Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feast of the Queenship of Mary

"...joyous hearts everywhere welcome the feast of Mary's Queenship with spiritual affection and experience a sense of deep interior peace of soul as they gather in spirit in her presence to dedicate and rededicate themselves to her as their loving Mother and Queen.

The Queenship of Mary is not an empty title or an honorary distinction which shows forth merely her excellence of virtue, of grandeur, sanctity or glory.

Mary is a Queen because the child whom she conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit and to whom she gave birth was truly a King. Pope Pius XII, in his radio message to Fatima, May 13, 1946, summarized the teaching of the Church concerning the Kingship of Christ and the Queenship of Mary in these words: 'Jesus is King throughout eternity by nature and by right of conquest; through Him and with Him and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest and by singular election, and her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.'

How comforting to read these carefully chosen words of Pope Pius XII who was a loving son of our Lady and truly her champion. She was 'Queen by grace' since she was conceived Immaculate, free from the slightest stain of sin and her soul was literally inundated with divine grace. No wonder Gabriel could say 'Hail, you who are full of grace.' She is 'Queen by divine relationship' since she is related in the first degree of consanguinity in the direct line to our Lord and Savior, Christ the King, the Son of God. A Queen Mother is one whose son later becomes a King. Mary's child, however, at the moment of His birth, was already a King, the King of the world...

Our Lady is Queen also 'by right of conquest.' To understand this it must be recalled that our blessed Lord by His sufferings and redemptive death on the cross bought back the human race from the captivity of the devil, thus reconquering all as a King. Calvary was the scene of this conquest. At the foot of the cross Mary stood and her heart beat in unison with the heart of her divine Son and she shared intimately with Him in His sacrifice and the fruits of His redemption. 'As Christ is our Lord and King by a special title because He redeemed us, so the Blessed Virgin is our Lady and Queen because the unique way in which she cooperated toward our redemption by giving of her own substance, by offering Him willingly for us, and by desiring, praying for, and bringing about our salvation in a singular manner' (Pope Pius XII, Ad coeli Reginam).

At first it may be somewhat difficult to picture Mary as a Queen since our imagination is limited to the standards and customs of the royalty in this world. It does seem somewhat unusual, at least at first hearing, to speak of one as a Queen whose humility, obscure origin, profound spirit of prayer and sacrifice take her out of the setting in which ordinarily the nobility of this world is found.

Yet the difficulty quickly disappears when we re-hear in spirit the voices of millions of souls who have preceded us in the household of faith; when we glance even hurriedly at Christian tradition and Christian art as it sang of her queenship; and above all when we look into our own hearts which reveal that we simply love and rejoice to think of Mary as a Queen and to speak of her in these terms to one another and to the whole world.

Our Lady is indeed 'more a Mother than a Queen,' as St Therese of the Child Jesus wrote; yet, nevertheless she is a loving, queenly Mother. Her Motherhood is first, but her Queenship adds a glow and a warmth to that Motherhood. St Alphonsus in his Glories of Mary (a book still high on the list of those which reveal Mary to souls) has written of her in these beautiful terms. 'Mary, then, is a Queen; but for our common consolation, be it known that she is a Queen so sweet, clement, and so ready to help us that Holy Church wills that we salute her as Queen of Mercy.'

The purpose of the universal feast of the Queenship of Mary which we again happily observe and welcome this week is to stir up in our souls renewed love and devotion to our Mother and Queen and to invite all to rededicate themselves to her Immaculate Heart. These are indeed days of tension and worry throughout the world with talk of total destruction to mankind by nuclear weapons. Mary, however, our Queen and our Mother, has come to the rescue of civilization in the centuries that have passed. She will do it again if we but turn to her and beseech her for true peace throughout the world. Would that the prayer of Pope Pius XII to Mary our Queen be realized in the minds and wills of all. 'Reign over the minds of men, that they may seek only what is true; over their wills, that they may follow solely what is good; over their hearts, that they may love nothing but what you yourself love.'

...may we gather in spirit before her heavenly throne and humbly offer to her as our Queen and Mother the homage of ourselves, unreservedly, totally, prayerfully, and with the simplicity of abandonment that characterizes a devoted child. This will rejoice her motherly and queenly heart and bring about the realization of the prayer of Pope Pius XII that man may seek and know the truth and follow what is good and identify their love with the great object of her love, the Sacred Heart of her divine Son."

-- Mary: Queen and Mother - Marian Pastoral Reflections by John J Cardinal Carberry

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