This is day 5 of Voice of the Family’s spiritual crusade.
Intention: to obtain from God, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that Ireland may be entirely delivered from the evil of abortion and that the bishops may be granted the grace to preach the gospel fearlessly and to defend unborn children with all their strength.
Prayer: Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary
Daily spiritual reflection
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee”
“We must now consider concerning the first part of this prayer… it is written to the praise of Abraham that he received the angels with all courtesy and showed them reverence. But that an angel should show reverence to a man was never heard of until the angel reverently greeted the Blessed Virgin saying: ‘Hail.’ In olden time an angel would not show reverence to a man, but a man would deeply revere an angel. This is because angels are greater than men, and indeed in three ways.
“First, they are greater than men in dignity. This is because the angel is of a spiritual nature: ‘You make your angels spirits’ [Ps 103:4]. But, on the other hand, man is of a corruptible nature, for Abraham said: ‘I will speak to my Lord, whereas I am dust and ashes’ [Gen 18:27]. It was not fitting, therefore, that a spiritual and incorruptible creature should show reverence to one that is corruptible as is a man.
“Secondly, an angel is closer to God. The angel, indeed, is of the family of God, and as it were stands ever by Him: ‘Thousands of thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him’ [Dan 7:10]. Man, on the other hand, is rather a stranger and afar off from God because of sin: ‘I have gone afar off’ [Ps 44:8]. Therefore, it is fitting that man should reverence an angel who is an intimate and one of the household of the King.
“Then, thirdly, the angels far exceed men in the fullness of the splendour of divine grace. For angels participate in the highest degree in the divine light: ‘Is there any numbering of His soldiers? And upon whom shall not His light arise?'[Job 25:3]. Hence, the angels always appear among men clothed in light, hut men on the contrary, although they partake somewhat of the light of grace, nevertheless do so in a much slighter degree and with a certain obscurity.
“It was, therefore, not fitting that an angel should show reverence to a man until it should come to pass that one would be found in human nature who exceeded the angels in these three points in which we have seen that they excel over men—and this was the Blessed Virgin. To show that she excelled the angels in these, the angel desired to show her reverence, and so he said: ‘Ave (Hail).'”
– St Thomas Aquinas, Exposition on the Angelic Salutation