THEME: MARY: THE QUEEN WITH A DIFFERENCE
Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary. Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, she is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. The fact that the mother of a king has great influence in court is clearly and succinctly manifest in different cultures of the world. Titles like the Dowager Queen or the King Mother are used in addressing them.
In the fourth century Saint Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.
The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption, and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title for four reasons among others:
1. She is Mother of God
2. She is considered as the New Eve and closely associated with Jesus’ redemptive work
3. Because of her preeminent perfection
4. Because of her intercessory power.
As Saint Paul suggests in Romans 8:28–30, God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son. All the more was Mary predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence on Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles to queenship derive from this eternal intention of God.
The fascinating aspect of Mary’s queenship is the fact that, as Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and his fellow human beings, so did Mary exercise her queenship. She demonstrated that her Queenship like the kingship of her son is not of this world. Yes, her Queenship is different in several ways from those of this world:
1. The Queens of this world are clothed in pride and luxury, Mary was clothed in humility and simplicity
2. The Queens of this world have servants, Mary herself was a servant
3. The Queens of this world live in palaces and give birth to their children in the most expensive hospitals, Mary gave birth to her son in an inn
4. She accepted the will of God and treasured all her experiences both pleasant and unpleasant in her heart.
Today, as we mark her Queenship, she reminds us that authority is for service. He who must be first should be the servant of all. She reminds our leaders both spiritual and temporal that leadership is availability. She reminds us to be humble in all circumstances and simple. She enjoins us to be men and women of few words. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth assure us of her ever abiding presence and continuous intercession now and always. Amen!
Good morning and happy weekend!