During May, the church encourages Catholics to celebrate and deepen their relationship with Our Lady. One way to do this is through Marian devotions, or acts of prayer. The most familiar Marian devotion is the rosary, but there is a rich tradition of other devotions in the church.
Some devotions are tied to images, such as the Black Madonna of Poland, or apparitions, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Fatima. Many are related to the liturgical calendar, and all are an expression of our love for Our Mother, but with the awareness she will help us to know her Son.
A few Marian devotions for May and year-round
The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel - A scapular is two small panels of cloth, either oblong or square, connected by a loop of string. It should be worn continually around the neck as a silent prayer. There are many scapulars, but the best known is the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. According to tradition, in 1251 Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite. She handed him a scapular and said: "This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that he who dies in this will not suffer eternal fire." To gain this promise, available to all Catholics, a priest must enroll you in the Confraternity of the Scapular.
The Angelus - This prayer, with origins in 11th-century Italy, commemorates the mystery of the Incarnation, that the Son of God assumed complete human nature and was born of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. It traditionally is recited at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m.
The Loreto Litanies - Containing many titles for Mary, the litany was approved by Pope Sixtus V in 1587. Over the years, the church has added invocations, including "Queen Conceived Without Original Sin" and "Queen of Families."
Mary, Undoer of Knots Novena - The theology behind Mary, Undoer of Knots likely goes back to the second century and St. Irenaeus, who wrote: "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith."
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary - The “Little Office” is helpful for those who pray because it combines the objective structure of the Church’s prayer with the warmth of Marian devotion. The “Little Office” is an imitation of the Church’s official prayer, called the Liturgy of the Hours, and is composed primarily from the Psalms.
Consecration to Jesus through Mary - St. Louis de Montfort, a French priest who was a Dominican tertiary, popularized this project in his book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In a certain sense, this is not a single devotion but the culmination of a fullness of devotion to Mary. As he says, “we consecrate ourselves at one and the same time to Mary and to Jesus. We give ourselves to Mary because Jesus chose her as the perfect means to unite himself to us and unite us to him.”
During the month of May strive to learn a new Marian Devotion or strive to pray the Rosary!
Resources from: Dominicana; The Arlington Catholic Herald