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Honoring the Blessed Mother

Mar 28, 2016

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Honoring the Blessed Mother

Use this elementary school lesson in a reading, art, music, or religion class. Spend the first half of class reading the stories of the Annunciation and the Visitation. After the discussion, choose an activity from the list or complete the suggested craft.

You can also adapt this lesson to use in conjunction with a Marian feast day, such as September 8 (Mary’s birthday), October (the month of the rosary), December 8 (the Immaculate Conception), March 25 (the Annunciation), May 17 (the feast of Our Lady of Fatima), August 15 (feast of the Assumption of Mary), etc.

Lesson overview

In this lesson, students will learn about why we honor Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus, for saying yes to God and becoming a key instrument in our salvation and an intercessor for us in heaven. We will also take at look at Mary’s role in the culture of life.

Lesson objectives

After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand Mary’s role in God’s plan of salvation
  • See how each of us has a unique calling or vocation to do God’s will
  • Explain Mary’s role in building a culture of life
Materials needed for this lesson
  • construction paper
  • cardstock to make a card
  • glue
  • scissors
  • coloring pages (included with this lesson)
Other resources

www.ourcatholicprayers.com/magnificat.html

Procedure
  1. Read the lesson entitled “In Honor of Our Lady” found below and explain it to the children.
  2. Utilize discussion questions throughout the lesson to help engage students.
  3. Choose one of the activities for reinforcement to complete with your students.
  4. Complete the Flowers for Our Lady craft project.
  5. End the lesson with a prayer.
In Honor of Our Lady  

The Blessed Mother was a very special person. From the moment of her creation, she was free from sin. God gave Mary this special grace because for all of time His plan for her was to be the mother of the Savior of the world, the mother of God’s own Son whom He was sending to the world to save us from our sins.

Announcement of the Birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)

Read the Bible verses aloud to the students and use the discussion questions provided to engage the students.

…The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

  • What was Mary’s reaction to the angel Gabriel’s greeting?
  • What did the angel tell her would happen if she said yes to God?
  • What did the angel tell Mary about her cousin Elizabeth?
  • What was Mary’s response to the angel?

When the Angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Mother, she was only a very young teenager. She must have been frightened, but with great faith, she said yes to God’s plan with these words:

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

We call this her fiat. The word “fiat” means yes, but not just a “yes, yeah, or ok!” A fiat is a total and complete agreement the will of God. It’s like saying, “My God, I trust in You that You alone know what is best for my life. I give my life completely to You.” At Mary’s fiat, she became the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.

Just like Mother Mary, we all have a special calling from God that we received at the very first moment of our creation, when we were no bigger than a poppy seed. God didn’t force His plan on Mary. God gave Mary the choice of whether or not she agreed to be the Mother of of His Son, Jesus Christ. God gives each of us the gift of free will and just like Mother Mary, we must say yes to His plan for us.

  • How do you think Mary felt when she said yes to God? Did her fear or confusion prevent her from making the right decision? How can we follow Mary’s example of complete obedience to God in our own lives?
  • How can we imitate Mary’s yes to God in our lives?

Without a thought for herself, Mary immediately went to her cousin Elizabeth. The greeting that transpired between them is one of the most beautiful passages of the Bible. It is called the Magnificat which is Latin for “my soul magnifies” and is also referred to as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55).

Mary Visits Elizabeth (Luke 1:37-45)

Read the Bible verses aloud to the students and use the discussion questions provided to engage the students.

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

  • Why did Saint John the Baptist jump for joy when Mary approached?
  • How did St. Elizabeth greet Mary? Why was she happy that Mary came to visit her? What did she realize about Mary’s coming?
The Canticle of Mary

Read the Magnificat aloud with the students.

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;

   behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

The Mighty One has done great things for me,

   and holy is his name.

His mercy is from age to age

   to those who fear him.

He has shown might with his arm,

   dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.

He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones

   but lifted up the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things;

   the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped Israel his servant,

   remembering his mercy,

according to his promise to our fathers,

   to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Mary’s magnificat is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God for all the wonderful things He has done in her life and in the lives of the Israelites.

Activities for reinforcement

1. Listen to a hymn version of the Magnificat sung by the Daughters of Mary (about 4 minutes).Mary’s Magnificat has also been adapted by many classical composers. Listen to Magnificat in D Major by. J.S. Bach (about 29 minutes).

2. View some artistic interpretations of the Annunciation and the Visitation.

Fra Angelico’s Annunciation

Visitation Icon

3. Study a preborn baby’s development

Look at the paintings of Mary and Elizabeth at the Visitation which portray Jesus and John the Baptist inside their moms. We know that while babies are growing inside mom, they roll, hiccup, suck their thumbs, smile, and like St. John the Baptist, jump for joy. They respond to music and to voices they know. The story of the Visitation reminds us that preborn babies are people too!

Go over these developmental stages with your students: 

4. Write your own version of the Magnificat. Older students may enjoy writing a prayer of thanksgiving to God, mentioning the many small and large blessings He has given us throughout our lives.

Flowers for Our Lady Spiritual Bouquet Craft

What is a spiritual bouquet?

A spiritual bouquet is a collection of prayers, rosaries, Holy Communions, sacrifices, and good deeds that you offer for someone else—like someone who is sick to cheer them up or to someone celebrating a special occasion, like a birthday.

Make a spiritual bouquet for someone in need—a friend, elderly neighbor, family member, etc.

  1. Draw and cut out flower petals, leaves, and stem from different colors of construction paper (green for leaves, pink for the petals).
  2. Glue onto the outside of a card.
  3. Write “Spiritual Bouquet” above your flower.
  4. Write “Hail Mary” on all the petals and “Our Father” on all the leaves.
  5. On the inside of the card, write, “I’m praying for you.”
  6. Give the card to someone in need.
End the lesson with a prayer to Our Lady

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.  

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