Chances are you’ve seen this famous painting.
It’s called L’Angelus (The Angelus) and was painted by Jean-François Millet in the mid-19th century.
It depicts a peasant couple in a potato field, farm tools set aside, their heads bent in prayer.
Amid a physically demanding work day, this man and woman are taking time to pause, direct their thoughts to God, and humbly receive His grace.
The name of the prayer they’re saying is the painting’s title: the Angelus.
So, what is the Angelus?
It’s a set of three antiphons that reflect on the Incarnation of Christ at the Annunciation—that profoundly holy moment in which the Angel Gabriel announced God’s invitation to Mary to be the Mother of the Messiah, and she said yes.
That’s how the Angelus prayer got its name: the prayer was originally said in Latin, of course, and the word angelus is Latin for angel.
Each of the Angelus’s antiphons are taken from Sacred Scripture. Each is followed by a Hail Mary.
When the Angelus is prayed by more than one person, a leader says the first part, with everyone else reciting the responses.
Here is the complete Angelus:
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto 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.
Traditionally, the Angelus is prayed three times throughout the day: 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. Of course, no one who wants to pray the Angelus is required to say it three times a day.
Many people pray it once a day—often at the noon hour. Noon is the hour at which Catholics particularly reflect upon Our Lord’s Passion, since Jesus mounted the Cross at noon on Good Friday. As the midpoint of the day, noon is also a particularly powerful moment to take a pause and recollect ourselves in prayer.
Here at The Catholic Company, we have a noon-time pause where we gather to pray the Angelus for our intentions and those of our customers. We’d love to invite you to join us in this practice!
The aforementioned painting, The Angelus, is a beautiful reminder of this simple prayer and the power of pious devotion to it. Our exclusive The Angelus Ceramic Tile is the perfect way to incorporate this profound prayer into your day. The perfect size to fit in any corner of your home or office, this tile will serve as a visual reminder to pray this brief but incredibly powerful prayer. Order yours today from The Catholic Company and begin your devotion to the Angelus today!