10 lovely ways to bring Mary's love into your life.
Did you know that each of the 12 months of the year has a devotional theme? It’s a great way to bring special traditions, symbols, colors and even foods to enrich our faith life at home. Each of the 12 months of the year can be for our home like each of the 12 apostles: showcasing unique ways to share the Good News. It’s fitting to begin with May, the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here are 10 ways you can make your home bloom with Mary’s love:
1Decorate your table
Now is the time to bring out that blue tablecloth or runner, a color associate with Mary. Or give the kids each a piece of blue construction paper and have them decorate it to honor Our Lady. Then they can use it as a placemat. In some prominent place, display a statue or picture of Mary and add a bouquet.
2Make a Marian garden
Get a statue of Mary for your garden, then plant some special blooms. There are so many beautiful flowers and herbs associated with the Mother of Godsuch as roses; lilies of the valley (also known as Our Lady’s Tears); rosemary; marigolds (Mary’s Gold). Seven well-placed rocks could represent the “crown of the seven joys of Mary.” Ten stepping stones could signify a decade of Hail Mary’s and could assist you in praying a Rosary outdoors. Even a small patio, corner of a balcony, or kitchen window sill can offer space for a Mary garden.
3Have a May crowning
Children of all ages delight in a May Crowning. Even the littlest ones enjoy picking flowers to place before the statue or helping to make a flower crown.Craft wire and floral tape go far in helping you to shape flowers in a circlet, or you can use wire to fasten blooms to a blue or white pipe cleaner. You can also teach the children to make a daisy or flower chain making a small slit with your nails into each stem and weaving the stems together. Curving branches of forsythia make a beautiful crown. You may prefer to purchase a pre-made crown that you can re-use each year. Gather around the crowned statue, sing songs for Mary or say Marian prayers.
4Offer special Marian prayers
Add a Hail Mary after grace before meals. Say a family Rosary or just a decade together. Try a new Marian prayer that you haven’t prayed before, such as the Litany of Loreto, the Memorare, or the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows.
5Cook for the Queen
Make a special Marian-themed dinner. Here are some easy ideas: Since rosemary is the herb associated with Mary, you might try a dinner of rosemary chicken, and for dessert make a rosary or decade out of small cookies or miniature cupcakes. Decorate with confectionary roses or edible flower petals on the top, or blue or white icing. Or make a Bundt cake, which is naturally molded in the shape of a crown and can help recall Mary’s queenship. Decorate it colorfully.
6Play music that reminds you to think of Mary
Whether it’s Marian Gregorian chant, Bach’s Magnificat, orPavarotti’s Ave Maria, fill your home with the beautiful sounds of homage to our heavenly mother. If you can play an instrument, you might try your hand at playing anything from “On This Day O Beautiful Mother,” to “Gentle Woman.”
7Contemplate a Marian masterpiece
Religious art isn’t just for church. Search for classic works of art featuring Our Lady and find a favorite; then get a print for your home. Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli … the possibilities for beautiful images are plentiful.
8Read a Marian classic as prayer
Here are some suggestions: The Secret of the Rosary or True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montford; The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary; The Imitation of Mary by Thomas a Kempis; The World’s First Love: Mary, Mother of God by Fulton Sheen; or for a newer work try Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn.
9Make Saturdays special
Saturday is the day our Church sets aside for Our Blessed Mother. Make a short visit to a church that has a Marian chapel or statue and ask for Mary’s intercession. It’s a great day to focus on her and let her prepare you for receiving her Son in the Eucharist, either at the Saturday Vigil or on Sunday.
10Practice acts of charity
Choose one of the noted Marian feast days in May, such as Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Fatima (May 13); Mary, Help of Christians (May 24); or Feast of the Visitation (May 31), and do a special act of charity for an elderly relative, someone in need, a new mom, etc. And on Mother’s Day, find a special way you would like to honor your Heavenly Mother.