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A Goldmine in a Hail Mary
By Dan Valenti (Oct 19, 2011)
October is the month of harvest. Spiritually, too, October is a "harvest month," since — by Church tradition — it is the Month of the Rosary. The Rosary, as Our Lady taught at Fatima, has great power to harvest grace.
Through her apparitions to the three shepherd children, Our Lady of Fatima wanted the world to pray the Rosary. She warned of a great cataclysm if the world ignored this request. World War II could have been prevented. That's the power of this seminal Marian prayer.
The individual Hail Mary — the Rosary's main component — contains a power that's profoundly beautiful, potent, and forceful. Saint Jerome tells us that the beauty contained in one Hail Mary is so sublime that neither angel nor human being can fully understand it. He likened the Hail Marys of the Rosary to a gold mine. We can always take from it but can never exhaust the supply of its riches.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, called by Pope Leo XIII "the wisest of saints [and] the holiest of wise men," once preached for 40 days in Rome on the efficacy of the Hail Mary. He made a point of the contradiction between the Hail Mary's power and its simplicity. Saint Thomas called the Hail Mary one of the easiest to pray but so powerful that it could convey indescribably great graces.
Another great man, Fr. Francisco Suarez, a holy and learned priest, said upon his deathbed that he would willingly give all the many learned books he had written and all the labors of his life's work for the merit contained in just one Hail Mary. When Fr. Suarez didn't have enough energy to pray an entire Rosary, he prayed the Hail Mary.
As Our Lady told St. Mechtilde in an apparition as the saint struggled to compose a great prayer in honor of the Blessed Mother: "Desist, dear child, from your labor, for no prayer you could possibly make would give me the joy and delight of the Hail Mary."
To consider the individual Hail Mary is almost to take a cross-sectional slice of the Rosary, says Fr. Angelo Casimiro, MIC, who was ordained a priest July 2.
"When we say the Hail Mary," Fr. Angelo says, "we repeat the words spoken to Mary by the Angel Gabriel on the day of the Annunciation. An endless amount of grace and joy filled Our Lady's soul when Gabriel announced God's plan for her life. When we say the Hail Mary, we offer again all these graces and joys to Our Lady."
Father Angelo says he receives "great strength" from the daily Rosary that the Marian Fathers pray as part of their spirituality. He says the Hail Mary provides him with "the consoling truth" that "Mary truly is our Mother."