Turn then most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
I remember the first time I was given the act of praying Hail, Holy Queen as a penance: I didn’t know the words and I had to look them up. Later, when I started praying the Rosary on a regular basis, I had to continue looking up the words until I finally used a memorisation technique that I learnt from the blogger Jennifer Fulwiller in order to learn the words. This technique involves using visuals linked to the words.
Sad to say, most times that I pray the Hail, Holy Queen, the words come out of my mouth without me really thinking about what they mean. But I do have some favourite images to use with praying this:
Behind me is darkness and ahead of me a woman. She is not facing me but she turns and looks at me. Shining behind her is dazzling light. I walk towards her, she draws me out of the darkness. She shows me the cross. Her son is hanging upon it, his arms stretched out. Her arms hold me to her. Her mantle is drawn over me. We kneel before the cross. Sometimes other people are with us – people who are in my prayer intentions – and we kneel together.
In another image, I am kneeling in the front row at church. A woman kneels beside me. We gaze at the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance. He gazes at us. At other times when I pray show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, I picture myself kneeling, about to receive Holy Communion. Our Lady kneels next to me.
Sometimes I picture Our Lady, the ark of the new covenant, pregnant with our Lord, particularly when praying the words our life, our sweetness and our hope. Sometimes I picture our Redeemer as a little child in the womb. I can see so clearly his leg, the femur bone still developing.
NB: The next task is to learn the words in Latin – I love the chanted Salve, most especially when it is in the solemn tone as the Dominicans do. I can remember most of the words if I’m singing with other people but not well enough to do it on my own. Although to be truthful, I can’t sing well enough to do it on my own either!