Many things can be said about Catholics, but it can never be said that we don't honor our Mother! In addition to the myriad feast days honoring Our Lady in her many titles and virtues, the entire month of May is especially given to her praise.
May, when the earth blooms in springtime beauty, is an ideal time for our thoughts and sentiments to be directed towards this supremely lovely Queen of Heaven and Earth, who busily labors from her heavenly throne to conquer hearts, minds, and souls for the greater glory of her Son.
In the words of Pope Paul VI, May is "a month which the piety of the faithful has long dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God."
So, how can you honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in a special way this month, and allow her to conquer your own heart? Here are nine ideas.
1. FLOWER YOUR MARY STATUE
May crownings are one of the most popular ways to celebrate the month of Mary. Make a Crown of Flowers for your Mary Statue and/or adorn your indoor and outdoor Mary statues with fresh blooming flowers this month. Add a candle too for an extra touch. If you don't have a Mary statue, now would be a good time to get one. Even if it's just a small statue for your desk or nightstand, no Catholic should be without it!
2. PRAY A NOVENA TO OUR LADY
Sometime during the month of May, pray a novena to the Blessed Mother for a particular intention that you want to entrust to her Immaculate Heart, for yourself or for someone else. If you don't already have a favorite novena to Our Lady, try one of these three Novenas to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
3. SPREAD DEVOTION TO THE ROSARY
Outside of the Mass, there is no prayer more pleasing to Our Lady and more efficacious for her intercession than the Holy Rosary. If you don't already have the spiritual discipline, make an effort to pray the rosary daily.
If you already do this, consider encouraging others to do the same throughout this month. Get inspired by reading Our Lady’s 15 Promises to Those Who Pray Her Rosary and hand out rosaries with rosary instructions to others as the opportunity arises. There are many graces to be gained for those who preach the power of the holy rosary!
4. LEARN ABOUT A NEW MARIAN DEVOTION
Our Lady is the Mother of the Universal Church. There are many ways she has affected Christians in various times and places during these nearly 2,000 years since she walked the earth. It is fascinating to read the stories behind each one, and many are associated with miracles, apparitions, saints, and holy images. Will one of them touch you in a special way?
This month consider researching and adopting a special devotion to Mary under one of her many titles (find a short list here). For example, Our Lady of Fatima (whose feast is May 13th), Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady Undoer of Knots, Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This could become an annual tradition for you and your family to learn about a new Marian devotion each May. There are more of them than years in your life!
5. SHARE THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL
When Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Laboure and gave her the vision of the Miraculous Medal in 1830, she promised great graces to those who would wear the medal. It was called "Miraculous" by the faithful for good reason, as it became the means of conversion for even the most hardened of atheists to the truth of the Catholic faith. Consider buying a 25 pack of Miraculous Medals and have them blessed with this Blessing and Investiture of the Miraculous Medal, and distribute them as the Holy Spirit leads. Mary changes lives through the power of her sacramentals!
6. MEMORIZE A MARIAN PRAYER OR HYMN
You may already know the Memorare and the Hail Holy Queen by heart, and this month you can add more Marian hymns and prayers into your mental index. These prayers and hymns become a great solace during trying moments and can be recited often.
You can memorize this beautiful Prayer of Praise to Our Lady composed by St. Ephraim, or learn to sing traditional Marian hymns such as the Regina Caeli and the Salve Regina (the Hail Holy Queen in Latin). The below video is an excellent guide to learning to sing the Salve Regina for those who didn't grow up knowing it. It is an incredibly beautiful melody, and supernaturally consoling. Then you can sing this prayer after finishing your rosary instead of reciting it; and, as St. Augustine says, "He who sings prays twice."
7. GET INVESTED IN THE SCAPULAR
If you haven't been invested in the scapular, Mary's month is a good time to do it. A scapular is basically a mini religious habit for the laity, an outward symbol of your consecration to the Blessed Mother, that you wear daily underneath your clothes.
The original and most common scapular is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel which has special prayers and graces associated with it, namely the famous "Scapular Promise" that those who die wearing Our Lady's scapular will not spend eternity in hell. Most scapulars come with the proper prayer for investment (or enrollment) that the priest prays for you while blessing the scapular; if not, you can find it at the link immediately above.
The best way to increase your devotion to the Blessed Mother is simply by reading more about her. There is no shortage of great Catholic books on Mary that unpack the mysteries of her life, virtues, and perfect union with her son, Jesus, and the treasures of grace this unfolds in the life of every Christian who turns to her in faith. Make a goal to read one this month.
9. PRAY THE LITTLE OFFICE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is like the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) in that it is comprised of prayers said at various hours throughout the day, but different in that they are all in praise of Our Lady. Once upon a time in Church history the Little Office was the preferred way to pray the Hours for the laity. You can find a link to pray the Little Office online in our daily Morning Offering email, which you can sign up for at MorningOffering.com.
HOW WILL YOU CELEBRATE THE MONTH OF MAY?
Pope Paul VI wrote a beautiful encyclical on the Month of May in which he describes how the faithful reserve this month to honor Mary in a special way:
“For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God’s merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother’s throne.”
Pope Paul VI goes on to say that May is an opportune time to let our petitions fly to Our Lady—especially for the needs of the Church and the whole human race—that most urgently require our Blessed Mother’s intercession.
What would you add to this list of ways to celebrate the Month of Mary?
Do you want to celebrate the Month of Mary by learning more about the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, in honor of the 100th anniversary? If so, sign up for our new 30-day content series unpacking the complete Fatima story at GoodCatholic.com. You don't want to miss it!
This article has been updated and was originally published in May 2016. Copyright © The Catholic Company. All rights reserved.