This feast is so called from the announcement to the Blessed Virgin, by the archangel Gabriel, that she was to be the mother of the Messias. In the Introit of the Mass the Church refers to this high dignity of Mary's: "All the rich shall entreat thy countenance; after her shall virgins be brought to the King; her neighbors shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. My heart hath uttered a good word, I speak my works to the King."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O God, Who didst please that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliants that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be blessed by her intercession with Thee. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Epistle: Isaias 7:10-15
In those days the Lord spoke to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil and to choose the good.
Instruction on the "Angelic Salutation" or "Hail Mary"
- Why is this prayer called the "Hail Mary" or "Angelic Salutation"?
- Because it begins with the words which the archangel Gabriel addressed to the Blessed Virgin when he announced to her that she should be the Mother of God.
- Of what does the Angelic Salutation consist?
- 1. Of the words of the archangel Gabriel. 2. Of the words of Saint Elizabeth. 3. Of words which have been added thereto by the Catholic Church.
- Which are the words of the archangel Gabriel?
- "Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women."
- What is the meaning of these words?
- The words "Hail Mary" indicate that profound veneration for the Blessed Virgin which was felt by the archangel Gabriel, and which we, in imitation of his example, ought also to cherish. The words "full of grace" remind us that God bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin greater graces than upon all men and angels together, and that not for herself alone, but for us also; they therefore encourage us to pray to Mary with fervor and confidence, that by her powerful intercession she will obtain for us the graces necessary for our salvation. "The Lord is with thee" - these words express the peculiar complacency with which God has regarded her, on account of which He wrought in her special miracles of wisdom, omnipotence, and benignity. Let us rejoice with Mary over these prerogatives, and implore her to intercede for us, that God may be with us also, to sustain us by His almightiness, to govern us by His wisdom, to incite us to all that is good by the fire of His infinite love. Finally, the words "Blessed art thou among women" are as much as to say: Thou art the happiest of all women, since thou alone of them all hast no stain of sin on thee; thou art chosen to be the Mother of God; thou shalt conceive Him by the Holy Ghost, and shalt bring Him forth without losing thy virginity. Thus it was that the angel saluted the most blessed Virgin, and yet there are men who are ashamed thus to salute Mary, and to give praise for the graces which God conferred upon her.
- Which are the words of Elizabeth, and what do they mean?
- "And blessed is the fruit of thy womb" - the word blessed is equivalent to praised. In saying these words, therefore, we desire that the fruit of Mary's womb, Jesus, may be worshipped and praised by all men.
- Which are the words which the Catholic Church has added?
- To the words "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb" she has added "Jesus," in order thereby to explain them, and to indicate that this prayer is to be offered in the name of Jesus. Thereupon follow the words, "Holy Mary, Mother of G6d" pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen."
- What do these words mean?
- With the words, "Holy Mary," we apply to her who is full of grace as our intercessor, and thereby are reminded to strive to imitate her holiness, if we would be sure of her intercession, and of being heard before God. We call her" Mother of God," because she brought forth Jesus, the Son-of God. Thereby we at the same time remind her that she is our mother also, and pray her to care for us as a mother j not as though we believed she could of herself help us, but with the design that she should offer to God her all-prevailing prayers for us j hence we sa.y, " Pray for us,;' adding, "sinners." By these words we remind Mary of our misery, al!d ourselves of our powerlessness for good, and of our guilti~ess in the sight of God, praying her to procure for us the grace of God to do true penance, to acquire virtues, and to gain true peace, and that" now," inasmuch as at every moment, and throughout our whole life, we have so many dangers to meet, so many virtues to gain; "and at the hour of our death," that we may overcome the temptations of the last de cisive hour, and stand complete victors before the throne of th~ etewal Judge. "Amen," so may it be, is, as it were, to repeat and make stronger the whole prayer.
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
At that time the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.
Salutation to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
Hail, Mary, full of grace! I rejoice, and give joy to thee, that thou hast been chosen the Mother of the Most High, and the queen of heaven and earth. With thee is the Father Who begot, from all eternity, Him Whom thou didst bring forth as God-man in time; with thee is the Son, Whom thou didst bear, in thy virginal womb; with thee is the Holy Ghost, overshadowed by Whose power thou didst become the Mother of the Redeemer of the world. Praised, therefore, be thou, thou blessed among women; thou daughter of the Most High; thou bride of the Holy Ghost; thou joy of heaven; thou ornament of the Church of God; thou honor of Christians. Oh, pray God for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
--Goffine's Devout Instructions