Farm Family in a Field
Last summer I was in an antique shop in Milbank, South Dakota. On the wall, they had an oval of the painting at left for sale. The price tag the owner wrote said: "Old-tyme painting of farm family in a field" What? That's all?
Yes, it is a painting of a farm family in a field. But, it's more then that. Much more then that. The family is depicted stopping their labor in response to the Angelus bells tolling at a church in the far background. Oh, to be as devoted as they!
Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of the Angelus Prayer myself. So, I can't fault anyone else for not knowing what it is. The Angelus quickly became one of my favorite devotions. The Holy Father recites it at midday from the window of his apartment in St. Peter's Square.
The Angelus is traditionally said at 6:00 a.m. (Lauds or Prime), Noon (Sext), and 6:00 p.m. (Vespers). The Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet harkens back to a time when the parish church would toll the Angelus bells 12 times (3 times for each invocation, 9 times for the closing prayer). The bells were a signal to prayer. I miss bells. We can't have enough church bells, in my opinion. I'm blessed in that there are 2 parishes within earshot of my home that have Angelus bells (St. Agnes and St. Bernard). I need all the reminders to pray that I can get!
The Angelus Prayer is a commemoration of two major events: The Annunciation and The Incarnation in a simple prayer consisting of three invocations followed by a Hail Mary and a closing prayer.
You can hear the Angelus on Relevant Radio at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.
Traditionally, the Angelus is replaced by the Regina Coeli from Easter Sunday to Pentecost.
Here's the Angelus in English first followed by Latin:
V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. 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, prayer for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord,
R. Be it done to 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, Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, by the message of an angel, so by His Passion and Cross we may be brought to the glory of the Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.
V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae.
R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
Ave Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
V. Ecce ancilla Domini,
R. Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Ave Maria, etc.
V. Et Verbum caro factum est,
R. Et habitavit in nobis.
Ave Maria, etc.
V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix,
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem eius et crucem ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.