The Hail Mary has long been my “blankie prayer,” the prayer I turn to no matter what. I pray it unconsciously, the way my children grab my hand without even knowing it when we’re walking side-by-side.

It’s a comfort to me, and I’m so blessed to have it. When I don’t have words for the desires of my heart, I always have the Hail Mary. When I’m lonely or sad or just at odds with the world, I have the Hail Mary.

In the Hail Mary, I find so very many spiritual delights, not the least of which is how it leads me, irrevocably, closer to Mary’s Son.

Over the last year, I was inspired by how Jen at Conversion Diary traveled through the Our Father word by word–it was a way of praying I had never been exposed to, and I couldn’t resist asking her if I could take her idea and use it with my favorite prayer. Because she really is that lovely of a person, she said yes.

So here we are, on the brink of Lent and on the brink of a prayer together. We’ll take a journey together, you and I, through the Hail Mary, word by word. This prayer will expand throughout the next five months. I’ll be posting reflections on Tuesdays and Thursdays from a variety of friends and writers.

I am, above all, humbled by this project.

I am glad you’re with us.

I pray you’ll join us in turning to Jesus through the intercession of his dear and beloved mother.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.