How Mary Can Help Us Have a Fruitful Lent
Lent is here and you may be wondering how to make the most of it. Despite what many Christians may think, Lent is not about seeing how difficult you can make life for yourself with tough penances and giving up the things you enjoy. Rather, it’s about growing closer to God and refocusing on your relationship with Him.
That said, you can certainly give up things if they are keeping you from God - but you can also add devotions. One way to make your Lent particularly fruitful is to invite the Blessed Mother into your Lent devotions. Let’s explore a few ways to do that!
Why Mary is Important
But first, we should consider why Mary is important. Mary is the Mother of Jesus, and as such, throughout Christian history she has been known also as the Mother of God. She is a model for humility and faith in saying “yes” to being the Mother of the Messiah, and tradition honors her as sinless and immaculately conceived.
As Catholics we do not worship her, but give her special veneration and due reverence. We ask for her intercession and believe that she intercedes for us before her Son.
Meditate on Mary’s Life
One of the ways we can invite Mary into our Lent practices is to meditate on her life. Consider spending a few minutes each day throughout Lent reading Scripture where Mary is mentioned or just contemplating her life and faith. She teaches us great faith in her “yes” in the Annunciation, and this can give us courage and faith to say “yes” to God when He asks us to do something in our own lives.
We can also consider her words at the Wedding at Cana, when she tells the servants to “do whatever He tells you”. This verse sums up Mary’s role well - we give her reverence and veneration, but she always points us to her Son.
Pray the Rosary
Another way to invite Mary into Lent is to begin praying the Rosary each day. And if you haven't prayed the rosary before or are starting again, to start off you could pray one decade a day or one decade at a time.
The Rosary is an important contemplative and meditative prayer that helps us meditate on the life of Christ. Each decade consists of reciting 10 Hail Mary’s while we contemplate the Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous, and Glorious mysteries. For example, for the Sorrowful mysteries, you spend 10 beads or Hail Mary’s meditating on Jesus Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion. It is a powerful way to meditate deeply on these important moments of Jesus’ life and what they mean for our lives and our faith. Many of these mysteries also allow us to contemplate the mysteries from the perspective of Mary, which is a powerful way to see her as our Mother and Intercessor, as well.
Pray the Stations of the Cross
A popular Lent devotion is the Stations of the Cross. This is a series of prayers and readings that lead you through various points along Jesus’ way to His death on the Cross such as when He is arrested, scourged, meets His Mother, and so on. Contemplating Mary’s role in the Way of the Cross is a powerful practice to consider her love for humanity for the way she watched her Son suffer and die for our sins.
Learn Other Marian Prayers
If none of the above sounds interesting or feasible for your Lenten journey, consider learning other Marian prayers that you can incorporate into your spiritual life, such as the Memorare. It is a powerful and reassuring prayer, written below:
Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, My Mother, to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
And lastly, consider spending some time becoming acquainted with a number of Marian apparitions such as Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima, or Our Lady of Knock. Each has a unique story that gives insight into Mary’s love for humanity.
Journey with Mary through Lent!
This Lent, spend some time getting to know the Blessed Virgin Mary better and invite her into your spiritual life. You can do so by praying the Rosary, learning other Marian prayers and devotions, and reading up on some of the most well-known Marian apparitions. You can be confident that she will always lead you closer to her son Jesus Christ!
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