The Angelus


The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen. 
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 
Hail Mary . . . 
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 
Hail Mary . . . 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, 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. 




The Angelus (Latin for "angel") is a Christian devotion in memory of the Incarnation. The name Angelus is derived from the opening words: Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ ("... the Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary ...") and is practised by reciting as versicle and response three Biblical verses describing the mystery; alternating with the salutation "Hail Mary!" The Angelus exemplifies a species of prayers called the prayer of the devotee.
The devotion was traditionally recited in Roman Catholic churches, convents, and monasteries three times daily: 6:00 am, noon, and 6:00 pm (many churches still follow the devotion, and some practice it at home). The devotion is also used by some Anglican and Lutheran churches.

The Angelus is usually accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell, which is a call to prayer and to spread good-will to everyone on Earth. The angel referred to in the prayer is Gabriel, a messenger of God who revealed to Mary that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-38).

History

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that "The history of the Angelus is by no means easy to trace with confidence, and it is well to distinguish in this matter between what is certain and what is in some measure conjectural." This is an old devotion which was already well established 700 years ago. The Angelus originated with the 11th-century monastic custom of reciting three Hail Marys during the evening bell. The first written documentation stems from Italian Franciscan monk Sinigardi di Arezzo (died 1282).Franciscan monasteries in Italy document the use in 1263 and 1295. The Angelus is included in a Venetian Catechism from 1560. The older usages seem to have commemorated the resurrection of Christ in the morning, his suffering at noon and the annunciation in the evening. In 1269, St Bonaventure urged the faithful to adopt the custom of the Franciscans of saying three Hail Marys as the evening bell was rung.

The Angelus (1857–59) by Jean-François Millet is one of the most celebrated and reproduced images of prayer.













The Angelus is not identical to the "Turkish bell" ordered by Pope Calixtus III (1455–58) in 1456, who asked for a long midday bell ringing and prayer for protection against the Turkish invasions of his time. In his 1956 Apostolic Letter Dum Maerenti Animo about the persecution of the Church in Eastern Europe and China, Pope Pius XII recalls the 500th anniversary of the "Turkish bell", a prayer crusade ordered by his predecessors against the dangers from the East. He again asks the faithful throughout the World, to pray for the persecuted Church in the East during the mid-day Angelus.

The custom of reciting it in the morning apparently grew from the monastic custom of saying three Hail Marys while a bell rang at Prime. The noon time custom apparently arose from the noon time commemoration of the Passion on Fridays. The institution of the Angelus is by some ascribed to Pope Urban II, by some to Pope John XXII for the year 1317. The triple recitation is ascribed to Louis XI of France, who in 1472 ordered it to be said three times daily. The form of the prayer was standardized by the 17th century.

The manner of ringing the Angelus—the triple stroke repeated three times, with a pause between each set of three (a total of nine strokes), sometimes followed by a longer peal as at curfew—seems to have been the norm from the very beginning. The 15th-century constitutions of Syon monastery dictate that the lay brother "shall toll the Ave bell nine strokes at three times, keeping the space of one Pater and Ave between each three tollings".

In his Apostolic Letter Marialis Cultus (1974), Pope Paul VI encouraged the praying of the Angelus and confirmed its importance: it reminds us of the Paschal Mystery, in which recalling the Incarnation of the Son of God we pray that we may be led "through his passion and cross to the glory of his resurrection."

Angelus bell

The Angelus, in all its stages of development, was closely associated with the ringing of a church bell. The bell is still rung in some English country churches and has often been mistaken for, and alleged to be a remnant of, the curfew bell. The Angelus is replaced by Regina Coeli during Eastertide, and is not used on Good Friday or Holy Saturday.

Where the town bell and the bells of the principal church or monastery were distinct, the curfew was generally rung upon the town bell. Where the church bell served for both purposes, the Ave and the curfew were probably rung upon the same bell at different hours.

The ringing of the Angelus in the 14th century and even in the 13th century must have been very general.[citation needed] The number of bells belonging to these two centuries which still survive is relatively low, but a considerable proportion bear inscriptions which suggest that they were originally intended to serve as Ave bells. Many bear the words Ave Maria; or, as in the case of a bell at Helfta, near Eisleben, in Germany, dated 1234, the whole sentence: Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Bells with this Ave Maria inscription are also numerous in England, but in England the Angelus bells seem in a very large number of instances to have been dedicated to St Gabriel, the angel mentioned in the prayer (Luke 1:26-27). In the Diocese of Lincoln alone we find nineteen of the surviving medieval bells bearing the name of Gabriel, while only six bear the name of Michael, a much more popular patron in other respects. In France, the Ave Maria seems to have been the ordinary label for Angelus bells; but in Germany we find as the most common inscription of all, even in the case of many bells of the 13th century, the words O Rex Gloriæ Veni Cum Pace ("O King of Glory, Come with Peace"). 
 
 

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