Today we observe the Feast of Mary’s Annunciation, which we could not celebrate on the right day two weeks ago, because we were contemplating the Passion of Christ.
We observe the Annunciation each time we pray the Hail Mary, and so there is nothing left for me to say about it. If you don’t mind, I’d like to speak of problems I used to have with saying the Hail Mary, and I’d like speak too of how I got around the difficulties I always had with repeating the rosary.
First of all, growing up, with the other kids on my block being Methodists, I was uneasy with Catholics at school, all being so familiar with Mary. I took up praying that “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy” prayer every night. I was asking Mary to help me develop feelings for her. After two years of that, it began occurring to me that Jesus had given Mary to me as a mother. And from then on I have felt that child-to-mother relationship with her.
Later I tackled the problem of my finding it terribly dull to repeat the Hail Marys over and over in the Rosary. A memory from when I was four years old freed me from that difficulty. I recalled going Christmas shopping in the big department stores, hanging on to my mother’s hand for dear life, as she pushed us through the crowds. Back then, I’d gape around at all the wonders, but now I gape at the mysteries of the rosary. I don’t try to consciously reflecting on the words of the Hail Marys. I just think of them while holding tight to Mary’s hand while I gape at the mysteries.