Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Do not be quick to assume that March 25 is the singular commemoration of the Annunciation, even though this Feast is listed only one time in the calendar.

The Angelus Domini, shortened to "the Angelus," is the ringing of the church bell -- in three groups of three chimes with a pause in between each group, followed by 9 consecutive strokes -- at 6AM, Noon, and 6PM roughly, and its associated prayers, which spring from the monastic practice of praying the tres orationes at Matins, Prime and Compline. While the monastics said their prayers at the sound of the Angelus Bell, the faithful would stop what they were doing and say 3 Hail Marys in honor of the Incarnation. Later, since at least A.D. 1612, verses were added to these Hail Marys such that we get the form of the Angelus we have today.

Fr. Martin had some problems with the second half of the Ave Maria; but I present the following in English and in Latin. I also direct your attention to Fish Eaters.com who have more information concerning the Angelus.

The Angelus Prayers (Edited)

(3 bells)

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And dhe conceived of the Holy Spirit.

All. Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed it the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.


V.Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

(3 bells)

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

(3 bells)

V. Let us pray: Pour Thy grace into our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as we have known the Incartation of Thy Son by the message of an Angel, so by His cross and passion we mey come to the fulnes of His Resurrection: through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord,... Amen.

(9 bells)

A note concerning the ringing of the bell:
Although the rubric indicates that the bell concluding the Angelus is struck 9 times, I recall that at St. Augustine's House (Lutheran) the final bell was struck 33 times to mark the years of Our Lord's life among men.

So, you see that the Annunciation is not a singular, annual, commemoration; but that it has been and is commomemorated a minimum of 945 times each year.

And, in spite of the web site lamenting that the Angelus is not commonly rung these days, I hear the Angelus bell of a neighborhood Roman parish ringing three times each day.

Blessed is Mary's Virgin womb, that bore the Son of the Eternal Father; and blessed are the breasts that nursed Christ, Our Lord

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