Praying the Angelus

Post Date: June 16, 2021
Author: Laura Stephens

Even during the summer months, we can find ourselves still just as busy with life’s demands. Efforts must be given daily to keep our faith growing. There are so many ways to engage ourselves throughout the day in prayer and reflection. One such tradition of the Church is by praying the Angelus, which is a beautiful reflection on the Incarnation and Mary’s humble yes to God.

Catholics are invited to pray the Angelus at 6 am, noon and 6 pm – before the start of our day, mid-day and at the end of our day. (Yes, 6 pm really was the end of the work-day long ago before electricity since the sun was going down!).

The Three-times recitation of the Angelus calls Christianns…to interrupt the daily, earthly routines…to turn to thoughts of God, of the Blessed Mother, and of eternity…and to respond to the call of the Lord to “pray unceasingly and at all times” (Lk 18:1, 1 Thess 5:17) (Reflection Capsules)

However, all three times of the day are not required to appreciate or to recite the prayer. Maybe begin with just praying it at noon. I encourage you to set a daily alarm on your phone to help you remember to pray daily at noon…

The Angelus Prayer

V/. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,

R/. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary…

V/. Behold the handmaid of the Lord,

R/. Be it done unto me according to your Word.

Hail Mary…

V/. And the Word was made flesh,

R/. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary…

V/. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,

R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts: that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. (USCCB)

You can pray it alone quietly or with a group where there is a leader and a group that responds. No matter how or when you pray it, the Angelus prayer allows our hearts to refocus back on God and His will for our lives. As we pray to Mary, we are inviting her to guide us in humble reception of Christ into our daily lives and in allowing our lives to be a reflection of Him through the motherly touch of our Blessed Mother. Remember that I previously shared that during the Easter season the Regina Caeli (O Queen of Heaven) replaces the Angelus due to our focus on Jesus’ Resurrection. No matter what season of the Church year we are in, there is always time in our day to stop and reflect on the mysterious gifts of God’s love and salvation for each of us!

Where did the prayer come from?

While there is no one author or clear creator of the prayer, here are some of the events of history that show the development of the Angelus over the years:

  • Franciscan monks back in the 11th century began to say three Hail Marys during their prayers in the evening.
  • After their invasions of England, the Normans would ring a curfew bell in the evening. Using the means of the time even though it was not intended for prayer, the Bishop encouraged the people to use the bell ringing as a reminder to pray each night.
  • The praying of the Hail Mary three times at the start of each day began in Italy back in 1318.
  • The ringing of the bells at church at noon mid-day was begun by Pope Callisstus III in 1456 to pray three Hail Mary for peace during the Turkish invasion of Europe.
  • By the 16th century, three Hail Marys and the Scripture references with the ending prayer of the Angelus were created and used together becoming the Angelus we know today. (Reflection Capsules)

There are many other points to the progression of the prayer’s development, and you can read some of them here. (http://theangelusprayer.com/angelus-prayer-history/)

May you allow your hearts each day to be joined with Mary so as to be united with Her Son, Jesus Christ who came to Earth to dwell with us!

References:

Reflection Capsules article retrieved from https://reflectioncapsules.com/2016/06/26/catholic-cartridge-01-why-do-we-say-the-angelus-three-times-a-day/

USCCB Angelus prayer retrieved from https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/angelus

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