Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: December 12th On the angelic salutation…

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

DECEMBER 12TH

ON THE ANGELIC SALUTATION

Consider first, that after the blessed Virgin had been prepared by the purity of her conception and by the purity of her life, by the purity of her soul and of her body, of her heart and of her mind, and of all her actions and intentions, to conceive in her sacred womb the Son of God, whom she had long before conceived in her soul – the time appointed by our Lord being now come, the Archangel Gabriel was sent to her from heaven, upon the most solemn embassage that ever was: viz., to treat with this most humble maid, concerning the great work of the incarnation of the Eternal Word, by his taking flesh of her, in order to the redemption of mankind from Satan, sin, and hell, and reconciliation with God; and in order to establishment of a new law, a new and everlasting covenant, a kingdom of heaven upon earth by grace, in favour of all that should embrace this grace, and an eternal kingdom for them hereafter in glory. But give ear now, my soul, to the angel’s address, and mark every work of it. The angel being come in, said to her: ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women,’ Luke I. 28. He greeted her with the word Ave or Hail, a word of salutation or congratulation with her, for all that God had done and was about to do in her favour, and for his choosing her to be the happy instrument that should give birth to the source of all our good. O let heaven and earth join in this Ave of salutation and congratulation! as all heaven and earth are highly interested in the issue of this most sacred negotiation, which is to bring us innumerable benefits, both for time and eternity, by the incarnation of the Son of God! and see, my soul, thou never forget to testify thy grateful sense of the share designed for thee in these graces and benedictions, by daily joining with suitable devotion in this holy salutation and congratulation, as often as thou repeatest the Ave Maria

Consider 2ndly, how the angel, in his salutation, styles the blessed Virgin ‘full of grace,’ signify the supereminent degree of divine grace to which God elevated her soul, to prepare her to be the mother of his Son. For she was full of all that habitual grace which justifies and sanctifies the soul; full of faith and hope; full of divine charity, in both its branches; ever loving God with her whole heart, with her whole soul, with all her mind, and with all her strength, and loving her neighbour as herself; she was full of humility, meekness, patience, obedience, and all other moral virtues; she was full of wisdom, godliness, the fear of the Lord, and all other gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit; her memory was full of holy thoughts; words, and works; her works were all full, by the purity of intention, of the fervour and love with which she performed them all. Many saints have been full of grace; but none like this queen and mother of all the saints, whose grace was proportioned to the great designs that God had upon her, and to the supereminent dignity to which she was chosen, of being mother of God. O congratulate, my soul, with the blessed Virgin, for this her fullness of grace, which went on continually increasing for the whole time of her life, by the good use she continually made of all God’s gifts; and beg through her intercession, that thou mayest, like her, faithfully correspond and diligently co-operate with every divine grace.

Consider 3rdly, how the angel adds in his salutation, ‘the Lord is with thee;’ to signify the source from which all her fullness of grace flowed, and the extraordinary manner of God’s communicating himself and all his graces to this most highly favoured of all his creatures. For our Lord was not only with the blessed Virgin by his essence, his presence, and his power, as he is with all men; not only by his sanctifying grace, as he is with all the just; but in a most extraordinary manner, by a far more eminent grace, a closer union, and a higher sanctification. And therefore the angel adds, ‘blessed art thou amongst women;’ to express the super eminence of those graces and benedictions with which she was blessed from heaven, and should still be blessed more and more, as well as the innumerable blessings that should be communicated to all mankind, through the fruit of her womb, and the blessings and praise that should on that account be given her by all generations. For as one woman by disobedience, in hearkening to the suggestions of the infernal serpent, was the beginning of all the maledictions that fell upon all mankind, so one woman, by her humble obedience to the proposals brought her by an angel from heaven, was the beginning of all the benedictions that were to come upon all mankind, from the blessed fruit of her womb, by whom also she crushed that serpent’s head who first brought sin and death amongst us. O see, thy soul, with what sentiments of devotion thou oughtest to join with the angel, and with the blessed St. Elizabeth and with the whole church of God, in this solemn address to the virgin lady: ‘Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,’ Luke I. 24.

Conclude ever to keep up in thy soul a grateful remembrance of all the great things that God has done for the blessed Virgin and for us all, in the incarnation of his Son, by a frequent and devout repetition of the angelical salutation, always concluding it with that pious address of the church: ‘Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen’. O how just it is that we should particularly crave the assistance of her prayers for that critical time when we can do the least for ourselves, and when all is at stake for eternity.

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