When I began the project of looking closer at the Hail Mary on my blog many years ago, I never dreamed it would be a book. That project inspired a whole new way of praying for me, and it made me slow down.
The book inspired by the blog series, Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary, is now available, and I'm excited to share more from some of the contributors who have agreed to be interviewed here.
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.
Inviting Ginny Moyer to be part of this project was a no-brainer. She's a Mary fangirl herself, having authored a book that I've loved and shared for years. Over the years, Ginny has become a dear friend, and though miles separate us and keep us from sharing coffee in person, her lovely writing always cheers me and teaches me something new about life.
Ginny, what's your relationship with the Hail Mary as a prayer? How does it help you grow closer to Mary and, through her, Jesus?
Fifteen years ago, on a flight from New York back home to California, the plane encountered serious turbulence. It was the kind that makes you wish you'd taken the train, or a car, or stayed at home, because your little plane in the vast blue sky suddenly feels very vulnerable indeed. Even worse, I was flying solo; there was no husband or friend sitting next to me whose hand I could grab.
To my surprise, I found myself praying the Hail Mary. It was a prayer I'd known all my life, but one I rarely prayed on my own. But somehow that prayer, in that moment, was soothing and calming to an extent that nothing else was. It was the spiritual equivalent of grabbing my mom's hand, and having her squeeze it and say that everything would be okay.
I feel like Jesus deputizes his mom to go out and meet us in those fragile moments. It works.
Your reflection was on the word AND. Tell us a bit about what this word means to you in the context of the Hail Mary.
When you become a parent, you are no longer on your own; you are suddenly an "and." With nearly everything you do, you have to take someone else's needs into account. (This is true when you get married, too, but it's an even more intense shift when you become a mom.) That is both a blessing and a challenge, and I think Mary understands that. This word was also a chance for me to reflect on Mary's relationship with other adults: with Joseph, with Elizabeth, with John, with the apostles in the upper room. In spite of all those statues of her standing alone, she was in fact a very connected person, and her relationships are fascinating to ponder.
What's your top tip for slowing down as you pray the Hail Mary...or any prayer, for that matter?
When my high school students are writing essays, I often tell them to proofread by reading the essay out loud to themselves. I often do it myself with my own writing; reading aloud forces me to give weight to every word. It works with prayer, too, and it is amazing what you notice when you slow down.
You'll find Ginny's adventures online at Random Acts of Momness, and you won't want to miss her books: Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God and Random Moments of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood. She's also a regular here at CatholicMom.com and in a number of other places online.
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, CatholicMom.com gets a small percentage of the sales.
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.