Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary

Most Catholics can recite the Hail Mary but haven’t actually reflected on the meaning of the prayer. I invited forty of the most popular Catholic voices, including Lisa M. Hendey, Lisa Mladinich, and Brandon Vogt, to write a brief reflection on one word of the Hail Mary.

You can find the original blog series, Looking Closer at the Hail Mary, at my blog. The book includes most of these reflections. They’ve been edited and also enhanced with prayer prompts.

The book is arranged so that it will enhance your prayer time and draw you closer to Mary and her Son through this classic prayer.

What an inspiring read! In this gem of a book, Sarah Reinhard and slew of gifted writers walk us through the Hail Mary, word by word, thoughtfully reflecting on the deeper meaning of every small part of this intimately beautiful prayer to Our Lady. As we read along, we too are compelled to slow down, focus on simplicity, and meditate on the truth and beauty of the relationship we are meant to have with Mary, our mother in heaven. Such a simple concept wire so beautifully well. The thoughts and words on these pages speak to the heart of all humanity. Slow down, read a few pages, and find yourself pulled into a closer and more authentic relationship with Mary the Mother of God.

Danielle Bean

Publisher of Catholic Digest and author of Momnipotent: The Not-So Perfect Woman’s Guide to Catholic Motherhood

“Not one word in Scripture is ever wasted.” I can’t remember who told me that but I know that’s exactly what came to mind when I picked up this book. As a cradle Catholic who has at times taken our beautiful prayers for granted, “Word by Word” caused me to stop, think, and really reflect on who our Blessed Mother is and the important role she plays in bringing us and keeping us close to Jesus.

Teresa Tomeo

Motivational Speaker, Best Selling Author, Syndicated Catholic Talk Show Host

Throughout the centuries many saints and scholars have written meditative commentaries on the Our Father, the Magnificat, and the Salve Regina.  In our day, Sarah Reinhard has gathered together the insights of great people of faith to help us prayerfully reflect on every word of the Hail Mary.  This little book will help you appreciate the Hail Mary in a deeper way and make the praying of your next rosary that much more meaningful!

Fr. Donald Calloway

MIC, Author of Rosary Gems: Daily Wisdom on the Holy Rosary

It is very difficult to propose new perspective on a devotion so thoroughly loved, embraced, and explored as the Rosary. Not only has Sarah done so with Word by Word, but I find the book absolutely fascinating and delightful in both form and substance. If you have never developed a devotion to the Blessed Mother through the Rosary, or if you have done so but realize you need to refresh and dig a bit deeper into the substance of this devotion, I cannot think of a more interesting and compelling approach than the one gifted to the Church by Sarah and the faithful cadre of writers that assisted her on this project. This book is worth far more than you will pay for it.

Dan Burke

Founder of the Avila Institute of Spiritual Formation and Executive Director of EWTN’s National Catholic Register

Sarah Reinhard has infused our most common prayer with the spirit of the ancient Sabbath — giving the “Hail Mary” the leisurely, loving reading and recitation it deserves. How appropriate that we should come to pray with the peaceful, contemplative spirit Mary brought to the Holy Family.

Mike Aquilina

EWTN host, writer, author, and speaker

Sarah Reinhard, one of my favorite people, has–like the Woman Wisdom in Proverbs 8–laid a great feast for us by assembling some of best Catholic writers of our time to squeeze the juice out of one of the richest prayers ever to emerge from the Catholic tradition, the Hail Mary.  Drink up!

Mark P. Shea

Author of Mary, Mother of the Son

I admit It: I don’t often read books about Catholic prayers.  When I was given a copy of Sarah Reinhard’s newest book, Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary, I opened it up expecting Sarah’s usual excellent writing.  What I discovered was pure inspiration.

Sarah’s profound love for the Blessed Mother and the way the Hail Mary has shaped her Catholic faith makes this is a very special book.  Her ingenious idea to break the Hail Mary down, word by word,  with each word of the prayer serving as a chapter in the book forces you to slow down and reflect carefully on the richness and power of the prayer.  To top it off, she invited in other Catholic writers to contribute their heart-felt passion for the Hail Mary.

The result?  This is a wonderful book, prayer guide, homage to the Blessed Mother and a gift I plan to give all of my friends this year.  Well done Sarah Reinhard!

Randy Hain

author of Journey to Heaven: A Road Map for Catholic Men, Joyful Witness: How to Be an Extraordinary Catholic and co-founder of the Integrated Catholic Life eMagazine

Ave Maria!

Real men know in their hearts that The Hail Mary is the perfect prayer. What better way to pray than to use the words of an Angel to ask for the help of the Mother of God- to ask for our Mother’s help.

Thank you Sarah for inviting us to slow down and cherish every word of this heart song to Mary. A wonderful book.

Ad Jesum Per Mariam. Ave Maria!

Valerie & David Calvillo

Founders of Real Men Pray the Rosary

Sarah Reinhard and her colleagues have found a simple, approachable, and potentially life-changing method for bringing the gorgeous scriptural Hail Mary prayer to vibrant new life.  You’ll never pray a Rosary the same way again.

Greg Willits

Founder of RosaryArmy.com, author of The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid (www.GregWillits.com) and co-host of Adventures in Imperfect Living podcast (www.GregandJennifer.com)

Reading Word by Word is like participating in a warm, honest faith sharing session among good friends. A marvelous way to enter into more intimate communion with the Blessed Mother which means, ultimately gazing more deeply into the face of her Son.

Amy Welborn

Author of Wish You Were Here

It takes about 13 seconds to say a complete Hail Mary, which is one reason so many Catholics call it their “go-to” prayer: in a fast-paced world, we can whisper up a Hail Mary without breaking our stride. With Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary, we are invited to step inside the simple words and really think them through. These meditations remind us that an engagement with the Mother of God is full of both grace and power, and that our every 13-second supplication is a boomlet toward heaven, for the sake of the world.

Elizabeth Scalia

author of Strange Gods; Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life

How often do we recite a well-known prayer, poem, or even sing favorite song lyrics without a thought to what these words truly mean to us?  Maybe when we first learned that which is now rote, the words touched our heart or sparked images and thoughts that transformed the way we saw the world, but over time they lose potency. The memories, emotions and lessons attributed to words are no more elevated than when we take the time to examine each one – individually word by word. Sarah Reinhard and friends take one of the most beloved prayers, the Hail Mary, and bring each and every word to life – you will never recite it the same way again.

Allison Gingras

blogger at www.ReconciledToYou.com and host of “A Seeking Heart” on the Real Life Radio Network

More of My Books:

A Catholic Mom's Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah A. Reinhard
Catholic Family Fun by Sarah A. Reinhard