Check out these ways you can grow in your devotion to the Virgin Mary while staying at home.
Each of the 12 months of the year has a Catholic devotional theme. It’s a great way to bring special traditions, symbols, colors and even foods to enrich our faith life at home. It’s a special blessing during this time that so many of us are self-quarantined. Here are 10 ways you can make your home bloom with love to Mary, to make your domestic church come alive with faith and love to comfort you and increase your prayer life.
1Decorate your table
Now’s the time to bring out that blue tablecloth or runner, in honor of 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 a prominent place near by, display a statue or picture of Mary. Add a bouquet if possible. At grace before meals, add a special prayer to Mary.
2Make a Mary garden
Get a statue of Mary for your garden, then honor her by planting some special blooms. There are so many beautiful flowers and herbs associated with Our Lady,such 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 Marys and could assist you in praying your Rosary outdoors. Can’t get to the store to buy flowers? Sit outside if you are able, and pray the Rosary or Magnificat as you marvel at the signs of spring, like a reminder of the Annunciation all around you. Don’t have a garden or access to outdoors these days? Take an online tour of Mary’s Garden at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
3Have a May crowning
Children of all ages delight in a May crowning. If you have a garden, the littlest ones in the family will enjoy picking flowers to place before the statue or helping to make a flower crown.If you don’t have access to fresh flowers during quarantine, try making a crown out of paper flowers, made from colored tissue paper, flowers drawn and colored on paper, then glued in a circlet, or a gold pipe cleaner. Gather around the crowned statue, sing songs for Mary or say Marian prayers. No crown? Just gather near a statue of Mary and make a “crown” out of singing 12 songs to her, or reading 12 prayers to Mary. Each of the 12 you recite will symbolize one of the 12 stars in her crown as mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
4Offer special Marian prayers
5Cook for the Queen
Make a special Marian-themed dinner. Here’s 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 a decade of beads using cookies or cupcakes. Decorate with confectionary roses on the top or blue icing. Or a Bundt cake, naturally made in the molded shape of a crown, would help recall Mary’s queenship. Decorate it colorfully.
6Play music for Mary
Whether it’s Marian Gregorian chant, Bach’sMagnificat 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 beauty abound!
8Read a Marian book as prayer
9Make Saturdays special
Saturday is the day our Church sets aside for Our Blessed Mother, the Mediatrix. Offer all your Saturday chores and obligations to Mary. Add a special tradition to your quarantined Saturdays. It’s a great way to prevent all the days from running into each other and remembering your heavenly mother in a way that makes that day of the week stand out as special. Start the Five First Saturdays Devotion this month, substituting Confession and Holy Eucharist with making an Act of Contrition and an Act of Spiritual Communion.
10Practice acts of charity for love of Mary
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 the Feast of the Visitation (May 31), and do a special act of charity for an elderly relative or someone in need. Try sending a box of food or Mass card to someone going through hard times. Ask Our Lady to pray for them and let them know you are with them in prayer. And on Mother’s Day, find a special way to honor both your earthly mother and your Heavenly Mother!