Throughout Lent, many people deepen their prayer life with spiritual practices and devotions.
Some choose to pray the rosary daily. Others pray the Stations of the Cross. Some might even sing the Stabat Mater along the way.
Mary is an excellent companion during the Lenten season, especially her messages and apparitions.
Prayer, penance, and almsgiving are the three pillars of the Lenten season. In Our Lady’s approved apparitions, she directs us to these pillars and encourages us to live them.
In the village of Beauraing in Belgium, Our Lady appeared to five children. She told the children to “pray, pray very much, pray always.”
In other apparitions, Our Lady told the seers for what or who they should pray.
In Fatima, she requested they pray the rosary for peace in the world. In Champion, Wisconsin, she requested they offer their holy communion for the conversion of sinners.
Not only did Our Lady tell us who or what to pray for, she requested different methods of prayer. Mary encourages us to become more prayerful, as well as intercessors for others.
Our Lenten observance also emphasizes penance. Our Lady also requested this in her apparitions.
To St. Bernadette in Lourdes she said, “penance, penance, penance.”
At Fatima, she told the three children to offer their small sacrifices out of love for God and the Immaculate in reparation for sin and the conversion of sinners.
We fast and make acts of self-denial throughout Lent. Be sure to offer these sacrifices to God as a prayer. As you do so, Mary will accompany you on your Lenten journey, for she encouraged us to do penances.
The third element of Lent is almsgiving in our care and support for the poor.
In Mary’s Magnificat, she prays that God “casts down the mighty from their thrones and lifts up the lowly.” Mary has a special place in her prayer and heart for the poor.
The visionaries in Our Lady’s apparitions came from poor families. St. Bernadette’s family was incredibly poor. In Lourdes, the sick and those poor in health come and pray for healing.
In 1933 when Mary appeared to Mariette Beco in Banneux, Belgium, she told the child she was the “Virgin of the Poor.”
During this season of almsgiving, we journey with a woman who identifies with the poor, and allow those who are poor financially, physically, spiritually, or emotionally, to turn to her motherly intercession.
Throughout your Lenten journey, consider doing so in prayer with the Blessed Virgin. And if you’d like, listen to Mary’s words from her approved apparitions and allow them to guide your life, not only during Lent, but for the rest of your life.