The Blessings of Mary
Taken from A GARLAND FOR OUR LADY
Irish Ursulines, 1920 with IMPRIMATUR
The Ringing of the Angelus
Three times a day, the solemn sound of the Angelus, echoing throughout Christendom, recalls to all faithful Catholics the thought of God's Holy Mother, and the great mystery of the Incarnation; for we may say with truth, that the Angelus is a compendium of the grandest mysteries of our Faith, and that it re-awakens in our hearts a sense of wonder and gratitude, for that infinite act of Divine Love, which was announced by the Angel to the Virgin at Nazareth.
In Catholic countries, where the simplicity and devotion of former times may yet be seen, the people naturally uncover their heads and kneel down at the first sound of the Angelus. In Italy, in France, in Spain, in Ireland, this pious custom has always been preserved, and the following story is only one of the many proofs, of how much our Lady values it: ------
"After the defeat of Don Carlos, the famous Pretender to the Spanish Throne, many of his followers were taken prisoners, among others Don Zavala, the most faithful of all his adherents. In course of time Don Zavala was brought before a court-martial to be tried for high treason, and after a very short sitting he was sentenced to death. He heard his fate with the utmost calm, and merely asked when the sentence would be carried out. 'This evening, half an hour before the Angelus,' was the reply. Don Zavala bowed his assent, and having asked for a Confessor, spent the interval in preparing for death. In the evening the guard arrived to lead him to the place of execution; he was quiet and composed, and passed apparently unmoved through the crowd of spectators who had assembled to see the famous Carlist die. Meantime the soldiers arranged themselves in single file, awaiting the order to fire.
" 'Present arms,' cried the officer. Immediately every gun was raised. There was a moment of awful silence, the onlookers held their breath, when suddenly the Angelus bell rang out loud and clear. Instinctively, every man dropped on his knees with head uncovered. Don Zavala also knelt, and commended himself once again to the Mother of the God Who had redeemed him. Doubtless too, many a one in the kneeling crowd offered their prayer for him who in another minute would be standing before a heavenly tribunal. But it was not to be, Providence had otherwise ordained, for, as the last sound of the bell died away, an emissary rode up at full gallop, waving a white flag. The air was at once rent with shouts of delight, bursting from the immense multitude; party spirit, the desire of revenge, rancour, all these had been quelled by that unanimous recital of the Angelus. Zavala was pardoned; who his deliverer was he knew not, but he attributed the mercy bestowed on him to the intercession of Mary, the channel through whom life had been given to the whole human race."