Today we continue our journey through the contributors of Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary, the newly released book inspired by a series at my blog many years ago.


Word by Word Slowing Down with the Hail Mary copy

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 Gable Word by Word Contributor Interviews -

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.


You can read more of Ellen's writing on her blog or in her books. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter (@EllenGable).

If you're interested in purchasing Word by Word, consider stopping in at your local Catholic bookstore first. It's also available online, and if you use our Amazon link, gets a small percentage of the sales.

Copyright 2015 Sarah Reinhard