CATHOLIC CARTRIDGE 01 – WHY DO WE SAY THE ANGELUS THREE TIMES A DAY?

To learn, revive, love and be faithful… to our Catholic Faith!

THE HISTORY
1. It is considered that in the 11th Century, the Franciscan monks had the custom of saying Three Hail Marys, along with the bell that was rung, at their Evening Prayer.

The Three Hail Marys was to honour “the immaculate Virgin Mother and to preserve a perfect purity of mind, heart and body, in the midst of the dangers that are encountered in the world”

This practise was also encouraged among the lay people, especially by St Bonaventure.

2. Another tradition also says that in the time when England was occupied by the Normans…
>> In order to control the people, the Normans rang a curfew bell at the end of each day. This was to remind the people  to put off all fires, get out of the streets and go back and retire to their homes.

While this was not aimed for prayer, nevertheless this bell got associated with the evening prayer time, which included saying the Hail Mary.
>> This practise of the bell to be rung at the close of the day, continued, even after the end of the invasion.

>> The Bishop had encouraged the people:  “We exhort you every day, when you hear three short interrupted peals of the bell, at the beginning of the curfew (or, in places where you do not hear it, at vesper time or nightfall) you say with all possible devotion, kneeling wherever you may be, the Angelic Salutation three times at each peal, so as to say it nine times in all”

3. In 1318 in Italy, there began the practise of saying the Hail Mary, on rising in the morning.
>> This habit probably came from the monks, who included the Hail Mary in the prayers they said before their workday began.

4. In 1456, Pope Calisstus III directed the ringing of church bells every day at noon and that Catholics pray three Hail Marys.
>> The Pope exhorted the faithful to use the noonday prayers to pray for peace in the context of the 15th-century invasion of Europe by the Turks.
>>The bell rung at noontime became known as the “Peace” bell

5. The Angelus became a prayer as we know today, towards the end of the 16th century…
…with three Hail Marys, and short verses in between (called versicles), ending with a prayer.
>>  It was first published in modern form in a catechism around 1560 in Venice.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS DEVOTION?
The Angelus reminds us of the Angel Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary, Mary’s Fiat, the Incarnation and Our Lord’s passion and resurrection.
>> It is repeated as a holy invitation, calling us to prayer and meditation.

image
The Annunciation, Fra Angelico, 1446, Convent of San Marco, Florence

The Angelus is said kneeling
(in symbolic of our humbleness “to welcome and accept the Will of God to take flesh in us”)
>> Pope Benedict XIV directed that the Angelus should be recited while standing on Saturday evening and all day on Sunday ( to honour and commemorate the Triumphant Resurrection of the Lord)
>> He also exhorted that, during the Easter Season, the Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) be said instead of the Angelus.

There is also the practise of focussing…
… the Angelus in the morning : On the Resurrection
… the Angelus at noon time: On the Passion
… the Angelus at evening:  On the Incarnation.

The Three-times recitation of the Angelus calls Christians…
… to interrupt the daily, earthly routines
… to turn to thoughts of God, of the Blessed Mother, and of eternity
… and to respond to the call of the Lord to “pray unceasingly and at all times” (Lk 18: 1, 1 Thess 5:17)

The Angelus is a meditation on the Bible – to recall the Salvation History
>> We meditate on the words of Mother Mary who called herself the “handmaid of the Lord”
>> We tell God that we are willing to do His Will, just as Mother Mary did
>> We invite the Lord “to take flesh” in all our actions and thoughts

PRACTICAL APPLICATION
(1) Seek to daily recite three times the Angelus – morning, noon and night (especially, if possible, as a family or a community)

(2) Thank the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – for the Salvation History and especially recall the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord and the

(3) Make an examination of the conscience – reviewing the activities done up to that moment…
(a) Thanking Him for His Graces
(b) Asking pardon for faults
(c) Resolving to do better

(4) Seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother to always say “Yes” to God’s Will

May we grow in our devotion and love for the Lord, by the faithful and prayerful recitation of the Angelus!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal MSFS
  Bengaluru, India

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