Fifth Practice. Those who adopt this slavery
ought also to have a great devotion to
saying the Hail Mary (the Angelical Salutation).
Few Christians, however enlightened, know the
real price [value], merit, excellence, and necessity of
the Hail Mary.
It was necessary for the Blessed
Virgin to appear several times to great and enlightened
Saints, to show them the merit of it.
She did so to St. Dominic, St. John Capistran,
and the Blessed Alan de la Roche. They have
composed entire works on the wonders and efficacy
of that prayer for converting souls. They
have loudly published and openly preached that,
salvation having begun with the Hail Mary, the
salvation of each one of us in particular is attached
to that prayer. They tell us that it is that prayer
which made the dry and barren earth bring
forth the fruit of life ; and that it is that prayer
well said which makes the Word of God germinate
in our souls, and bring forth Jesus Christ,
the Fruit of life. They tell us that the Ave Maria
is a heavenly dew for watering the earth, which
is the soul, to make it bring forth its fruit in
season ; and that a soul which is not watered by
that prayer bears no fruit, and brings forth only
thorns and brambles, and is ready to be cursed.
On the contrary
it is an equally universal experience, that those
who have otherwise great marks of predestination
about them love and relish the Hail Mary,
and delight in saying it. We always see the
more a man is for God, the more he likes that
prayer. This is what our Lady said also to the
Blessed Alan, after the words which I have recently
quoted. I do not know how it is, nor
why, but nevertheless I well know that it is
true ; nor have I any better secret of knowing
whether a person is for God than to examine
if he likes to say the Hail Mary and the Rosary.
I say, if he likes; for it may happen that a person
may be under some natural inability to say it, or
even a supernatural one; yet nevertheless he likes
it always, and always inspires the same liking
into others. O predestinate souls ! slaves of Jesus
in Mary ! learn that the Hail Mary is the most
beautiful of all prayers after the Our Father.
It is the most perfect compliment which you
can make to Mary, because it is the compliment
which the Most High sent her by an archangel,
in order to gain her heart ; and it was so powerful
over her heart by the secret charms of which
it is so full, that in spite of her profound humility,
she gave her consent to the Incarnation of the
Word. It is by this compliment also that you will
infallibly gain her heart, if you say it as you ought.