I have a huge devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but I’m impeded by a lack of design skill (or interest, really) and a streak of laziness that allows me to be overwhelmed at the drop of a flower.
Last year, I pulled myself together enough to clear a space on a shelf and have a May altar of sorts. Not only did I get a statue dusted off enough to be presentable, but I also worked with my kids to keep the flowers around the statue fresh.
I found myself surprised — shocked, really — that it was fun. The kids got involved, the flowers cheered me up, and I inserted some beauty into my home without it hurting my domestic arts challenged tendencies.
And so, because I’m all about taking something good and making it into more than I can deal with, I got to thinking about other ways our family could honor the Blessed Mother, both in May and beyond. I tried to think of things that wouldn’t crush my mental (in)capacity for planning and execution.
Here are five ideas I came up with. We’ll see if I actually use any of them…but if you do, let me know!
I have pictures of Mary in each room of our home, but there’s no reason they can’t move around. I’ve thought of making a “moveable” picture section for each room, to allow for various seasonal or special pictures of Mary to be displayed throughout our home, including the kids’ rooms.
I loved our success with the May altar last year, and having the right-in-front-of-us reminder of our devotion to Mary. I found toys by “Mama Mary,” and I overheard my then-four-year-old asking if Mary liked horses (and then, in typical preschooler fashion, answering for her—in the affirmative, of course).
Mary became less distant in that month where we had her in arm’s reach, and I’d like my kids to continue to seek Mary in the same way. I’m going to take back that space, which has morphed back to “junk holding place,” and rotate some statues and images through it once May is over. I hope someday to have a place where we can kneel and sit quietly as well, but that’s beyond my current abilities.
Feast Day Festivities
Each of my children were born on a Marian feast day, so I have a great starting place for a fun extension of the birthday fun. I plan to highlight “their Mary,” get an image blown up and laminated, and make a special dessert to celebrate. Maybe we’ll work together to write our own prayer for the intercession of each of these titles of Mary as we explore the facets and highlights of the Blessed Mother’s apparitions and titles.
Before you run screaming from this article, let me put your suspicions to rest: I haven’t yet figured out how to pray a family rosary. It’s been on my heart that this is something we need to do and the bottleneck is me. What I need to do is make this something that appeals to the kids. I’m going to start by taking it outside and making it into a sport. As we exercise our spiritual muscles, we’ll run and jump and cheer.
My little girls (and my boy, too) love flowers. And so do I! Why not continue to have flowers for Mary’s feast days and special observances? A bouquet from the store isn’t usually much more than the Happy Meal or coffee I splurge on every so often, and I’d say it’s money better spent. It will give us the visual beauty to remind us of Mary.
image: “Under Your Patronage” by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr