Tuesday, September 19, 2006The Angelus
Noontime almost always passes by without me even noticing. I often look at the clock throughout the day, and if I happen to look at it within the hour of 12, I think, "darnit, missed it again!" and simply say the prayer a bit late. The hours of 6 and 12 are traditionally the hours when the Angelus is said, except during Paschal time, when the Regina Coeli is recited instead.The Angelus is an ancient prayer which reminds us of the Incarnation. In religious communities often the bell is rung and all stop whatever they are doing to say this prayer. It is a wonderful way to center your day around the miracle of our faith: when Christ became man through His handmaid, Mary of Nazareth. Although our homes are not religious communities, they are indeed similar to monasteries in the sense that they are little places of light, order, routines and schedules: a place where each individual is learning to become holy within the communal atmosphere, and serving Christ through every little act. I think it is so beautiful to imagine many people, throughout the entire world, stopping at the same time, in the middle of work, to say this little, strong prayer. -Farmers in the fields, children at their studies, a mother at her sudsy sink, a carpenter on the roof, an office person at the desk: all stop to remember this sacred event in our Faith.
Growing up one of us always had our alarm set for the noon hour. When it went off, we would all rise for the Angelus and assemble in the kitchen: pencils in hand, mom with flour and bread dough all over her hands, another with the knitting project in her hands... We'd face the painting or icon of Mary, in whatever room we were in, and say this prayer. I hope to someday do the same in my own family, but for now I need to come up with a way of remembering to do so. If I had an alarm on my hand it just might go off while I was happening to be putting the baby to sleep... Perhaps a kitchen timer would work. Either way, it's an important prayer worth trying to say daily with the family. (Another prayer which many families say daily at a certain hour is the Divine Mercy Chaplet, at the hour of 3 O'Clock, which is the hour Christ died on the cross. )
In case you do not remember or know it the Angelus, it is below. The V signifies the leader of the prayer and the R the response of the crowd or other person. After each phrase a Hail Mary is said by all.
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.Hail Mary, etc.
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.Hail Mary, etc.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.R. And dwelt among us.Hail Mary, etc.
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 Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy 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.
~Sia in Vancouver, WA