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I.

HAIL, sweet Mary! Hail, most Holy Virgin! whom God did choose from all eternity to be His Mother. Thou art that blessed mediatress between God and men, by whom what is lowest is united to that which is most sublime. Thou art the source of life; Thou art the gate of life; Thou art the haven from the shipwreck of this world. Obtain for me, I beseech Thee, perfect forgiveness of my sins, and the full grace of the Holy Spirit, that I may with all diligence serve, and most ardently love, Thy Son, my Saviour, and Thee, the Mother of mercy.

Hail, sweet Mary! whom, prefigured under many types and images, and promised by divers sayings of the prophets, the ancient fathers sighed after with earnest longings. 101Take me, O my Lady, for Thy poor servant: adopt me, O my Mother, for Thy son. Grant that I may be amongst the number of those who are written in the remembrance of Thy virgin heart, and whom Thou dost teach, direct, and cherish, and love.

Hail, sweet Mary! whom God did honour with so great a privilege as to preserve Thee free from original sin, and whom He adorned with singular graces, and precious gifts. O Virgin most renowned! O Virgin most peaceful! O Virgin most pure! O Thou who art the one chosen child among a thousand, reject me not by reason of mine iniquities, and because I am stained with the filth of sin; but hear me crying out to Thee in misery: comfort me who earnestly desire Thee, and help me, for I hope in Thee.

Hail, sweet Mary! whose birth was for ages desired and expected by the nations; Thou didst enlighten the world with a new light, and didst gladden it with an unheard of joy. O tender Virgin of most perfect innocence! obtain for me true holiness of life: remove from me whatever is displeasing to Thy virgin eyes. Have pity on me, O Lady, have pity upon me: for Thy compassion increased with Thy tender years.

102

Hail, sweet Mary! whom the Lord adorned with every beauty of form, and with all virtues, and made most lovely. O most elegant, O most graceful Virgin! adorn, I beseech Thee, my soul with spiritual beauty: implant in my heart the lively affections of holy chastity, that I may please Thee, and render unto Thee acceptable service.

Hail, sweet Mary! whom Thy holy parents brought into the temple and offered to the Lord, and gave up entirely to the divine service. There didst Thou lead an angel’s life, all humble, all pious, all meek, all kind, and didst wonderfully entice all that beheld Thee to purity and integrity of life. Obtain for me the grace of showing forth before all men the sweet odour of a holy life like unto Thine, that, as far as in me lies, I may annoy no one, may give no offence; but may comfort all men, and invite them to the love of God, and contempt of the world.

Hail, sweet Mary! hail, Thou that art the first fruits of virgins, who didst consecrate Thyself entirely to God, and with a grateful heart didst offer to Him Thy vow of virginity. Thou art the perfect example of modesty and all sanctity: Thou art that Virgin, at once most beautiful, and that inspireth 103none but the chastest love, whose most pure and perfect manner of life penetrated the hearts of those that saw it, as it were with a ray of light from heaven, and made them at once more chaste. Obtain for me, I beseech Thee, a clean heart and body, that I may never cherish within me anything that is impure, or entertain any vicious thought, or give consent to any enticement of evil desire; but passing by, both in my heart and in my reason, all the incitements of the flesh, may I rejoice and rest in God alone.

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