Sunday, May 1, 2016

31 Ways to Grow in Devotion to Mary

I have a confession to make. I was raised a cradle Catholic, but for most of my life I have had a bit of a "distant" relationship with the Blessed Mother. The idea of this perfect, sinless woman was a bit of an obstacle to me - I mean, I am far from perfect and light-years away from sinless. She and I, it seemed to me, had very little in common.  Oh, I prayed my rosary and attended May crownings at my parish like the good Catholic woman I am striving to be,  but honestly, I always felt like a bit of a fraud. I just couldn't get my heart to catch up to where my mind told me I should be with regards to Mary.  That is, until recently.

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.

Ask
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. 
Pray
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.
Meditate
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:
Do

May Altar in our home. 
The following are several ideas of activities to honor the Blessed Mother that can be done as a family, together with other families and friends, in a homeschool group or within your parish community:
  • 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. 
Learn
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. 

Read More Related Posts Here:
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30 comments:

  1. My favorite rosary book is the scriptural one by Christianica. Ever use it? It's small, so I keep it in my purse. I've even used it with my children to pray the rosary with them. I find it helps to keep them engaged because they have to read scripture. I mean, it works on SO many levels, that's just one way. Great post, great graphic!

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  2. Thanks for the encouraging words Cristina - I appreciate them very much! I am not familiar with that book, but will check it out - especially if it helps keeps the kids engaged - that is tough stuff! God bless!

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  3. This is a FABULOUS article! Thank you so much for writing it. I am going to try these myself. God Bless xx

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting! God bless!

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  4. Very practical ideas! You might like to read my most popular book, The Catholic Companion to Mary, available from me, ACTA Publications or from Amazon.com.

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    1. Thanks Kathleen! I will definitely check it out! God bless your work!

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  5. What a beautiful article! I'm a recent convert so everything about the Blessed Mother is intriguing to me. Thanks for all the ways you provide for me to grow closer to her

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    1. Thanks for visiting Emily! Sounds like you are on an exciting journey. I am so glad the article was helpful! God bless!

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  6. Thank you for posting this article! Great post for the month of Mary! I will be sharing this post with my friends!

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  7. Beautiful lesson on ways to increase or continue to nurture our love for the Blessed Mother. Thank you for your creative ideas!

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    1. Praise God! Thanks for visiting!

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  8. Thank you - such a helpful list for the month of Mary.

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  9. Thanks for some ideas on devotions to Mary for May

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  10. I am a convert and Mary is the one who brought me to her Son. So I always have had a struggle understanding a lack of devotion to her. This article was very enlightening and inspiring.

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    1. Thanks Kellee for sharing! What a blessing that our Blessed Mother led you to her son! God bless you on your journey!

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  11. Thanks for the good ideas! I'm currently renewing my consecration to Jesus through Mary, so it's a good time to incorporate a little more devotion to her :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting! Doing the Marian consecration is another great idea for increasing devotion to our Lady! Thanks for the reminder.

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  12. Wow, this is a great post, Debbie! Thank you for sharing it via the linkup - it's a great resource of ideas to have. I look forward to referencing it!

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  13. How wonderful! This is so filled with practical, truly helpful ways to grow in our relationship with our heavenly mother. Beginning praying the rosary with one decade a day is something I have done myself, and watched it grow. Baby steps toward our mother! Thank you.

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    1. Beautifully said, Nancy. I can picture myself, toddling towards our lady, who waits for us with open arms! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! God bless you!

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  14. What a lovely post, perfect for the Month of Our Mother.

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  15. Thank you for this! I converted to the Catholic faith just 2 years ago and currently Mary feels like a step-mother to me. That's more than she was to me when I was a Southern Baptist, but I have a long way to go before she has her rightful place in my life. Thank you for sharing these ideas that I know will help in my journey toward loving her.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Kimberly! I will pray for you on your journey!

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  16. I love visiting Marian sites. It really helps me feel closer to her. There is a list of domestic Catholic Pilgrimage Sites that includes many Marian Shrines here: https://catholicpilgrimagesites.wordpress.com/sites-by-state-2/

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