The Hail Mary 

373. EFFICACY OF THE HAIL MARY.-----In the year 1604 there were in the city of Flanders two young students who, instead of attending to the acquisition of learning, sought only the indulgence of the appetite and the gratification of their unchaste passions. One night they went to a house of ill-fame; after some time, one of them, called Richard, returned home, and the other remained.

After having reached his house, Richard, while undressing to go to bed, remembered that he had not said the Hail Marys which he was accustomed to recite every day in honor of the Blessed Virgin. Being oppressed with sleep, he felt a great repugnance to say them; however, he did violence to himself and recited the usual Hail Marys, without devotion, and half asleep. He went to bed, and during his sleep, he saw before him his companion, presenting a deformed and hideous appearance. "Who are you?" said Richard. "Do you not know me?" replied the other. "How," rejoined Richard, "have you undergone such a change? You look like a demon." "Ah I unhappy me," exclaimed the other, "I am damned. In leaving that infamous house I was strangled. My body lies in the street, and my soul is in Hell. Know that the same chastisement awaited you, but the Blessed Virgin, on account of your little devotion of reciting the Hail Marys, has saved you from it." Richard, shedding a torrent of tears, fell prostrate on the ground, to thank Mary, his deliverer, and resolved on a change of life for the future.-----S. AIphonsus

  374. S. ALPHONSUS AND THE HAIL MARY.-----S. Alphonsus called the Hail Mary the delicious word of the Saints. He never experienced pleasure equal to that he felt when saying this prayer; and in reciting it at the beginning of the Office, he often shed sweet tears of joy, and in his sermons constantly spoke of its power to his audience.-----Catechisme en Exemples

<>376. S. EDMUND AND THE HAIL MARY.-----<>S. Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, had been brought up with a great devotion to the Most Holy Virgin. When sending him to Paris to make his studies, his mother recommended him never to let a day pass without having recourse to his Divine protectress. That virtuous mother often wrote to him to avoid bad company, and to frequent the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist; often, too, she sent him instruments of penance, to repress, she said, the bad inclinations that might injure his virtue. The holy young man, docile to the counsels of his mother, always showed himself most zealous for the glory of Mary. He went several times a day to prostrate himself before one of her statues; and to mark his engagement in the service of the Queen of Angels, he placed on the finger of one of her statues a ring, on which he had caused to be engraved the whole of the Angelical Salutation. You shall see how agreeable that devotion, so sincere, and so persevering, was to the Blessed Virgin. After the death of the blessed Edmund, it was remarked that the same prayer was engraved on his episcopal ring, to which that prayer communicated a virtue so efficacious and miraculous, that it was subsequently used to operate a great number of cures. If we do not engrave the words of the Hail Mary on a ring, let us engrave them on our hearts, and that will be still better.-----<>Noël

    377. S. TERESA'S DEVOTION.-----S. Teresa was blessed with a good and virtuous mother, who taught her early to love the Blessed Virgin. She was not quite twelve years old when her mother died, and Teresa was almost inconsolable at her loss. In the midst of her affliction she threw herself before an image of Our Lady, and begged her, with many tears, now that her earthly mother was taken from her, to be a Mother to her in her stead. This act, performed in all the fervor and simplicity of childhood, drew upon the young Teresa the special love and protection of Mary; and the Saint assures us that she never recommended herself to her Heavenly Mother without experiencing help and relief.------Her Life: Oct. 15

  378. "MARY, HELP ME!"-----A young man, who had many times fallen into grievous mortal sin, went to confession to a certain priest. The good priest was greatly affected on learning that he had fallen so often. But to encourage him he said: "My child, I will tell you an easy means of overcoming the temptations to which you have so often yielded; if you do what I tell you, you will never fall again," "O my Father," he replied, "tell me what it is, for with my whole heart do I desire to overcome these evil habits." "Place yourself entirely under the protection of the Blessed Virgin," said the priest, "say a Hail Mary every morning and evening in honor of her immaculate purity, and whenever you are tempted to do evil, say to her at once, 'O Mary, help me, for I am thine.' " The young man followed this advice, and in a short time was entirely delivered from his evil habits.-----Chisholm

  380. S. FRANCIS DE SALES.-----S. Francis de Sales, as we read in his life, experienced the efficacy of the prayer: "Remember, O most pious Virgin." At the age of seventeen he was in Paris, pursuing his studies, and entirely consecrated to the exercises of devotion and to the Divine love, which filled his soul with the sweet delights of Paradise. To try his fidelity and to unite him more closely to His love, the Lord permitted the devil to represent to him that he was doomed to perdition, and that therefore all his good works were lost. His fears and desolation became so great that he lost his appetite, his sleep, the joy of his soul, and became an object of compassion to all who beheld him. During this frightful tempest, the Saint could conceive no thought, could utter no words, but those of diffidence and sorrow. "Then," he would say, "shall I be deprived of the grace of God, Who has hitherto shown Himself so amiable and so sweet to me?" The temptation lasted a month; but at length the Lord was pleased to deliver him from it by means of the Most Holy Mary, the comfort of the afflicted, under whose protection the Saint had already made a vow of chastity, and in whom, after God, he used to say, he had placed all his hopes. During the temptation, he one evening entered a church, in which he saw hanging on the wall a tablet, on which he read the following prayer of S. Bernard: "Remember, O most pious Virgin, that it has never been heard that anyone who had recourse to Thy protection was abandoned." Prostrate before the altar of the Divine Mother, he recited this prayer with tender affection-----he renewed his vow of chastity-----promised every day to recite the Rosary, and then added: "My Mother, if I shall not be permitted to love my Lord in the next world, at least obtain for me the grace to love Him in this life." But scarcely was his prayer finished, when his most sweet Mother delivered him from the temptation. He instantly recovered his inward peace, and with it bodily health, and he afterwards continued to live most devoted to Mary, whose praises and favors he never ceased during his whole life to proclaim in his sermons and writings.-----His Life: Jan. 29

  381. S. BRIDGET'S REVELATION.-----S. Bridget had a son who followed the profession of a soldier and died in the wars. Having news of his death, she was much concerned for the salvation of her son, dying under such dangerous circumstances. As she was often favored by God with revelations, of which she has composed a book, she was assured of the salvation of her son by two subsequent revelations. In the first, the Blessed Virgin revealed to her that she had assisted her son with a particular protection at the hour of death, having strengthened him against temptation and obtained all necessary graces for him to make a holy and happy end. In the following, she declared the cause of that singular assistance she gave her son, and said that it was in recompense of the great and sincere devotion he had testified during his life, wherein he had loved her with a very ardent affection and had endeavored to please her in all things.-----Revelations ot S. Bridget

  382. THE CRIMINAL AND THE HAIL MARY.-----A man condemned to death, in Germany, refused to hear speak of confession. A Jesuit Father employed all manner of means to convert him: prayers, tears, penances, exhortations-----but to no effect. At length he said to him: "Let us say the Hail Mary together." The prisoner, to get rid of his visitor, consented, and no sooner had he done so than tears began to fall from his eyes, he made his confession, full of contrition and humility, and would only die with a statue of Our Lady in his hands.-----Catechisme en Exemples

   383. THE COUNCIL OF EPHESUS.-----To refute and condemn the errors of Nestorius, who denied the Divine maternity of Mary, the Council of Ephesus was held in the year 431. The population of the town and neighborhood betook themselves to the square in front of the church where the Council was being held, and there they remained nearly the whole day, impatient to learn the results. When at length, in the evening, it became known that Nestorius was condemned and anathematized, and that the doctrine of the Church formally declared Mary to be the Mother of God, the enthusiasm of the multitude was unbounded-----they cried out aloud: "Mary is indeed the Mother of God; Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!" It was already dark, and the men lit torches to take to their homes the Fathers of the Council. The whole town was illuminated, and signs of true faith and joy were everywhere visible, as proof of their love and devotion to Mary.-----Tillemont