Autumn brings cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and plenty of Marian feast days! We just celebrated Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary on October 7, and will celebrate Our Lady of Mercy next month on November 16. Then we celebrate the Presentation of Mary in the temple on November 21, her Immaculate Conception on December 8, and Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. Here are 30 ways to get closer to Mary this fall, to prepare our hearts to more closely embrace the beautiful mother Our Lord gave us on the Cross. (Don’t forget to check out the great links!)
1. Buy Mary flowers at the grocery store and leave the bunch at the foot of her statue.
2. Buy a single flower and leave it at the foot of her statue.
3. Buy her a card saying you love her/miss her/thank her, sign it and mail it to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
4. Write a poem about her. Not big on poetry? Don’t have much time? Start with a haiku. (It’s just 17 syllables.)
5. Buy a balloon. Write a short message on a small piece of paper to the Virgin Mary. Tape the paper to the balloon and send it heavenward.
6. Buy yourself a blue coat or robe, to symbolize putting yourself under the Blessed Virgin’s mantle. (Her mantle is usually blue in art, to symbolize the sky, which covers all believers.)
7. Mentally talk to her throughout your day about the details of your life, even the mundane ones. (Bonus points if you call her “Mom” in this conversation.)
8. Make a quilt in her honor and sleep under it yourself or give it to someone you want to put under the Virgin’s protection (I have one for my sister in the works). Make sure it includes some blue and maybe even fleur-de-lis in the fabrics or quilting, which is a traditional symbol of the Blessed Virgin.
9. Make a “Marian Cookie Decorating Kit” for a family with small kids, making sure the dozen cookies you include are cutouts of stars (12 stars, get it?). Make sure you include some blue frosting, gel, or sprinkles!
10. Pray the rosary. Or just pray part of the rosary. (Mother Mary appreciates even half-finished rosaries.)
11. Pray the Hail, Holy Queen. Add it to your morning or bedtime routine.
12. Go to Burger King. Get yourself one of the paper crowns. Proudly wear is around town like I did (see left), to let the world know you really are the daughter of the Queen of Heaven. (Who cares if no one else knows why you’re wearing it? Mary does.)
13. Memorize the Scripture chapter and verses that comprise the root of the Hail Mary, so you can explain why it’s biblical to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
14. Read up on the Marian doctrines so you’re ready to defend your mother’s place in salvation history.
15. Buy a T-shirt with her on it. Wear it proudly. (Or any shirt proclaiming Mary as your beloved mother.)
16. Put a Marian bumper sticker on your car. Like one of these.
17. Frame a 4×6 picture of the Blessed Virgin and put it around your home or on your desk, just like you would of any close loved one.
18. Laminate a small picture of Mary and carry it around in your wallet.
19. Redecorate your bedroom in blues and browns, to symbolize that your restful haven is under the protection of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth (I did).
20. Start a journal, writing your entries to “Dear Mary” or better yet, “Dear Mother.” Pour your heart out to her. Here’s even one with her picture on it.
21. Meditate on Our Lady of Sorrows.
22. Consecrate yourself to Mary using the book Consecration to Mary: 33 Days to Morning Glory by Michael E. Gaitley (a more concise, easier-to-follow version of St. Louis de Montfort’s traditional consecration).
23. Buy and wear a miraculous medal or scapular.
24. Plant a Marian garden. And if you live in Alaska (like me), just plant an indoor Marian garden.
25. Set up a small area in your home to honor the Blessed Virgin, complete with statues, prayer cards, rosaries, a candle (or flameless candle, for the little ones), and a small kneeler. Who says you can only do this in May? (I promise your children won’t be able to stay away.)
26. Attend Mass one day during the week, thus honoring Mary by honoring her Son. Thank Jesus for giving us His mother as our own.
27. Send a Marian e-card to a friend who could use a spiritual lift.
28. Read a book about Mary by one of the saints or modern authors who love her, too.
29. Hang a picture of the Blessed Mother in a prominent place in your home.
30. Fill your home with music that praises Mary. Here’s a 10-disk set with 100 pieces for just $20.