Sarah Reinhard is awesome.
I just wanted get that out of the way to start things off.
She lives among the corn fields, makes it through interviews despite fart guns being blasted in the background, and she constantly cracks me up on Twitter.
She also sent me a copy of her book, Word By Word: Slowing Down With The Hail Mary, and allowed me to take an exorbitantly long time reading it before writing this review.
Like, a really long time.
Mostly because by the time I get home from work and help my wife get the kids in bed, I just want to fall face down on the pillow and pass out...
But here we are! I finished the book, and I'm ready to write my review!!
Growing up, my mother instilled in me a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We were the type of family that would pray the Rosary on long car rides, have Marian statues and images all around the house, and toss up a Hail Mary each and every time we passed a Post Office.
Yeah, I don't know about that last one, but my Grandfather worked for the Postal Service, and for some reason that became a thing...
Of course, I drifted from the faith as I moved into my college years, and that Marian devotion fell by the wayside.
I always carried a Rosary in my pocket, but I never pulled it out to pray.
That all changed when I was 24 years old. That was the year my mother surprisingly passed away, and my life was thrown into disarray.
I was angry, confused, and left wondering why God would allow such a terrible thing to happen to my family.
These raw emotions were on full display for everyone to see, all the way up until the Rosary prior to my mom's funeral Mass.
I was angrily responding to each Hail Mary, gritting my teeth as tears poured down my face. And then, all of the sudden, I had an immense feeling of peace stream over me. It was a peace that I had never felt prior to that moment, and a peace that I will never forget as long as I live.
That moment changed how I saw the situation that was before me. I was instantly cleansed from the anger that I had about the situation, and instead was filled with a great sense of hope and love.
I know for a fact that this was a direct result of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a direct result of the Rosary, and I still thank Mary for that grace she dispensed my way.
I needed it so very badly.
After that, I picked up my Rosary and prayed it pretty much daily, seeing it as an opportunity to both pray for my mom and thank Mary for the gift of peace she brought me on that difficult day.
As it so often happens, however, I began to become complacent with praying the Rosary. I began to allow the words to pass through my lips without giving them any thought. I began, as I think many of us do, to allow my mind to wander off on topics unrelated to the Gospel during my prayer.
Word By Word helped me to change all that.
For the first time since the Rosary for my mom, I felt the power of each and every word of the Hail Mary. I allowed myself to slow down and ponder, as Mary has taught us to do, the words of this beautiful and powerful prayer.
Reading this book brought me right back to that moment when I felt God's grace pour over me through Mary's hands, and for that I will be forever grateful to Sarah Reinhard and all the wonderful contributors who helped slow this prayer down.
You can purchase the book directly from the publisher, or 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 Tommy Tighe
About the Author
Tommy is a Catholic husband, father of four boys, and the author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook (available now!).