In Word by Word, each contributor wrote a brief reflection about every word of the Hail Mary. The idea was that, in reflecting on the prayer one word at a time, we would all slow down and pray it differently, more meaningfully, and closer to Jesus.
My guest today is none other than Ellen Gable Hrkach, who has taught me as much about writing as about motherhood and being a good friend and fostering your friendship with the Guy Upstairs.
Ellen's written a number of books, edited dozens others, runs a publisher, and is a wife and mom and all around amazing person. She also has a special devotion to Mary and to the Hail Mary in particular, as you'll see.
Ellen, what's your relationship with the Hail Mary as a prayer? How does it help you grow closer to Mary and, through her, Jesus?
I recite the rosary every single day, without exception, even when I am ill. Because I tend to let the day get ahead of me, I always pray the rosary each morning before I get up. Our Lady (or my guardian angel) ALWAYS wakes me up half an hour before the alarm rings so that I may be able to recite my rosary and pray my morning prayers before I get out of bed. It is natural to grow closer both to Mary and to Jesus when one is reflecting on Jesus' joys and sufferings every day (and sometimes more than once a day!).
Your reflection was on the word NOW. Tell us a bit about what this word means to you in the context of the Hail Mary.
When I hear the word "Now," I always think of my mother. As my siblings and I were growing up, whenever she asked us to do something and we paused or hesitated, she would respond, "Now means now, not in a few minutes or tomorrow." I've had the experience of asking Our Lady, through the Hail Mary, for help and I needed assistance at that moment, not in a few minutes, but immediately. And the immediate graces were very evident.
What's your top tip for slowing down as you pray the Hail Mary...or any prayer, for that matter?
It's easier to pray the Hail Mary quickly. And I've done that when we're saying the rosary in large groups. However, I personally don't like it when it's rushed because it's harder to focus not only on the mysteries, but also on the important imagery of this powerful prayer. If we're saying the rosary as a family or with only a few people, I always try to say it a bit more slowly to guide the others, so that we can all focus more easily. If we say the rosary with devotion, attention, and reverence, we will naturally recite it more slowly.
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Copyright 2015 Sarah Reinhard
About the Author
When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.