Three Hail Marys

According to Catholic tradition a long held devotion is praying three Hail Marys. They are prayed after waking in the morning, and before going to bed, following the examination of conscience at night.  The practice dates back to Anthony of Padua who said it “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”, during the reign of Pope John XXII (1316-34) recommended saying the three and offered indulgences for those doing so. Many saints have done this and the Franciscan evolved this practice to the Angelus. Saint Gertrude the Great noted that “To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Marys I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor of beauty so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with Heavenly consolation.” and Mary appeared to Mechtilde of Hackeborn where she taught Mechtilde to understand that the Three Hail Marys honor the three persons of the Trinity. The first prayer recalls the power Mary received from the Eternal Father to intercede for sinners, the second commemorates the wisdom received from the Son; and the third, the love Mary bears, filled by Holy Spirit.

 

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