Over the past several months, by the grace of God, I have come to realize that the Mother of God is my mother too, entrusted by the Lord himself to me (and all of humanity) from the cross. I have discovered that at several challenging times in my life, it was the intercession of the Mary that saw me through - without me even deliberately asking for her help. She anticipated my needs, much like she did for the couple who had run out of wine at the Wedding Feast at Cana, and through her powerful maternal influence with the Lord, she obtained for me the good in these situations that would ultimately lead me closer to her Son.
This recent experience and new-found discovery of Mary's love has enkindled in my heart a burning desire to know more about her in order to come to truly know her. I have listed below 31 ways in which I plan to enter into a journey of deepening (please God) relationship with the our Holy Mother. I invite you to join me this May, the month in which the church traditionally honors the Blessed Mother, on this journey of encounter.
The Lord instructs us in the scriptures to "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you." (Mt 7:7). In order to grow in devotion to the Mary, we must first ask the Lord to give us this precious gift. Let us begin this month together asking the Holy Trinity and Mary herself to lead us on this journey.
- God the Father, I ask you to enlighten my mind as to the privileged place that you have given Mary to occupy in your plan of salvation.
- Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you to reveal the great love with which the Blessed Mother carried you in her womb and showered on you during your earthly life and how she continues to give that love to us, the children you have entrusted to her.
- Most Holy Spirit, spouse of the Virgin Mary, I ask you to help me understand the special role Mary has my life and in the life of follower of Jesus.
- Mary, Mother of God, I ask you to help me and lead me always into a deeper relationship with your Son, Jesus.
- Most Holy Mother, you surrendered completely to the will of God in every detail of your life. I ask you to help me to imitate you in total surrender and complete trust in the Lord in everything, even the most difficult areas of my life.
Prayer is the key that unlocks the door of our spiritual life. The church has a long history of prayers asking the Blessed Mother for her intercession, help and protection. Here are a few ways we can grow in our devotion to Mary through prayer.
- Pray the Rosary.- If you have never prayed a Rosary before, begin by praying one decade a day. (EWTN has instructions on how to pray the rosary here)
- Download a Rosary app to assist you in your prayer.
- Check out two of my favorite books of Rosary meditations: Rosary Meditations for Real Life and Father Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book: The Family That Prays Together Stays Together
- Pray a family Rosary, inviting each member to participate by leading a decade and offering their prayer intentions.
- Invite a different friend to pray the rosary with you each day - if you cannot pray together, offer to pray for each other's intentions.
- Set your alarm to pray the Angelus each day at Noon (read more about our family's experience praying the Angelus here)
- Pray a novena to the Blessed Mother. I am planning on doing Pope Francis' favorite novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots.
- Pray a litany to the Blessed Mother. (EWTN has a collection of Marian litanies here.)
- St. Augustine says singing is praying twice. Download some Marian hymns (Immaculate Mary is my favorite traditional hymn and Chris Tomlin's My Soul Magnifies the Lord is a fantastic version of the Magnificat) and sing to your hearts content!
Lectio Divina is a meditation technique by which we place ourselves in the "scene" of the scripture and actively participate in the words we are reading, This type of meditation provides a effective way to allow the words of scripture touch our hearts. Here are a few passages and devotions we can meditate on in order to enter deeply into life of our Blessed Mother:
- The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)
- Mary's Magnificat Prayer (Luke 1:46-56)
- The Birth of the Lord (Luke 2:1-20)
- The Presentation of the Lord (2:21-38)
- The Crucifixion and Death of the Lord (John 19)
- The Seven Sorrows of Mary: For a guide to these click here. Fr. Romanus Cessario also has a great book of meditations entitled: The Seven Sorrows of Mary
- The Seven Joys of Mary: For a guide to these click here. Fr. Cessario also has a book of meditations for the joys entitled: The Seven Joys of Mary
|May Altar in our home.|
- Enroll in the Brown Scapular - not sure what a Brown Scapular is? Watch here for more info.
- Create a May Altar in your home with a statue of the Blessed Mother surrounded by flowers. Pray your family rosary and other Marian devotions gathered around that statue.
- Help establish a pilgrim statue of Mary. Each week rotate the pilgrim statue to a different home and invite all those who receive the statue in their home to intercede in a special way for families and for priests.
- Participate in a May Crowning in your parish.
- Make a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine in your area. If there is none nearby, visit a church named in honor of the Blessed Mother that is closer to your home.
- Have each member of your family (or small faith sharing group or homeschool group) research a different approved Marian apparition and share your discoveries
- Write a letter in your Journal to the Blessed Mother thanking her for the times where her intercession has touched your life.
There are so many opportunities to read, watch or listen to teachings about the Blessed Mother in order to learn more about her. Here are a few that have touched me in particular.
- Auditory learners?: Download or purchase one of these Lighthouse Catholic Media CD's about the Blessed Mother: True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort by Fr.Lance Harlow or Get to Know the Mother of God by Chris Padgett
- Visual learners?: Watch The Song of Bernadette about Our Lady's appartion at Lourdes or this video for children (which I can't stop watching whenever my children watch it): Juan Diego: Messenger Of Guadalupe
- Book-worms and academic types?: Read Saint John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation on the Rosary: Rosarium Virginis Mariae , Dr.Scott Hahn's book: Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God or Dr. Mark Miravalle's book Meet Your Mother, A Brief Introduction to Mary
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