by Saint Louis de Montfort
MONTFORT PUBLICATIONS, New York
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1954
THE SALUTATION OF THE ROSARY IS
WORTHY OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
"The Holy Angels in Heaven salute the most Blessed Virgin with the Hail Mary----not audibly, but with their angelic intelligences. For they are fully aware that through it reparation was made for the fallen Angels' sin, God was made man and the world was renewed" (Blessed Alan).
One night when a woman Confraternity member had retired, Our Lady appeared to her and said:
"My daughter, do not be afraid of me. I am your loving Mother whom you praise so faithfully every day. Be steadfast and persevere; I want you to know that the Angelic Salutation gives me so much joy that no man could ever really explain it." (Guillaume Pepin, in Rosario aureo Sermon 47)
Saint Gertrude corroborated this in one of her visions; in her Revelations, Book IV, Chapter II, we find this story:
It was the morning of the feast of the Annunciation and the Hail Mary was of course being sung in Saint Gertrude's monastery. During the singing she had a vision in which three streams gushed forth from the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and gently flowed into Mary's virginal heart. The minute they reached her heart they bounded back to the source from where they had come.
From this Saint Gertrude learned that the Blessed Trinity has allowed Our Lady to be most powerful next to God the Father, the wisest after God the Son, and the most loving after God the Holy Ghost. She also learned that every time the Angelic Salutation is said by the faithful the three mysterious streams surround Our Lady in a mighty, swirling current and rush into her heart. After they have completely bathed her in happiness they gush back into the bosom of Almighty God. The Saints and Angels share in this abundance of joy as do the faithful on earth, who say this prayer. For the Angelic Salutation is the source of all good for God's children.
This is what Our Lady herself said to Saint Gertrude: "Never has any man composed anything more beautiful than the Hail Mary. No salutation could be dearer to my heart than those beautiful and dignified words that God the Father addressed to me Himself."
One day Our Lady said to Saint Mechtilde:
"All the Angelic Salutations that you have given me are blazoned on my cloak." (Then she held out a portion of her mantle.) "When this part of my cloak is full of Hail Marys I shall gather you up and take you into the Kingdom of my Beloved Son."
Denis the Carthusian, speaking of a vision of Our Lady to one of her clients, said:
"We should salute the most Blessed Virgin with our hearts, our lips, and our deeds, so that she will not be able to say to us:
" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.' "
Richard of Saint Laurent lists the reasons why it is good to say a Hail Mary at the beginning of a sermon:
1. The Church Militant should follow the example of Saint Gabriel who saluted Mary with great respect saying the Hail Mary, before he told her the joyous tidings: "Behold thou shalt conceive and bear a son . . ." Thus the Church salutes the Blessed Virgin before announcing the Gospel.
2. The congregation will derive more fruit from a sermon that is prefaced by the Hail Mary; the priest who gives the sermon has the Angel's role as it were. But in order that the congregation may give birth to Christ in their souls (by faith) they must first of all obtain this grace from the Blessed Virgin who gave birth to Him the first time, and together with her they will become the Mothers of the Son of God. For without Mary they cannot produce Jesus in their souls.
3. The Gospels show up the power of the Hail Mary; people will get help from Our Lady through this prayer.
4. To say it is a great safeguard and a way of avoiding, dangerous pitfalls: Mary, our Illuminatrix, gives light to preachers.
5. The members of the congregation, following Our Lady's example, listen more attentively and are more apt to remember God's words.
6. The devil (who is the enemy of the human race and of the preaching of the Gospel) is driven off by the Hail Mary. This is most necessary because, to quote Our Lord's words, there is danger of his coming to take the word of God out of people's hearts, "lest believing they might be saved."
In his first sermon on the Holy Rosary Clement Losoun says:
"After Saint Dominic had gone to Heaven devotion to the Rosary waned until it was very nearly dead, when a terrible pestilence broke out in several parts of the country. The wretched people sought the advice of a saintly hermit who lived in the desert in great austerity. They besought him to intercede to Almighty God for them. So the hermit called upon the Mother of God, imploring her, as Advocate of Sinners, to come to their aid.
"Our Lady then appeared and said: 'These people have stopped singing my praises. This is why they have been visited with such a scourge. If they will only go back to the ancient devotion of the Most Holy Rosary, they will enjoy my protection. I shall see to their salvation if only they will sing the Rosary, for I love this type of chanting.'
"So the people did what Mary asked and made themselves rosaries, which they started saying with all their heart and soul. "