May is a wonderful month for so many reasons. Spring flowers are in full bloom, the air is fresh, and birds chirp as they happily feather their nests. It seems particularly appropriate in this month of beauty and fullness of life that we, as Catholics, honor Mary as the Mother of God. Mary gives us a wonderful example not only of a mother’s perfect love for her children, but also for how we should aim to live our lives.
5 Simple Ways to Be More Like Mary
Mary was conceived without sin, so when we look to her life to guide our own actions, we can see a reflection of what God’s will for us might be, if we were unencumbered by sin. Of course, none of us can say that we are actually free from the burden of sin in our daily lives, but we should all be striving to draw closer to God’s will and further from the sin that keeps us from receiving His merciful love.
So when we need some concrete examples on how to speak, act, and love each other, there’s no one better to turn to than Mary. Here are a few simple ways that we can be more like Mary this month.
1. Say yes.
In Scripture, Mary’s story starts with her “yes” to God. It was an affirmative charged with plenty of questions, but she gave her assent to God. And look what He did with her simple fiat.
What is God asking us to say "yes" to? What is that thing that seems difficult, scary, or even downright crazy to us that God keeps placing on our hearts? Is it a career change? Moving across the country? Being open to one more baby?
This month, ask yourself what God might be asking for you to do, and then work on finding the courage to say "yes" to His will for you.
2. Be humble.
Ever had someone ask you to do something really important for them? How did you feel? Maybe a little… proud? When someone asks much of me, I often feel flattered, but if I’m not careful, that feeling can turn into a sense that I must be pretty great if they thought I could handle it. Sometimes I get a big head. Or sometimes it manifests as false humility.
But when God asked Mary through the angel Gabriel to be the mother of God, she didn’t get a puffed up sense of herself. Nor did she try to convince God that she wasn’t good enough. She simply said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38). That is true humility. True humility is seeking only to do God’s will.
Where is God asking us to be more humble in our lives? It might look like doing a terrible chore (cleaning the shower! doing dishes!) that no one else will notice, without mentioning it. It might look like holding your tongue when you want to defend yourself by speaking against someone else. It might just mean smiling when someone gives you a compliment and saying thank you.
Mary gave us an example of a perfect humility so we can turn to her when we struggle.
3. Share your joy.
I don’t know about you, but if I had been Mary, I would have been pretty freaked out that I was carrying the Son of God. I think I would have wanted to hide. But not Mary. She left home to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also expecting a baby boy. They embraced each other and shared the joy of the miracles taking place within them. Mary didn’t keep her joy to herself. She shared it with her friend.
So often we forget that part of being in a family or a friendship is sharing joy with each other. Not just sharing some fun times, but truly reveling in the joys of others. Sometimes we can find it difficult to share in others’ joy when we’re hurting. Or we are hesitant to celebrate with others because we’re afraid they'll think we are bragging about the good happening to us.
But to hide away our joy is to hide away the best parts of what makes us human. God made us to know both sorrow and joy, and to experience both of those things in community.
Mary is the perfect person to help us be courageous in sharing our joy.
4. Make the big ask. Boldly.
When the wine ran out during the wedding feast at Cana, Mary went right to Jesus. She didn’t waste time saying, “Hey Jesus, I thought, um... maybe you could help? Could you? It really won’t be much trouble. If you can’t, it’s fine.” No. She went to Him and asked Him to fix it. Then she assumed He would.
Are we that confident in our prayer? Do we bring our troubles to Jesus and then leave them at His feet, believing that He’ll take care of them? What about in all aspects of our lives? Do we hang back from asking for what we want at work, at home, or with our friends because we’re scared someone will say no or we’ll be disappointed?
This month, pray for Mary’s intercession to be bold with your prayers and your hopes. Jesus never lets us down.
5. Walk with someone in their pain.
Few of us could even imagine the horror of having to watch someone you love being beaten, tortured, and killed. But Mary didn’t turn away. She stayed. She was with Jesus in His time of rejection and pain.
We might not be called to witness that kind of excruciating experience, but there are surely people in our own lives who are in crisis, who are struggling to get by, or who need someone to just sit with them in their suffering.
This might mean lending a listening ear when a friend is going through a bad breakup, or crying along with a family member when someone she loves has passed away. Christians are called to not turn away from suffering, not in ourselves, and not in those around us.
Mary gives us the perfect example of a love that never turns away and never gives up.
How are you trying to be more like Our Lady?
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Christina Kolb is a mama, writer, and enthusiastic pizza-eater, living in the Midwest, but mostly dreaming about living on the beach. Her hobbies include experimenting in the kitchen to get that perfect loaf of sourdough, reading enough to keep the local library in business with her fines, and soaking up the wonder and awe that is raising a sweet and wild brood of kids. You can find out more about her here.