Check out these ways you can grow in your devotion to the Virgin Mary while staying at home.
1. DECORATE YOUR TABLENow’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.
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.
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.
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.
Whether it’s Marian Gregorian chant, Bach’s Magnificat or Pavarotti’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.”
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!
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.
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!