V. A PROGRESS THROUGH EACH DECADE
Another way to vary the accompaniment of the sweet melody of “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers” is to plan a progress through each decade combining the ideas already elaborated. Begin each decade by concentrating on the words used in the Our Father. When we come to the petition: “Give us this day our daily bread,” let us ask Him to open the eyes of our souls to the mystery contemplated in this decade. Long ago in the inn at Emmaus He opened the eyes of the two disciples when He took bread and blessed and broke and gave to them and thus they knew Him. “Give us this day our daily bread” will be a request to Him to open to us the mystery that is proposed for this decade.
The first “Hail Mary” will be a salutation to Our Lady, saying the words with which Gabriel addressed her at the Annunciation, and trying to capture the devotion and warmth which St. Luke puts into those words.
During the recital of the next six “Hail Marys” we shall draw upon all that we have learned at school, or read and heard since, to help us to paint a word picture of the mystery.
The last three “Hail Marys” will uncover our hearts to Mary’s whisperings. We shall try to get inside our Mother Mary’s heart during this mystery, and catch some of its fire and heat to warm our own towards her. Some day we shall feel our hearts burning within us and on that blessed occasion we shall understand what that humble French priest, St. Grignion de Montfort, wrote some two hundred years ago-namely, that “being a servant of Mary is good, but to be her slave is better. The servant is worthy of his hire but the slave is not. As Mary’s slave we wish to be absorbed completely in Mary’s personality, to work in and through and by her for Mary’s cause, the salvation of souls. That ideal of complete slavery is the keynote of the Legion of Mary Apostolate. In the words of dedication the Legionaries proclaim: I am thine, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is thine.”
Mary’s part in this mystery will shine upon us like a star beckoning us to follow her according to our own small measure. The virtue that attracts us to Mary in this mystery is something we must strive to build within ourselves. There is the example for us to follow, there is Mary awaiting to help us, provided we set ourselves to the task. God cannot build His Kingdom in man’s soul without man’s help and earnestness. And Mary whispers to us to begin upon that virtue we need so badly, for she is ever ready with her encouragement and her help.
No matter how gloomy the picture of a soul presents itself to any man, if he begins with confidence in Mary’s prayers and his own efforts he can change vice into virtue, and sin into sanctity. The virtue of self-discipline, of self denial so distasteful to the human spirit and so onerous on human nature, yet, so necessary in life and a sine-qua-non condition for sonship of God, will be won by us gradually and painfully but certainly, through listening to Mary’s whisperings to us while saying the last three “Hail Marys” of each decade.
“The Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost” which concludes the decade will be addressed to the Holy Spirit through the Blessed Trinity for light to see and courage to assume the task of building from within ourselves the virtues that shine from Mary in this mystery.
D. P. MURPHY, Censor Deputatus. lmprimatur: