One of the greatest means of salvation, and one of the surest signs of predestination, is, unquestionably, the devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin. All the holy doctors of the Church are unanimous in saying with St. Alphonsus of Liguori: “A devout servant of Mary shall never perish.”
The chief thing is to persevere faithfully till death in this devotion.
Can there be an easier or a more adaptable practice for all than the recitation each day of three Hail Mary’s in honor of the privileges conferred by the Adorable Trinity on the Blessed Virgin?
One of the first to say the three Hail Mary’s and to recommend them to others was the illustrious St. Anthony of Padua. His special aim in this practice was to honor the spotless Virginity of Mary and to preserve a perfect purity of mind, heart and body in the midst of the dangers of the world. Many, like him, have felt its salutary effects.
Later on, St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, the celebrated missionary, had the three Hail Mary’s recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or night; moreover, he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice.
After the example of those two great Franciscan Saints, St. Alphonsus of Liguori adopted this pious practice and gave it his most ardent and powerful support. He counseled its use and even imposed it as a penance on those who had not adopted this good habit.
The holy Doctor exhorts, in particular, parents and confessors to watch carefully that children be faithful in reciting each day their three Hail Mary’s, morning and evening. Or rather, like St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, he earnestly recommends it to all, “to the devout and to sinners, to the young and old.”
Even persons consecrated to God will derive from this practice much precious and salutary fruit. Numerous examples may show how agreeable the three Hail Mary’s are to the Divine Mother and what special graces they draw, during life and at the hour of death, on those who never omit them for a single day.
This practice has been revealed to St. Melchtilde (13th Century) with the promise of a good death, if she was faithful to it, every day.
It is written, also, in St. Gertrude’s revelations: “While this Saint sang the Hail Mary, at the matins of the Annunciation, she suddenly saw spring out from the Heart of the Father and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, three bright flames which penetrated the Heart of the Holy Virgin.” Then she heard the following words: “After the Power of the Father, the Wisdom of the Son and the merciful Tenderness of the Holy Spirit, nothing approaches the Power, the Wisdom and the merciful Tenderness of Mary.”
His Holiness Benedict XV has raised the Confraternity of the Three Hail Mary’s to an Archconfraternity by according it precious indulgences with the power to aggregate to itself all Confraternities of the same kind, and to communicate them its own indulgences.
Practice: Recite, morning and evening, three Hail Mary’s in honor of the three great privileges, with this invocation at the end: for the morning: “O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this day,” for the evening: “O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this night.”
(Indulgences of 200 days granted by Leo XIII, 300 days for the members of the Archconfraternity of the Three Hail Mary’s by Benedict XV, and Apostolic Benediction by Pius X.)
TO OUR LADY OF THE BLESSED TRINITY ACT OF CONSECRATION
With all my heart I praise Thee, Most Holy Virgin above all angels and saints in Paradise, Daughter of the Eternal Father, and I consecrate to Thee my soul with all its faculties.
With all my heart I praise Thee, Most Holy Virgin above all angels and saints in Paradise, beloved Mother of the Son of God. I consecrate to Thee my body with all its senses.
With all my heart I praise Thee, Most Holy Virgin above all angels and saints in Paradise, beloved Spouse of the Holy Ghost, I consecrate to Thee my heart, with all its affections and beseech Thee to obtain for me from the Most Holy Trinity all the graces necessary for salvation.
*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee! Blessed art Thou among 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
Imprimatur: February 7, 1963
†FRANCIS CARDINAL SPELLMAN
Archbishop of New York