We’ve started a new ritual around our house. After quiet time we gather around the kitchen table, pull out Madeline’s silver-plated tea set from GG (Great Grandmother Jean) and fill its teapot with tea. (Although tea is sometimes optional – it’s still hot down here in Georgia, so cold milk or water with a hint of lemon is often our beverage of choice). Our tea time doesn’t happen every day, but eventually I’d like it to be as much a part of our daily routine as teethbrushing. Something we always do.
During tea time, we sometimes act goofy. Sometimes we dip freshly-baked scones into our tea (make the scones with chocolate chips and you’re in trouble). We always pray and use this time to talk about Mary. Yesterday we lit a candle in honor of Our Lady and another candle for Daddy, who was off taking an important test.
We also read from a lovely book a former homeschooling aunt of mine passed along to me called Leading Little Ones to Mary. The book offers a Marian program with the sole purpose of filling children with a genuine love and devotion to Mary. Although the book is designed for first graders and older (according to its intro), I’ve found it’s appropriate for preschoolers. Madeline loves imagining she is a “little Mary” going about her day with a mission of loving and serving others.
Now I know some of my Protestant sisters and brothers don’t understand the Catholic devotion to Mary. While I don’t want to get into a theological discussion about the Marian doctrines, I will just mention this to briefly explain why I pray to Mary. In college, I belonged to an interdenominational Bible study and when the topic of Mary came up, I was asked in the charity of Christ why I sometimes prayed to her and not always to God. Likewise, I’ve heard non-Catholics cite 1 Timothy 2:5 as “proof” that we should not be praying to anyone but God. “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself for ransom for all.” Yet, if you read further, you’ll see that Paul commands all Christians to be mediators and intercessors for all men. I’ve certainly had Christian brothers and sisters ask me for their prayers. So, then why shouldn’t I ask Mary for her prayers? Why is it impossible for me to believe that Mary can pray to her own son on our behalf?
For me, praying to Mary has always come natural and now even more so that I’m a mom. When I’m tired or frustrated or consumed by anxiety for my children’s welfare, I know there’s a mom – besides my own mom whom I often lean on for maternal empathy and advice – who’s been there.
Because of my own devotion to Mary, I want my children to know her, too. I want them to love her as I do. I want my girls to look to our Blessed Mother as the model of womanhood. I want them to pray the Rosary when they are grateful, sad, uncertain, joyous, sitting with their mommy sipping tea, and one day alone in their college dorms or when they, too, become parents.
This whole post is the result of a prompt I received from a friend inviting me to participate in the next Mary Moments Carnival. She asked, “What do you give a mother who has everything? What will your gift to Mary be this year?”
Here’s my short answer: My gift to Our Lady is teatime with my girls. More importantly, it’s giving Our Blessed Mother more children to look after. My gift to Mary is my children.