Lesson 28: Three Threes, Nine

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary.

At present, as I have no doubt you have heard, there’s a war on. But it won’t last for ever. Nothing horrible and nothing bad can last for ever. When it is over, St. Augustine’s one cracked old church bell will ring again (perhaps some day it will have a new one).

Then, when you are leaving school to go home to dinner (lots of roast beef, spuds, greens, and “afters”: no more ration-books), you will hear that bell ring at twelve o’clock three times three, and nine. This is the Angelus (Latin, “angel”). It is rung to remind us every day of our Lord’s birth at Bethlehem, because of what Angel Gabriel said. It is a memorial of his Incarnation [Latin, “taking for himself a human body” (St. John i, 14)].

On Christmas Day he was made Man, but from all eternity he was God. So the Church calls holy Mary “Mother of God.” All the time, and all her life, she was a Pure Virgin: so another of her titles is “Ever-Virgin.”

Therefore, because God honoured her so highly, we love and honour her above all the Saints, and call her "our Lady." (I think that all swear-words are horrible, and “bloody” the most horrible: it may mean “by our Lady”).

Of course we do not worship her: she would not wish us to do so, for she was always most humble (St. Luke 1, 38); and people only worship God. But we may, and like to, ask her to pray for us, as we try to be the sort of people her Son wants us to be. We have, too, her statue in church (why not? if Nelson’s statue is in Trafalgar Square).

So, at midday (also in the morning and evening), many Christians all over the world say, when the Angelus rings,

“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.”