8 ways to honor Mary this May

Our Lady plays a pivotal role in our salvation. The Church asserts this, bestowing the titles “Co-redemptrix” and “Mediatrix of All Graces” upon her. Yet, prior to these titles, Christ imparts upon Mary a name more fitting and endearing: that of mother. In a final act of love toward humanity, Christ entrusted Mary to St. John on the cross, gifting the Church — and subsequently each Christian — his mother.

As God’s mother, Mary intimately knows her son. Being the fairest of all creation — by virtue of her Immaculate Conception — she is most conformed of all humanity to Christ. As our mother, Mary personally knows and loves each of us. Her maternal love for both her son and for us her children incites within her a burning desire for us to continually deepen our love for her son and be united to him.

Want more Radiant? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Turning to Mary, we discover she readily shares insights into Christ’s life, reveals ways to grow closer to him and intercedes for us — as she once did for the newlyweds in Cana. Her mediation is so powerful, St. Bernard of Clairvaux emphasizes: “with her for a guide, you shall never go astray … so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor you shall reach the goal.”

May, dedicated to Mary, invites us to grow closer to our Blessed Mother by incorporating various Marian devotions into our daily life. Here are eight devotions to grow our love for Mary this month.

Pray the Rosary

After Mary gifted St. Dominic the Rosary, he saw a vision of souls climbing into heaven by means of it. And so, the Rosary — Mary’s stairway to heaven — is a powerful vehicle of grace, one which we should utilize.

If praying a whole Rosary seems daunting, consider reciting a daily decade until you build up to praying the five decades. Those who occasionally pray the Rosary, take to heart Mary’s request at Fatima and pray the Rosary daily. Carry the rosary on you, leave one in the car, or pray the five mysteries at a certain time each day. Utilize resources such as a scriptural Rosary or contemplative Rosary to help you meditate upon the mysteries. Finally, ask Mary for a deeper love of the Rosary and to share the mysteries of her son’s life with you — after all, in this prayer we contemplate Christ’s life through Mary’s eyes. As Mary desires all to know and love her son, she will not refuse such a request!

Meditate on the Litany of Loreto

Originating in the 1500’s, the Litany of Loreto provides beautiful Marian images worthy of meditation. We can pray through this litany, pausing at a Marian title, which the Holy Spirit draws us to ponder or by picking one ourselves. By doing so, Mary beckons us to invoke her intercession under various titles and reveals deeper aspects of her motherhood and virtues to us. For instance, when considering Mary as the Ark of the Covenant, we reflect upon Mary carrying Christ within her womb and ask our mother to grow within us a deeper awareness of the divine indwelling within our soul. Similarly, in navigating life’s storms and when seeking guidance, we may approach Mary as Star of the Sea or Mother Most Prudent.

Recite the Angelus

The Angelus, traditionally prayed three times a day — 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m., makes present the Incarnation and Paschal Mysteries, recalls Mary’s integral role in our salvation and aids us in remaining open to God’s will and inspirations throughout the day. When we interrupt our day to pause and consciously pray the Angelus, we imitate Mary’s receptivity at the Annunciation. Following Mary’s example, we reorientate our hearts and minds to God, offer him our very selves and place the day’s occurrences in his hands. Living in a digital age helps to faithfully retain this devotion. Consider setting a timer on your smart watch or phone for the appointed times, and allow Mary to help you proclaim your own fiats — no matter how small — throughout the day.

Pray the Magnificat

Pope Benedict XVI notes Mary’s greatness consists in she magnified God, not herself. The Church recalls this, echoing Mary’s song of praise — the Magnificat — during evening prayer. When praying the Magnificat, we emulate Mary’s greatness by glorifying God and recalling his mercies throughout salvation history and our own lives.

Incorporate the Magnificat into your daily routine by commencing or ending the day with it. As you pray each verse, pause and allow God to remind you of his work, goodness and presence throughout the events of your day and life. Recalling God’s mercies and providence — past and present — will deepen your trust in God, for he who has provided for you will continue to do so.

Consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary

The Church in Spain venerates Mary under the patronage of the Virgen del Camino — the Virgin of the Way. This title befits Mary as she models perfect discipleship. When we consecrate ourselves to Mary, we place our lives in her hands, asking that she lead and accompany us on life’s journey. St. Louis de Montfort explains that Marian consecration prompts us to do everything through, with, in and for Mary, “in order to do it more perfectly” through, with, in and for Jesus. If you feel called to consecrate yourself to Mary, you can do so with many resources, such as St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration, “33 Days to Morning Glory,” St. Maximilan Kolbe’s Consecration to the Immaculata, “Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus through Mary with Saint John Paul II” or “Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children.

Commit to the Five First Saturdays

When Mary appeared to Sister Lucia — one of the Fatima visionaries — she requested the faithful make reparation for the offenses against her Immaculate Heart for five consecutive first Saturdays. In satisfying this request, on the first Saturday, one must receive holy Communion, go to confession — eight days prior or following the first Saturday — pray the Rosary, and meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary — either one mystery or more — with the intention of making reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To faithfully retain this devotion, consider inviting a friend to join you, or check your parish or nearby churches to see if they offer First Saturday devotions.

Wear a Miraculous Medal

St. Catherine Laboure commissioned the Miraculous Medal after Mary appeared to the French nun, asking that a medal be struck in her honor. On the medal, Mary’s extended hands emit light. Here Mary instructs she is Mediatrix of All Graces as the rays of light represent the graces Mary readily bestows upon those who ask. The medal serves as a visual reminder not to hesitate in bringing our petitions before Mary throughout the day, confident she will secure graces from her son. If at times we cannot express the depth of our need, we can simply utter the words encircled around Mary’s image: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” If you wish to honor Mary and seek her aid in this simple way, shop around to find a miraculous medal you like — and don’t forget to have it blessed!

Wear the Brown Scapular

A beautiful way to commend our lives to Mary is by wearing the Brown Scapular. Tradition holds that Mary gifted the Brown Scapular to St. Simon Stock — prior of the Carmelites — as part of the Carmelite habit in 1251. Over time, a smaller version of this scapular was developed for the lay faithful to wear. This sacramental visually assures Mary’s intercession and protection in our lives and encourages us to call upon her throughout the day, especially in moments of temptation. To those who devoutly wear and die clothed in her garment, Mary promises they will not suffer eternal fire.

You can acquire a scapular either at your local or online Catholic shop. In order to obtain the graces and promises of the Brown Scapular, be sure to have a priest bless your first scapular and enroll you in the Brown Scapular Confraternity; once enrolled, you do not need any subsequent scapulars you wear to be blessed!

By integrating these Marian devotions into our lives, we seek Mary’s guidance on our earthly pilgrimage. We honor our mother who unceasingly intercedes for us and presents us to her son. Honoring Mary in these simple ways will ultimately deepen our love for Christ, for as St. Louis de Montfort writes, loving Mary is a means of “finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving him tenderly, and of serving him faithfully.”

@Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.