|"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee; blessed art Thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus."
"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
Is it not sad that though millions of Catholics are daily saying the Hail Mary, many of them say it so badly.
They repeat it hastily not even thinking on the words they are saying.
They thus deprive God's Mother of the great joy they could so easily give Her and deprive themselves of the wondrous graces that She wishes to give them.
One Hail Mary well said fills the heart of Our Lady with delight and obtains for us indescribably great graces. One Hail Mary well said gives us more graces than a thousand badly said.
IS IT HARD to say the Hail Mary well? Nothing is easier. All we have to do is to know its value and understand its beauties.
ST. JEROME tells us that "the beauties contained in the Hail Mary are so sublime, so wonderful that no man or angel could fully understand them."
The Hail Mary is like a mine of gold that we can always take from but never exhaust.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, the Prince of Theologians, "the wisest of saints and the holiest of wise men," as Leo XIII called him, preached for 40 days in Rome on the Hail Mary, filling his hearers with rapture.
FATHER SUAREZ, the holy and learned Jesuit, declared when dying that he would willingly give all the many learned books he wrote, all his life's labors, for the merit of one Hail Mary.
How well this great man understood the priceless value of this beautiful little prayer which is so little understood by many Catholics.
ST. MECHTILDE was one day striving to compose a beautiful prayer in honor of God's Mother. Our Lady appeared to her, saying to the saint: "Desist, dear Child, from your labor, for no prayer you could possibly make would give Me the joy and delight of the Hail Mary."
A PIOUS CATHOLIC was wont to find joy in saying slowly the Hail Mary. The Blessed Virgin in return appeared to him smiling and announced to him the day and hour that he should die, granting him a most holy and happy death.
After death a beautiful white lily grew from his mouth, having written on its petals: Hail Mary.
CESARIUS recounts a similar incident. A humble but holy lay-brother lived in the monastery. His poor mind and memory were so weak that he could only repeat one prayer, which was the "Hail Mary." After death a tree grew over his grave and on all its leaves was written: "Hail Mary."
These facts, and many others like them, show us clearly how much Our Lady is pleased when we say the Hail Mary well.
FATHER GARRIGOU-LAGRANGE, who taught Pope John Paul II when he was a young priest, in his classic book, The Mother of the Savior, tells us how the preaching of St. Dominic became fruitful through the power of the Hail Mary. The Albigensian heresy ravaged the Church in the south of France. It denied the infinite goodness and omnipotence of God, and most of the great truths of our Faith. Inspired by Our Blessed Lady, St. Dominic used a new kind of preaching until then unknown. Under Her guidance he went into the villages of the heretics and preached to them the mysteries of Salvation — the Incarnation, the Redemption, Eternal Life. After each short instruction he had ten Hail Mary's recited — somewhat as might happen today at a Holy Hour. What the work of the preacher was unable to do the sweet prayer of the Hail Mary did for hearts. As Mary had promised, it proved to be a most fruitful form of prayer.
Why Has the Hail Mary Such Value?
EACH TIME that we say the Hail Mary we are repeating the very same words with which St. Gabriel the Archangel saluted Mary on the day of the Annunciation, when She was made Mother of God and Queen of Heaven.
Oceans of graces and joys filled the soul of Mary at that moment.
Now when we say the Hail Mary we offer anew all these graces and joys to Our Lady and She accepts them with immense delight.
In return She gives us a share, but a great share in these joys.
Once Our Lord asked St. Francis to give Him something. The Saint replied, "Dear Lord I can give You nothing for I have already given you all, all my love."
Jesus smiled and said, "Francis give me it all again and again it will give Me the same pleasure."
So with our dearest Mother. She accepts from us each time we say the Hail Mary the joys and delight She received from the words of St. Gabriel.
LET US REMEMBER …that Almighty God gave His Blessed Mother all the dignity, greatness and holiness necessary to make Her His own most perfect Mother.
But He also gave Her all the sweetness, love, tenderness and affection necessary to make Her Our most loving Mother.
All the love of the Mothers of this Earth is nothing in comparison to the love, tenderness and affection of Mary for EACH ONE OF US!
Mary is truly and really our Mother!
As children when in trouble run to their Mothers for help so ought we to run at once with unbounded confidence to Mary.
St. Bernard and all the saints say that it was never, never heard at any time or in any place that Mary refused to hear the prayers of Her children on Earth.
Oh! Why do not we Catholics realize this most consoling truth? Why refuse the love and consolation that God's Sweet Mother is offering us?
It is lamentable ignorance which deprives us of such help and consolation.
To love and trust Mary is to be happy on Earth and to be happy in Heaven.
How to Honor Mary
We can show our love for Mary and win Her love and protection by simply saying the Hail Mary well.
The Power of the Hail Mary
Dr. Hugh Lammer was a staunch Protestant, with strong Protestant feelings and instincts.
One day he found an explanation of the Hail Mary and read it. He was so charmed with it that he began to say it daily. Insensibly all his anti-Catholic animosity began to disappear.
He became a Catholic, a holy priest and a professor of Catholic Theology in Breslau.
A PRIEST was called to the bedside of a wretched sinner, who was dying in black despair.
He refused obstinately to go to confession.
As a last recourse the priest asked him to say at least the Hail Mary, after which the poor man made a sincere confession and died a holy death.
IN ENGLAND a Parish Priest was asked to go and see a Protestant lady who was gravely ill. She wished to become a Catholic.
Asked if she had ever entered a Catholic Church, or if she had spoken to Catholics, or if she had read Catholic books? She replied: No. No.
All she could remember was that when a child she had learned from a little Catholic girl the Hail Mary, which she said every night.
She was baptized and before dying she converted her husband and children.
ST. GERTRUDE tells us that when we thank God for the grace He has given to any Saint we get a great share of these graces.
What graces then do we not receive when we say the Hail Mary thanking God for all the unspeakable graces He has given His Blessed Mother.
• Each Hail Mary well said gives the greatest joy to Our Lady.
• Each Hail Mary obtains for us wondrous graces.
• One Hail Mary well said is worth 1000 badly said. What graces then shall we not receive if we say all our Hail Mary's well!
• All that we have to do in order to say the Hail Mary well is to remember that we are offering to Our Sweet Mother the very same joys that St. Gabriel offered Her at the great moment when She was made Mother of God.
• In return let us ask Her fervently, when saying the Holy Mary, to pray for us NOW, that is, during our lives and at the HOUR OF OUR DEATH. Our sweet Mother will give us happy lives and holy deaths.
• Let us offer our Hail Mary's in union with St. Gabriel and all the millions of Hail Mary's being said all over the world.