Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Angelus

Three times a day the bells toll and I interrupt whatever I have been doing, turn towards the church or the tabernacle and silently recite the Angelus. The words of this prayer repeat the dialogue of the annunciation scene: God’s invitation to Mary through the angel, and Mary's response. The Angelus, which developed in stages beginning at least in the 13th century, is more than a manifestation of monastic devotion to Mary. It is possible to discern a connection between the Angelus and the central goals of monastic life. The annunciation scene recalls the mystery of God’s respect for human freedom to accept or refuse his continual gift of self-manifestation. God will not enter my life or my heart without my free consent. The Angelus is a daily opportunity, presented in a ritual way, for me to consent to God's gift of himself to me, and to say, ‘Here I am, Lord… I am ready’. Repeating Mary's words of acceptance becomes my act of yielding to God's will for me in the present situation. Day after day this places me before God in an attitude of total personal surrender…

CHARLES CUMMINGS, OCSO Monastic Practices, Ch. 4