Friday, January 4, 2019

The Angelus

From Finer Femininity:
The Angelus takes its name from the first word of the Latin form of the prayer: “Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae,” which means, “The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.” That angel announced the most important news ever brought to earth. That angel spoke of the greatest fact in all history, the fact that the Son of God became man, was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. 
Mother Church wants us never to forget that fact. She wants us to think of it at least three times every day. From Catholic steeples throughout the land she calls to her children to remember prayerfully this Greatest event of all time. 
The Angelus devotion developed gradually. Most likely it began to form in the ancient monastic custom of reciting the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin.” In that office they often repeated the greeting of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary. The people began to use these words as a daily prayer. 
St. Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor, in the general chapter of the Franciscan Order in Paris in 1226, and later at Assisi, ordered the triple salutation of the Blessed Virgin, called the Angelus, to be recited every evening at 6 o’clock in honor of the incarnation. Finally, after several changes, the Angelus took the form which it has today. If you want the biblical background of this devotion and the words of this prayer, read the Gospel story as found in the first chapter of St. Luke from verse 26 to 42. From this passage the first half of the Hail Mary and the first and second versicles and their responses are taken, while the third versicle and response are from the Gospel according to St. John, 1:14. (Read more.)

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