The Holy Rosary

The Hail Mary

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary

Images (*)   The Our Father

This "angelic salutation," as it is called, is very pleasing to the Blessed Virgin. Whenever she hears it, it seems to renew in her the joy felt when Saint Gabriel announced that she was to be the Mother of God. That is why we should frequently recite the Hail Mary. "Greet her with the angelic salutation," says Thomas à Kempis, "for it makes her very happy to hear that prayer." Our Lady revealed to Saint Matilda that no one could greet her in a more pleasing way than by reciting the Hail Mary. Those who greet Mary will also be greeted by her. Saint Bernard once heard a statue of Mary address him with the words: "Hail, Bernard." Mary's greeting, says Saint Bonaventure, will always take the form of some grace corresponding to the needs of the person who greets her: "She gladly salutes us with grace, if we joyfully salute her with the Hail Mary." Richard of Saint Lawrence adds: "If we greet the Mother of Our Lord and say 'Hail, Mary,' she cannot refuse the grace we ask." Mary herself promised Saint Gertrude as many graces at death as she had said Hail Marys. Blessed Alanus maintains that "just as all heaven rejoices when a Hail Mary is said so the devils tremble and flee." Thomas à Kempis reports that this is so on the basis of his own experience. He says that one day a devil appeared to him but fled instantly when he heard the Hail Mary.

We can practice this devotion in the following ways:

1) Every morning when we rise and every evening when we retire, we ought to say three Hail Marys. To each Hail Mary we should add the following short prayer: "By virtue of your Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy." Then, like Saint Stanislaus, we should ask for Mary's blessing, since she is our Mother. Placing ourselves under her protection, we should implore her to guard us from sin during the coming day or night. For this purpose, it is advisable to have a picture of the Blessed Virgin near our bed.

2) We can say the Angelus with the usual three Hail Marys in the morning, at noon, and in the evening.

3) It is well to greet Our Lady with a Hail Mary whenever we hear the clock strike.

4) Whenever we leave the house or return, we can greet Mary with a Hail Mary, so that she will preserve us from sin both at home and while we are away.

5) We should reverence every statue of Mary we pass by, saying a Hail Mary. For this purpose, those who can afford to do so should have a statue of the Blessed Virgin in their homes, so that all who come there may venerate her.

6) We should begin and end all our actions with a Hail Mary. I say all our actions, whether spiritual or temporal. Very meritorious are the acts that are enclosed within two Hail Marys. We should also do this on waking in the morning, on closing our eyes before going to sleep, whenever we are tempted, or in danger. On such occasions, we should always say a Hail Mary.

My dear reader, do this and you will see what immense advantages will come to you.