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Do you want to know a sure way to touch Our Lady's Heart? Put flowers before Her images — but not just any flowers: violets, lilies and roses. St. Bernard tells us these are symbolic of Her three principal virtues: Humility, Purity and Charity. So if you want Mary to intercede for you, adorn Her with Her favorite flowers. Here is the ancient prayer of St. Bernard, to recite once you've ornamented your favorite portrait, icon or statue of Her in this most appropriate and significant way.

Prayer of
St. Bernard of Clairvaux 1153

We raise our eyes to Thee, O Queen of the world. We must appear before our Judge after so many sins: who will appease Him? No one can do it better than Thou canst, O holy Lady, Who hast loved Him so much, and by Whom Thou art so tenderly beloved. Open, then, O Mother of mercy, Thy heart to our sighs and prayers. We fly to Thy protection; appease the wrath of Thy Son, and restore us to His grace. Thou dost not abhor a sinner, however loathsome he may be. Thou dost not despise him, if he sends up his sighs to Thee, and, repentant, asks Thy intercession. Thou, with Thy compassionate hand, deliverest him from despair. Thou animatest him to hope, and dost not leave him until Thou hast reconciled him with his Judge. Thou art that chosen Lady in whom Our Lord found repose, and in whom He has deposited all His treasures without measure. Hence the whole world, O my most holy Lady, honors Thy chaste womb as the temple of God, in which the salvation of the world began. In Thee was effected the reconciliation between God and man. Thou, O great Mother of God, art the enclosed Garden. Thou art the beautiful garden in which God has planted all the flowers that adorn the Church, and amongst others the violet of Thy humility, the lily of Thy purity, the rose of Thy charity. With whom can we compare Thee, O Mother of grace and beauty? Thou art the paradise of God; from Thee issued forth the fountain of living water that irrigates the whole earth. O, how many benefits Thou hast bestowed on the world by meriting to be so salutary a channel!

Of Thee it is that the question is asked, “Who is She that cometh forth, like the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun?” Thou camest, then, into the world, O Mary, as a resplendent dawn, preceding with the light of Thy sanctity the coming of the Sun of justice. The day on which Thou camest into the world can indeed be called a day of salvation, a day of grace. Thou art fair as the moon; for as amongst all planets the moon it is that is most like the sun, so amongst all creatures Thou art the nearest in resemblance to God. The moon illumines the night with the light that it receives from the sun, and Thou enlightenest our darkness with the splendor of Thy virtues. But Thou art fairer than the moon, for in Thee there is neither spot nor shadow. Thou art bright as the sun. Thy Son Who created the sun, He was chosen amongst all men, and Thou wast chosen amongst all women. O sweet, O great, O all-amiable Mary, no heart can pronounce Thy name but Thou inflamest it with Thy love; nor can they who love Thee think of Thee without feeling themselves strengthened to love Thee more. O holy Lady, help our weakness. And who is more fit to address Our Lord Jesus Christ than Thou, who enjoyest in such close vicinity His most sweet converse? Speak, then, speak, O Lady; for Thy Son listens to Thee, and Thou wilt obtain all that Thou askest of Him.