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Jared Dees

Why Sr. Anne Flanagan (Nunblogger) Prays the Angelus

sr-anne-flanagan

sr-anne-flanaganSr. Anne Flanagan, FSP is a Catholic sister (nun) of the Daughters of St. Paul, an international community founded in 1915 for evangelization in the world of communication. She is a singer, writer, and speaker for Pauline Books & Media (US). She is currently working on various digital projects for her community and its publishing ministry.

If you had asked me about the Angelus before I entered the convent, I might have known it was a prayer somehow related to the ringing of bells. I also knew of the famous painting of workers in the fields pausing to pray. That was about it.

But in the convent, the Angelus punctuated our day. We prayed it at the start of Morning Prayer, and hours later, when the lunch bell rang and the presses and bindery machines fell silent, we prayed the Angelus at our workstations in the publishing house before heading to the refectory. Night Prayer was late, but still began with the Angelus.

The Angelus taught me that the Incarnation is the central mystery of our Faith: a moment in history that rightfully stops us in our tracks and invites us to “ponder in our heart” what God has done for us. The Angelus teaches me that every circumstance in life, whatever God wills or permits, is a “word” to which the fitting answer is “be it done to me,” knowing that “God makes all things work together for good” (even when that “good” is hidden from me).

That is part of the reason I began The Angelus Project (calltoprayer.blogspot.com), a service that posts an Annunciation scene every week to foster the praying of the Angelus. (During Eastertide, the image is a Coronation.)

The Angelus is a simple practice, but one that can help renew the faith of millions as they remember, three times a day: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son . . . that we might have life” (John 3:16).

And all we have to say is “Be it done to me.”

Why Katie Bogner Prays the Angelus

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katie-bognerKatie Bogner is a 5th grade Catholic School teacher by day, parish Director of Religious Education by weekend, crafter in her spare time, and late night reader.  Katie blogs at Look to Him and Be Radiant where she creates lessons, crafts, and printables for sharing the faith with kids of all ages.

A few years ago, I decided to work on adding depth to the prayer structure built into my school day. We routinely pray as a whole school and as a class, but I hoped to broaden my students’ memorized prayer arsenal as well as share with them a prayer that links us with Christians around the world and through the centuries.

So, I decided to teach them the Angelus.

I didn’t want them to merely memorize it. (They actually did very quickly. Kids are sponges and childhood is a great time to expose them to the richness of our faith.) I wanted them to understand the Angelus and see how it is a statement about a core belief of our faith, as well as a request for intercession in our day-to-day lives.

To help teach them both the words and the meaning, I created this mini-book to tuck in their desks. Using the mini-book, the students had the text right in front of them, as well as some pictures, definitions of hard words, Scripture references, and other info.

Now each year, my students and I pray the Angelus together as a class every day just before we leave for lunch. I love being united with countless others joining in the same prayer that honors Mary’s yes to God and calls to mind the amazingness of the Incarnation, God become man for us.

As we are about to move into the Easter Season, my students will soon be learning the Regina Coeli. Everything should look different during the Easter season for the life of a Christian, and noon prayer is no different. From Easter until Pentecost, we won’t pray the Angelus, which remembers the Incarnation, but will instead pray the Regina Coeli, which celebrates the Resurrection.

I made this matching mini-book for teaching the Regina Coeli.  Season to season, the Angelus and Regina Coeli draw us into the rhythm of prayer that compels my students and I to feel and see and live our part in the greater Church.

Why Christine Johnson Prays the Angelus

Why Christine Johnson Prays the Angelus

Christine Johnson has been married to Nathan since 1993 and has two daughters who she homeschools. They live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, where she tries to fit in as a transplanted Yank. She blogs at Domestic Vocation about her life as a wife, mother, homeschooler, and Lay Dominican. 

We all start out with the best intentions when we want to add a new devotional practice to our lives. Sometimes those intentions get hit hard by reality and the guilt sets in. It is at those times that we should trade in that guilt for grace and let God invite us back into an encounter with him in prayer. 

Christine has a wonderful journey towards the Angelus that should be comforting to anyone who struggles to add a new prayer to their life. 

Christine Johnson and the Angelus

Why Christine Johnson Prays the AngelusI had sporadically prayed the Angelus for years, and even had an alarm set on my phone to remind me. However, I was never quite consistent or good at it. I had been thinking about praying it for priests and seminarians at noon, which would give me a mid-day prayer to add to Lauds and Vespers each day. (I’m required to pray Morning and Evening Prayer as a Lay Dominican.)

I was overthinking, as usual, and trying to figure out if I ought to do this or not.

Then one day, I was listening to my playlist on shuffle when I heard bells ringing on a new track. I looked at my radio for song information and saw “ANGELUS” scrolling across the screen — it was the Latin version from a CD I had in my iTunes library!

I was about to skip it when I noticed that it was exactly noon. That was the beginning of a more consistent prayer habit.

So I pray the Angelus most days at noon, dedicating it to priests, seminarians, and other religious. There are days when I miss the notice altogether and other days when I see it late and pray it on the spot. If my children are with me, they’ll pray it with me, as well. I’m in the process of teaching it to my husband in hopes that it can be a devotion our whole family keeps, whether or not we’re together.

Why Brandon Vogt Prays the Angelus

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Brandon Vogt is a bestselling Catholic author, blogger, and speaker. He is the Content Director for Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. Brandon’s work has been featured by several media outlets including NPR, FoxNews, CBS, EWTN, Vatican Radio, Our Sunday Visitor, National Review, and Christianity Today, and he’s a regular guest on Catholic radio. He has written six books and is the founder of StrangeNotions.com, the central place of dialogue between Catholics and atheists.

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“For me, the Angelus offers a five minute break during the day to stop, join with others, and focus on the Lord.

It’s both the shortest and most difficult part of my routine, which I’ll explain in a moment.

At the beginning of 2014, I resolved to pray the Angelus everyday throughout the year. I thought it would be a simple, fun thing to try. I was wrong.

It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever faced.

Inevitably, my Angelus alert would ping in the middle of some pressing task–a focused email I was writing, a delightful lunch conversation, a big project I was knee-deep in. The last thing I wanted to do was break away, lose my momentum, and pray the Angelus, even if it only took a few minutes.

But eventually the Angelus liberated me.

I understand that in monasteries, when the bell rings for prayer, monks are obligated to stop whatever they’re doing and pray, even if that means quitting a letter in mid-sentence or dropping a shovel mid-swing. That act of submission communicates to your whole being–your body, your time, your ambition–that God matters more than whatever you’re doing at that moment. Once you free yourself from the slavish demands around you–which, in the long run, aren’t really important anyways–your life starts moving to a new rhythm, following a new clock.

That’s why I still try to pray the Angelus everyday (albeit to mixed results.)

If anyone reading this wants to tackle a simple but enormously challenging discipline, commit to praying the Angelus everyday, no matter how inconvenient. It’s incredibly freeing.”

Read more about Brandon’s prayer life in “How I Pray: A Peak Into My Prayer Routine” (BrandonVogt.com) and “How I Pray: Brandon Vogt” (Wonderful Things by Thomas McDonald) 

Why Elizabeth Scalia Prays the Angelus

Elizabeth Scalia and the Angelus

Elizabeth Scalia is a Benedictine Oblate and Editor-at Large at AleteiaEN. She is known to most of the world by her social media handle and blog name, “The Anchoress.” She also writes as a columnist at First Things and The Catholic Answer and is the author of Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life.

Elizabeth Scalia and the AngelusOn the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Elizabeth Scalia wrote a wonderful piece in our column on Aleteia, “The Annunciation is why I can never not be Catholic.” In it she explains how praying the Angelus continually reminds her that “our every yes keeps us on a God-directed path” and “plops us right into a mystery that is imponderable and yet ever-pleasant to dwell upon: And the Word was made flesh, And dwelt among us.”

She goes on:

“How grateful I am that our Church encourages the daily refreshment that is found in recalling the Annunciation, because in that brief pause of prayerful remembrance, there is an invitation to continual immersion in transcendent light and life.

To rise of a morning with the words of the Angelus on our lips, ‘The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary’ and then to repeat them at noon, and at six, and again upon retiring, or to use those words while announcing the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, is to be continually drawn back to what is real, and true, and salvific; our perspective is trained toward Christ, and heaven, and the long view of things.”

And finally she concludes:

“. . . the more we surrender to God’s purposes, give up our own will, the more we assist in the propulsion of his will in our lives, which is really all about cooperating with his purposes for the good whole world.”

Read her entire article here: “The Annunciation is why I can never not be Catholic.”

Why Fr. Edward Looney Prays the Angelus

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Fr. Edward Looney is a popular Catholic writer and speaker on the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially about the approved 1859 apparition of Mary in Wisconsin. He is the author of the best-selling rosary devotional A Rosary Litany and his forthcoming release A Heart Like Mary’s.

father-edward-looneyMy first priestly assignment was at a parish right across the street from the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. Each day at 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. their bells rang signaling to me that it was time to pray the Angelus.

Blessed Paul VI best describes the reasons why I love the Angelus.

In his 1974 exhortation Marialis Cultus, Paul VI referenced two forms of Marian piety: the Angelus and the rosary. He described the Angelus as a prayer with a biblical character, with historical origins linking it to prayers for peace and safety, and its “quasi-liturgical rhythm which sanctifies different moments during the day” (paragraph 41). He adequately states why I appreciate the Angelus.

Many people find the Rosary challenging, especially as a beginning point for Marian devotion. The Angelus, in its simplicity, is an excellent way to cultivate and foster a devotion to Mary. When I was a student at Mundelein Seminary, a few of us were the force behind instituting the daily Angelus in the refectory at noon, instilling within the hearts of future priests a devotion to Mary.

I most especially love the fact the Angelus allows us to recall Mary’s role in the incarnation. As I pray those words, “The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary” and “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” I am praying with Mary and I hope that her response might be my response too.

Day 9: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.

Day 9 Reflection: Theotokos

From Praying the Angelus (pp. 90-91).

God has a mother. Let that sink in for a moment.

He has a human mother. It is a powerful concept. The very idea threw the Church into a heated debate that led many to break into their own factions outside of the Church in the fifth century. To believe as we do that the holy, infinite, and all-powerful God would humble himself to be born as a son of a human being is nearly unbelievable. Yet that is exactly what God did. He chose a human mother here on earth to give birth to him.

Consider that audacious Greek name for Mary, Theotokos, Mother of God or more literally, “God bearer.” We ask her to pray for us, that  we may be made worthy of her son’s promises. Thanks be to God that he made this worthiness possible: our God became man so that man could become like God. Through his humility, our unworthiness can be transformed into greatness. Our God was so humble that he took a human mother.

Think about your own mother for a moment. Whether you are close with her or not, mothers are an integral part of all our lives; we all feel—or at least we long to feel—great affection for mothers. Our God looked upon Mary with this same affection on earth and still does in heaven. This is why we seek her intercession.

In your prayers today, turn to Mary to intercede on your behalf. Ask for the strength to live out the humility of Christ and be made worthy of the promises he makes to us.

The Annunciation Novena

O most holy Virgin Mary,
to whom God sent the Angel Gabriel
to announce that you should be the mother of his only-begotten Son,
pray for us who have recourse to you.

Holy, lovely Mary,
We give our all to you
What is past and present,
And the future, too.
Blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

(State your intention here . . .)

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to thy word.

Hail Mary. . .

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary. . .

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Day 8: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.

Day 8 Reflection: Emmanuel

From Praying the Angelus (pp. 85-86).

One of the most popular Advent and Christmas hymns is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Emmanuel is a Hebrew word meaning “God-with-us.” The song expresses our longing for God. We are in exile here without Christ; we are lonely and isolated without God.

But even today God is with us! We remind ourselves of this every time we pray these words of the Angelus: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” We don’t have to be alone. God is present here even today. Our God is not distant and unknowable. He is present among us and working in this world even if we do not have him in the flesh anymore.

What an incredible gift that our God did not remain far off but became one of us. Through his mercy and love, God took on our flesh to be one with us. He shows his love for us by offering us his very life and his presence with us today. Though we cannot see him in the flesh, we can find comfort in knowing that he is not far off.

We can experience his presence in prayer or in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. We can recognize his presence and working in the world in each moment of our day. We can meet him in the face of strangers and friends that we encounter each day.

God is here today. God is with us.

As you pray today, think of the emotional drive behind the song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Hum the tune in your head. As you do, consider the hymn’s desperate plea for God to be with us. At the end of your prayer, give thanks that God continues to dwell in you and in your life.

The Annunciation Novena

O most holy Virgin Mary,
to whom God sent the Angel Gabriel
to announce that you should be the mother of his only-begotten Son,
pray for us who have recourse to you.

Holy, lovely Mary,
We give our all to you
What is past and present,
And the future, too.
Blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

(State your intention here . . .)

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to thy word.

Hail Mary. . .

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary. . .

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Day 7: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.

Day 7 Reflection: In the Beginning

From Praying the Angelus (pp. 79-80).

During the Angelus we move from Luke’s account of the Annunciation to the opening of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:1, 14).

Luke shows the connection between Mary/Gabriel and the creation story with Eve/Satan, while John repeats the introductory words of Genesis (“In the beginning . . .”) to connect the Incarnation with the seven-day creation story. Both gospels give us a sense of the eternity of God as well as the incredible miracle and gift that is his coming into the world as an infant.

These words from John’s gospel are an important reminder of who Jesus was and is. He was not “created” in the Incarnation; he has always been and always will be. He was there in the beginning and he will be there in the end. He came into this world in flesh and blood so that we could share in his eternity.

Even if we cannot “see” him in the flesh, we can still see his glory all around us through the gifts of his creation and through the relationships we have with other people.

Our God, the God who created us, became human. His gift of creation is gift enough; his gift of becoming one of us is beyond understanding. Practice gratitude today by offering a prayer of gratitude to God for creating us and for becoming one of us.

The Annunciation Novena

O most holy Virgin Mary,
to whom God sent the Angel Gabriel
to announce that you should be the mother of his only-begotten Son,
pray for us who have recourse to you.

Holy, lovely Mary,
We give our all to you
What is past and present,
And the future, too.
Blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

(State your intention here . . .)

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to thy word.

Hail Mary. . .

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary. . .

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Day 6: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.

Day 6 Reflection: Mary’s Fiat

From Praying the Angelus (pp. 76-77).

Mary’s words “May it be done” or “Be it done” are often referred to as her fiat, which is the first of these words in Latin. Mary’s fiat is her submission to God’s will. When we echo her words during the Angelus, we, too, submit to God’s will in our lives. We model our faith after Mary’s faith opening ourselves up to the will of God.

Why is Mary such a great model for faith? It all goes back to her fiat. With full trust in God, she set her will aside and let his be done. Think about the choices she had. She could have said “Let it be done later,” and she could have downright refused—but she didn’t. As a result, God brought redemption into the world through Mary.

God wants to bring life, peace, and goodness into this world through you, too. Are you willing to let it be done? Have the courage to echo the words of Mary and live the life God wants you to live.

Is there a fiat you need to make today? Think through your day. When have you needed or will you need to submit to God’s will for your life? Pray for the strength to echo Mary’s words and let it be done.

The Annunciation Novena

O most holy Virgin Mary,
to whom God sent the Angel Gabriel
to announce that you should be the mother of his only-begotten Son,
pray for us who have recourse to you.

Holy, lovely Mary,
We give our all to you
What is past and present,
And the future, too.
Blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

(State your intention here . . .)

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to thy word.

Hail Mary. . .

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary. . .

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.