by the practice of
THE THREE HAIL MARYS
One of the greatest means of salvation, and one of the surest signs of predestination, is,
unquestionably, the devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin. All the holy doctors
of the Church are unanimous in saying with St. Alphonsus of Liguori: "A devout
servant of Mary shall never perish." The chief thing is to persevere faithfully till death in this devotion.
One of the first to say the three Hail Marys and to recommend them to others was the illustrious St. Anthony of Padua. His special aim in this practice was to honor the spotless Virginity of Mary and to preserve a perfect purity of mind, heart and body in the midst of the dangers of the world. Many, like him, have felt its salutary effects.
Can there be an easier or a more adaptable practice for all than the recitation each day of three Hail Marys in honor of the privileges conferred by the Adorable Trinity on the Blessed Virgin?
Later on, St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, the celebrated missionary, had the three Hail Marys recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or night; moreover, he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice.
After the example of those two great Franciscan Saints, St. Alphonsus of Liguori adopted this pious practice and gave it his most ardent and powerful support. He counseled its use and even imposed it as a penance on those who had not adopted this good habit.
The holy Doctor exhorts, in particular, parents and confessors to watch carefully that children be faithful in reciting each day their three Hail Marys, morning and evening. Or rather, like St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, he earnestly recommends it to all, "to the devout and to sinners, to the young and old."
Even persons consecrated to God will derive from this practice much precious and salutary fruit. Numerous examples may show how agreeable the three Hail Marys are to the Divine Mother and what special graces they draw, during life and at the hour of death, on those who never omit them for a single day.
This practice has been revealed to St. Melchtilde (13th Century) with the promise of a good death, if she was faithful to it, every day.
It is written, also, in St. Gertrude's revelations: "While this Saint sang the Hail Mary, at the matins of the Annunciation, she suddenly saw spring out from the Heart of the Father and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, three bright flames which penetrated the Heart of the Holy Virgin." Then she heard the following words: "After the Power of the Father, the Wisdom of the Son and the merciful Tenderness of the Holy Spirit, nothing approaches the Power, the Wisdom and the merciful Tenderness of Mary."
His Holiness Benedict XV has raised the Confraternity of the Three Hail Marys to an Archconfraternity by according it precious indulgences with the power to aggregate to itself all Confraternities of the same kind, and to communicate them its own indulgences.
Practice: Recite, morning and evening, three Hail Marys in honor of the three great privileges, with this invocation at the end: for the morning: "O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this day," for the evening: "O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this night."