The Golden Hail Mary

One of the great women of the Catholic Church, Saint Gertrude the Great, born in Germany in the year 1256, was a Benedictine mystic, writer, and intellect, but most especially she was a great lover of both Jesus and Mary. Her literary masterpiece, Herald of Divine Love, is highly recommended to enrich your spiritual life and to put you on a sure path to holiness.

As a mystic, Gertrude was gifted by God with the grace of miraculous visions, including those of Jesus, Our Lord. Of course, a vision must have a proper interpretation for the benefit of individuals, as well as for the Church at large, for it to be worthy of our consideration. Gertrude’s visions have had such an interpretation, as they have been studied at length.

One of the most renowned visions of Saint Gertrude the Great was that of Jesus in heaven. In this particular vision, Gertrude saw before Our Lord a tall pile of coins, golden in color, shining, glimmering, and glowing. This pile of coins radiated extreme beauty!

Saint Gertrude then observed Jesus deposit another shiny, glimmering coin on top of the pile. This most recent golden coin seemed to shine even more brilliantly than the others.

Curious, to say the least, Saint Gertrude wondered about the nature of the coins, most especially the last one that He deposited onto the pile. When she asked Jesus, He replied, “My daughter, every time you pray a calm, fervent, and loving Hail Mary to my Mother, I deposit a golden coin in the treasury of heaven for you.” What a wonderful image!

But what is this prayer?

In the Gospel, Jesus exhorts us not to worry about things, not to focus on material things that come and go. Rather, Jesus says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt 6:33). This story shows us exactly what will be given to us if we seek the things of God.

The interpretation of this vision of Saint Gertrude the Great for us is not overly complicated. Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and the Mother of all of us individually. Mary has a great maternal love for us and desires our happiness in this life, but most especially in the life to come. As such, she watches over us and protects us from harm. In return, how can we show our love for her? Well, there is a prayer that causes the Immaculate Heart of Mary to rejoice, to leap with joy, and that is the Hail Mary!

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in his spiritual classic the Spiritual Exercises, presents to us various modes, or forms, of prayer: mental prayer, contemplative prayer, the daily examen, and many more. In addition to these, the saint offers another form that can truly enrich our spiritual lives and our relationship with Jesus and Mary. He advises us to take a formal, vocal prayer that we have possibly prayed many times but may not have meditated upon in depth. Take this prayer, the Hail Mary, for example, and say it very slowly, pondering each word, relishing each word, really savoring it. You may be surprised what new meaning is derived from meditating on this prayer, which we sometimes pray flippantly during our ordinary and routine lives. The Hail Mary, which many of us have prayed thousands of times by reciting the Most Holy Rosary, is a spiritual gem, a spiritual masterpiece, if we would only stop to appreciate it.

This article is taken from a chapter in Compendium of Marian Devotions by Fr. Ed Broom, which is available from TAN Books.



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