover, Father Auriemma relates, that the blessed Virgin promised St. Matilda a good death, if she recited every day three "Hail Marys" in honor of her power, wisdom, and goodness. And she also said to the blessed Jane of France, that the "Hail Mary" was very pleasing to her, especially when said ten times in honor of her ten virtues. Many indulgences are also attached to these ten "Hail Marys."