I grew up in a Catholic family but never heard of the Angelus prayer until well into adulthood. Even after hearing it mentioned in passing here and there, I was still not familiar with the actual prayer. It wasn’t until a year ago, when my youngest and I joined a homeschool co-op that I had the opportunity to pray it myself. Our little group of homeschooling families would pray it together just before lunch (followed immediately by the Grace before Meals prayer).
It was cute to see my 3 year old slowly learn it over the course of the year. Since his older brothers were attending a different school they did not have the opportunity to learn it themselves. In our house it became known as the prayer from Silas’ school. We’d occasionally hear it recited on Catholic radio and my kids would all take notice and Silas would exclaim, “We say that at my school!”
As you might imagine, the older boys eventually started learning it, too.
If you are not familiar with this prayer, then I suggest looking it up and learning more about it. And I have the perfect book to help with that! Jared Dees from Ave Maria Press has written a little book to introduce you to the Angelus (and the Regia Caeli, more on that in a bit).
In Praying the Angelus, Jared explains his own discovery of this prayer (a similar story to my own), he gives some history of the prayer, explains why we should include it in our daily prayer lives, and offers reflections and meditations on each phrase of the prayer. He also sprinkles in lots of his own personal experiences to help bring it all to life. In addition, he explains why we replace the Angelus with the Regina Caeli during the Easter Season, and he offers reflections and meditations for it, as well.
His reflections are short and easy to read through in just a couple minutes. The meditation after each reflection section usually has questions for you to ponder or something to think about during the day. This would be a handy book to include in your morning prayer time, especially if you just take one reflection at a time and then ponder the thoughts and questions further throughout your day. None of the reflections and meditations are much longer than a page or two. So it really can be something easy to incorporate into your day.
I enjoyed reading through all the reflections and meditations for each line of the prayer. Since I was reading the book in order to write this review, and I felt the need to get it read in a timely manner, I didn’t spend as much time with them as the author probably intended of his readers. However I hope to go back to this book and take advantage of the thoughtful questions the author poses to his readers.
I will say that, as someone who has always enjoyed history, the first few chapters of the book were fascinating to me and I really enjoyed them. I feel like I know a lot more of the history of the Angelus, the background of the three Hail Marys, and why this is a good prayer to incorporate into your day. I won’t give it away, go get the book to find out more!
The takeaway for me was to download one of the many Angelus apps available and set up the alarm (with church bells!) to go off three times a day. Now when my kids hear the bells they immediately say, “Angelus time!” I wish I could say that we say it every time, but we are still working on the habit. And it’s a good habit to get into!!
If you want to learn more and become more familiar with the Angelus (and the Regina Caeli), I highly recommend this book. It’s an easy read, chock full of information, and something that can be used again and again. I enjoyed it and learned a lot and can see myself taking more time with it. It certainly inspired me to make the attempt to add the praying of the Angelus into my day.
You can find Praying the Angelus: Find Joy, Peace, and Purpose in Everyday Life by Jared Dees from Ave Maria Press. It is currently priced at $13.95. (And get on Ave Maria’s mailing list while you’re there so you can hear about the sales they have during the year, maybe you can catch this item on sale some time).