Every day, we face various temptations to sin. These temptations take many forms. Some of us struggle with an explosive temper, others with selfishness, others with pornography, still others with greed and materialism. By God’s grace, we must overcome these sins and put them death. Sheer will power is not enough, however.
In the spiritual combat, we need spiritual weapons, so today, I am beginning a series on supernatural instruments we can use to fight sin and grow in holiness. These weapons have been handed down to us by the great saints of the Catholic faith, and they have been tested and proven on the field of spiritual battle.
3 Hail Marys
Since today is the feast of the Queenship of Mary, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss a devotion that calls on the Queen of Heaven for aid—the practice of saying three Hail Marys each morning and before bed.
This simple yet powerful devotion was encouraged by many great saints, including St. Anthony of Padua, St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, and St. Alphonsus Liguori.
The point of the devotion is to ask Our Lady for the graces to live a holy life each and every day. Each Hail Mary is in honor of a Person of the Holy Trinity and asks for a specific grace.
In a vision given to St. Mechtilde, the Blessed Mother described the devotion in these terms:
By the first Hail Mary, you will ask me in virtue of the supreme power which God the Father has given me to strengthen you in all your combats and to defend you against the power of the malignant enemy.
By the second Hail Mary, you will beseech me, through the admirable wisdom which I have received from my Son, to let the truth shine upon your soul and to banish from it the darkness of ignorance and error.
By the third Hail Mary, you will ask me by the burning fire of love with which the Holy Spirit has inflamed me, to give you such ardent charity as will enable you to overcome the fear and struggle of death.
This devotion is an especially powerful weapon in combatting sins of lust. St. Alphonsus, one of the greatest promoters of this devotion, recommended adding the following prayer at the end: “By thy pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy.” Another option is to pray, “Mother, keep me this day from mortal sin.”
No matter how busy we are, we can all make time for this simple, fast, and powerful devotion. It is an excellent piece of spiritual armor, and if you practice it faithfully, you will grow in holiness and find strength in your struggles against sin.
Do you have a spiritual weapon, a devotion or sacramental, that has been especially powerful in your life? Send me a message with your recommended devotions and any stories of graces you have received.