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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
The first Hail Mary that was said by the Archangel produced the greatest and most extraordinary of all miracles, and was the source of salvation for sinful men. Our salvation, therefore, having begun with this greeting, the salvation of each of us is particularly attached to this prayer. As it was brought by an ambassador from heaven to make the dry and barren earth produce the fruit of life, it is also this same prayer, well said, which must make Jesus Christ germinate in our souls. It is like a heavenly dew that fertilizes souls, and the soul that is not watered by it bears no fruit, but briers and thorns, and is very close to being cursed. Here is what the Blessed Virgin revealed on this subject to Blessed Alain de la Roche: “Know, My son, and make it known to all, that it is a probable and impending sign of damnation to have aversion, lukewarmness, and negligence in saying the Angelical Salutation which produced the salvation of the world.”
“I know of nothing, O Mary, said Thomas à Kempis, I know of nothing so glorious for Thee, nor so consoling for us, as the Angel’s Salutation; such is its sweetness that there are no words capable of painting it.” Another of Mary’s servants says, “It is certain that this prayer never rises to heaven without bringing back some new favor, either for the body or for the soul, for this tender Mother willingly greets us with some favor when we give Her the pleasure of greeting Her with the Hail Mary.
Mary promised St. Gertrude as many graces for the hour of her death as she had recited many times the Ave Maria. To obtain forgiveness for some impatience, the Blessed Virgin advised St. Brigid to say an Ave. And who does not know that it was also this Mother of goodness who revealed to St. Dominic that his preaching would remain sterile until he preached the Rosary? She gave him to understand the great good that this devotion was to produce, and that, as the Lord had prepared the mystery of the Incarnation by the salutation of the Angel, which was to bring about the salvation of the world, he should imitate this conduct. This great Saint actually won more souls to God by the virtue of the Hail Mary than by any other means. Indeed, nothing so prodigious, according to the historians of the time: more than one hundred thousand very fiery heretics reverted from their errors, an incredible number of converted sinners, were the first fruits of this nascent devotion.
Let us quote again these beautiful words of a Saint: “The Hail Mary well said is the enemy of the devil which it puts to flight and the hammer which crushes him; it is the sanctification of the soul, the joy of the angels, the melody of the predestined. It is the canticle of the New Testament, the joy of Mary and the glory of the Holy Trinity. The Ave Maria is a heavenly dew that makes the soul fruitful, it is a ruddy rose that is presented to Mary, it is a precious pearl that is given to Her. Finally, it is the most magnificent praise that you can give in Her honor; the secret charms with which it is full are so powerful on Her heart, that you will infallibly oblige Her to love you if you say it as you should.” Another great servant of this Immaculate Virgin bears witness to the fact that every time he says the words: Hail Mary, the world loses all its attractions in his eyes, his heart is enamored of holy love, his devotion grows, his hope increases, his joy redoubles, his whole being is renewed and strengthened in virtue.