One of the great women of the Catholic Church, Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1301), was a Benedictine mystic, writer, intellectual, but most especially a great lover of both Jesus and Mary His Mother. Saint Gertrude’s literary masterpiece is titled Herald of Divine Love, which is highly recommended to enrich your spiritual life and to put you on a sure path to holiness.
Saint Gertrude as a Christian-Catholic mystic was gifted by God with the grace of having very special visions. At times she would have a vision of Jesus the Lord. Of course a vision must have a proper interpretation for the benefit of individuals, as well as for the Church at large.
The Vision of the Golden Coins
One of the most renowned visions of Saint Gertrude the Great was that of Jesus in Heaven. In this particular vision, Saint Gertrude saw Jesus in Heaven and in front of Jesus could be seen a tall pile of coins, Golden coins. Shining, glimmering, glowing—this pile of coins radiated extreme beauty.
Saint Gertrude observed that Jesus was just then depositing another shiny, glimmering Golden coin on top of the pile of other coins. This Golden coin seemed to shine even more brilliantly than the rest.
Curious to say the least, Saint Gertrude wondered why the Golden coins, why the big pile of coins, and finally, why the last one Jesus was depositing had a very special glimmer to it? She asked Jesus why. Jesus’ response was the following: “My daughter, every time you pray a calm, fervent, and loving HAIL MARY to my Mother, I deposit a Golden coin in the Treasury of Heaven for you.”
In the Gospel Jesus exhorts us not to worry about things, nor to focus on material things that come and go. Rather Jesus says: Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness and everything else will be given to you.
The Golden Hail Mary
The interpretation of this vision of Saint Gertrude the Great is not overly complicated for our purposes. Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and the Mother of all of us individually. Mary has a great maternal love for all of us and desires our happiness in this life, but most especially in the life to come. However, there is a prayer that causes the Immaculate Heart of Mary to rejoice, to leap with joy, and that is the Hail Mary.
How to Pray the Golden Hail Mary
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in his spiritual classic The Spiritual Exercises, presents to us various modes or forms of prayer: Mental prayer, Contemplative prayer, Daily Examen, etc. However, in addition to the above mentioned forms of prayers, the saint offers another form that can truly enrich our spiritual lives and our relationship with Jesus, and with Mary, the Mother of God. Saint Ignatius recommends that we take a formal, vocal prayer that we have possibly prayed many times, but most probably never meditated upon in depth.
Take this prayer, the Hail Mary, and say it very slowly, pondering each word, relishing each word, really savoring it to the full.
The prayer, the Hail Mary, which many of us have prayed thousands of times by reciting the most Holy Rosary, is really a spiritual gem, a spiritual masterpiece.
Actually the first part of the Hail Mary, sometimes called The Angelic Salutation, can be found in the first Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary. (Lk. 1:26-38). These words were first uttered by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary of Nazareth: Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you… How much this should encourage us to pray the Hail Mary with greater fervor, attention, and devotion—words actually expressed by an Archangel sent from the throne of Almighty God!
St. Elizabeth’s Greeting
Then when Mary greeted her cousin Saint Elizabeth who was carrying the baby Saint John the Baptist in her womb, moved by the Holy Spirit, Saint Elizabeth proclaimed: Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. This is the Biblical and historical origin of the first two parts of the Hail Mary, or if you like, The Angelic Salutation!
“Full of Grace”
Therefore, meditation and reflection on the first two parts of the Hail Mary should fill us with great reverence, awe, love, and devotion towards she who is known as the full of grace. We should strive to imitate the Archangel Gabriel in our humble, reverential, and trusting attitude towards Mary, the Mother of God.
In our Golden Hail Mary we should pray the Hail Mary slowly while pondering, meditating, ruminating over the simplicity, and at the same time great depth, of the mystery revealed in this beautiful prayer. May she who is the full of grace attain for us a constant appreciation for grace—the life of God within our souls.
With the help and intercession of Mary, full of grace, may we daily grow in grace; may we attain more abundance of grace. And the grace of all graces for the human person is to die in the state of grace. If accomplished, we will be saved, and rejoice in heaven with Mary for all eternity.
Gift of the Woman
Blessed are you among women… Relishing these words, we meditate on the greatness of the woman, most especially reflected in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Every woman on the face of the earth, as she prays the Hail Mary, should contemplate Mary as their model and guide, on whom they pattern their whole lives.
Gift of Motherhood
Blessed is the fruit of your womb… Mary as a model teaches women, as well as the world at large, the importance of maternity. One of the greatest gifts God can give to the world, and it is through the instrumentality of the woman, is a new life, a new person, a child whose destiny one day is the Kingdom of Heaven.
To conclude, we invite all of you to strive to be multi-millionaires in the spiritual life. You may not have a very rich bank account on earth, but you can have an enormous bank account in heaven! How you might ask? Remember the vision of Saint Gertrude and the Golden coin—the Golden Hail Mary. In imitation of Saint Gertrude, every time you pray the Hail Mary slowly, pondering the beautiful words in your heart, you store golden riches in heaven for all eternity!