Our Morning Offering – 28 September – The Memorial of St Simón de Rojas O.SS. (1552-1624) known as “Father Ave Maria” and the “Apostle of the Ave Maria”
The Hail Mary/Ave Maria
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.
Áve María, grátia pléna,
Benedícta tū in muliéribus,
et benedíctus frúctus véntris túi, Iésus.
Sáncta María, Máter Déi,
óra pro nóbis peccatóribus,
nunc et in hóra mórtis nóstrae. Ámen.
Our petitionary payer to the Holy Mother of God, was commonly added to the prayers of the Church, around the time of the Council of Trent. The Dutch Jesuit, St Petrus Canisius (1521-1597) Doctor of the Church, is credited with adding in 1555 in his Catechism the sentence:
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death,
Eleven years later, the sentence was included in the Catechism of the Council of Trent of 1566. The “Catechism of the Council of Trent” says that to the first part of the Hail Mary, by which “we render to God the highest praise and return Him most gracious thanks, because He has bestowed all His heavenly gifts on the most holy Virgin … the Church of God has wisely added prayers and an invocation addressed to the most holy Mother of God … we should earnestly implore her help and assistance, for that she possesses exalted merits with God and that she is most desirous to assist us by her prayers, no one can doubt without impiety and wickedness.”
The Hail Mary is the central part of the Angelus, a devotion generally recited thrice daily by Catholics, at 06.00, 12.00 and 18.00.
On account of its connection with the Angelus, the Ave Maria was often inscribed on bells.
The Hail Mary is the essential element of the Rosary, of course, for those followers who are not yet Catholics:
The Rosary consists traditionally of three sets of five Mysteries, each mystery consisting of one “decade” or ten Ave Marias. The 150 Ave Marias of the Rosary thus echo the 150 psalms. These meditate upon events of Jesus’ life during his childhood (Joyful Mysteries), Passion (Sorrowful Mysteries), and from his Resurrection onwards (Glorious Mysteries). Another set, the Luminous Mysteries, is of comparatively recent origin, having been proposed by St Pope John Paul II in 2002.
Each of these Mysteries is prayed as a decade (a unit of ten), consisting of one Our Father (Pater Noster or The Lord’s Prayer), ten Hail Marys, and one ‘Glory Be’ (Gloria Patri) (Doxology) and the Fatima Prayer “O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”
The restatement of the prayers locks one into fixed language, having the effect of freeing the conscious mind so that the recitation may come more from the heart and not the head.
Pope Paul V (1550-1621) said that “the Rosary is a treasure of graces … Even for those souls who pray without meditating, the simple act of taking the beads in hand to pray is already a remembrance of God – of the supernatural”.