Antoni Viladomat y Manalt, “‘Rebuild My Church’: Jesus Gives St. Francis the Indulgence of the Portiuncula,” c. 1723 (Public Domain)
The more we know Mary, the more we will love her, and the more we love her, the more we will love her Son.
To know the Blessed Mother is to love her. It is why Catholics sing her praises, crown her queen during the month of May and even name churches after her. We love our Blessed Mother, just as Jesus does. Love, however, needs nurturing to be kept alive. Here are 10 ways to stoke the flames of love for the Blessed Mother.
1. Ask Jesus to impart the love he has for his mother into your heart. No one can match the love Jesus has or his mother, but we can ask him to help us to love her more.
2. Invite Mary to come for you. Marge Fenelon, author of My Queen, My Mother, shared with me how she came to love our Blessed Mother so much. “I tell people that the Blessed Mother initiated the relationship with me first. I was consecrated to her by Father Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt, when I was a year old. She’s had her grip on me since and she’s always been a part of my life. As I grew older, I understood more and more how desperately I need her.”
3. Ask the angels to lift your heart up to Mary. One of her titles is Queen of the Angels. Angels are pure spirits and messengers of God, watching and guiding us, desiring our holiness with a close relationship with their queen.
4. Implore the intercession of St. Padre Pio. On May 6, 1913, he wrote to Fr. Agostino of San Marco in Lamis: “This most tender Mother in her great mercy, wisdom and goodness, has punished me in a most exalted manner, by pouring so many great graces into my heart that when I am in her presence, or that of Jesus, I am compelled to exclaim, ‘Where am I? Who is near me? I am all aflame. I feel myself held fast and bound to the Son by means of his Mother.’”
5. Pray the Stations of the Cross through the Eyes of Mary. While meditating on the suffering of Jesus, imagine what it must have been like for his mother. Also seven graces were promised through St. Bridget for the Seven Sorrows of Mary devotion. Reflect on each Christ-centered sorrow and say a Hail Mary for each one.
6. Consecrate yourself to Mary using this prayer or consider the 33-day Total Consecration imparted through St. Louis de Montfort. There is also 33 Days to Morning Glory by Father Michael Gaitley. Pope Pius XII said that the consecration “tends essentially to union with Jesus, under the guidance of Mary.”
Anthony DeStefano, bestselling author of more than 20 Christian books, explained in a recent interview that his life took a dramatic turn after he consecrated it to Mary. “I remember praying to God when I was in my teens and early twenties — even when I wasn’t sure that God existed — to help me get just one book published. For years, though, I couldn’t come up with any good ideas for books. But after I consecrated myself to Our Lady, I couldn’t stop the ideas from coming for books. It was as if someone turned on a light switch in my head. And every single one of the books I wrote had one purpose — to help lead people to Christ.”
His latest — where his love of Mary shines through — is the children’s book Our Lady's Wardrobe.
7. Pray the Rosary. As Padre Pio said, “Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.”
In numerous Church-approved apparitions, the Blessed Mother asked us to pray a Rosary daily — a habit of the saints. It is centered on Jesus in union with his Blessed Mother as is each Hail Mary. For inspiration, Father Donald Calloway has written 5 books on the Rosary. His own radical conversion story which began with falling in love with Our Blessed Mother.
8. Learn about the Miraculous Medal and Brown Scapular. The Miraculous Medal was given to St. Catherine Labouré offering us an outpouring of graces from Heaven. Wearing the medal and praying daily, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee,” showers graces upon us from heaven through Mary.
And the Brown Scapular given to St. Simon Stock from Our Blessed Mother offers divine protection from the fire of hell.
9. Sit before a statue or image of Mary to feel closer as you talk with her and contemplate that while the rest of the world tells us not to sweat the small stuff, Mary tells us to give it to her. Our Lord’s first miracle in the Bible came about because Mary wanted to save someone from the embarrassment of running out of wine. She looks out for us.
10. Read Martin Luther’s writings on the Blessed Mother. Forgotten in the ongoing drift from Catholic teachings is that the father of Protestantism was very devoted to Our Lady. He held dear the traditional Catholic Marian doctrines. It will surprise some to know that Martin Luther stated that we should pray to Mary.
This, Catholics know. And the more we know Mary, the more we will love her, and the more we love her, the more we will love her Son, whom we understand is the only intercessor between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).