Octave of Pentecost + (Queenship of The Blessed Virgin Mary)
By Father J. Heyrman, S.J.
THE QUEENSHIP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
1. The liturgical feast of Mary’s Queenship was established during the Marian Year 1954, on the 11th of October. In this manner the Vicar of Christ solemnly sanctioned a title, which the Christian people had given to Mary during the centuries. In the 15th century the devout Dominican painter, Fra Angelico, many a time painted on the walls of his monastery at Florence, the coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven. We behold our Lady, on bended knees, with folded hands, bowing slightly before her divine Son, who places the crown on His Mother’s brow. Even at the moment, when she is being crowned Queen of heaven and earth, her attitude is as humble and as meek as when she said to the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord”.
The Painting of the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Fra Angelico.
2. Petition: The grace to join the heavenly court in paying homage to our Queen.
Hail, Queen of heaven enthroned,
Hail by angels Mistress owned.
I. Mary Our Queen
In the Litany of Loreto Christian piety has, with the exception of the middle group of invocations, divided Mary’s titles into three groups; Mother, Virgin, Queen. These are the most exalted and the most honourable titles one can give to a woman: and all three together, in the worthiest sense, belong only to one Woman, our Blessed Lady.
The first two, Mother and Virgin, refer to what is most sacred about a woman; and here, where Mary is concerned, they are ranked in the order of their dignity. These two titles are at the head of the entire series, and will be enlarged upon in various ways: “Holy Mother of God, and Holy Virgin of Virgins.” Kind as a mother, but more than any other mother, because she is Mother of God; inviolate as a virgin, but more than any other virgin, because she is the Virgin Mother of the Son of God.
In the third series we salute her as Queen: her “style and title”, her rank and office in the Kingdom of her Son. We salute her as Queen of every angelic choir, and of every group of Saints. To these titles several have been added during the last century, as shining jewels in her royal diadem: the last, Queen assumed into heaven!
II. Mary’s Right to the Title
No earthly title is glorious enough to express Mary’s exalted dignity. Queen, princess, ruler, refer to social relations among men. Mary is in all truth Mother of God and this implies a natural relation between her, and Him, who is God and man. Her dignity is unique, immeasurable, and, as St. Thomas says, in a certain sense infinite. “The Humanity of Jesus, which is united with the Deity; the bliss of the Saints, which is the possession of God; the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is Mother of God; all these, because of the infinite Good, Which is God, are in a certain sense infinite.”
When the angel had delivered his message, and Mary had given her consent, Mary became the Mother of the Son of the Most High. “The Lord God shall give him the throne of his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” And to His Mother He gives a royal dignity, of which likewise there shall be no end.
Mary furthermore deserves this title, because as Mother of the Saviour she received from Him a most intimate and unique share in the work of our salvation. The Encyclical of Oct. 11, 1954 said, “It is true that, in the real and strictest sense, the title of King belongs exclusively to Christ, God and man. However Mary, in a limited sense, shares His royal dignity; because she is the Mother of Christ, our God, and because she was associated with Christ’s work of salvation.”
And therefore in the liturgical office of this day the Church sings:
“By the Cross of Christ His Mother stood,
Sharing in His sufferings, of all
the world Queen;
The Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven;
She reigns with
Christ for all eternity…
Together with her Son in the glory of His Father.”
III. Our Queen’s Power
The King, at times, is obliged to us His power to chastise; not so the Queen. She uses her influence and her power only to scatter favours, to intercede, to plead, to obtain mercy, to save. Painters of the last Judgment were wont to represent this in the following manner: Christ, the Supreme Judge, appears on the clouds with a stern countenance; close to Him, but a little lower, in the attitude of a suppliant, Mary looks up to her divine Son. This is not an inappropriate way to represent to our sense how our Queen, Mother of Mercy, deigns to use her “omnipotentia supplex”, her boundless power of intercession, to plead for us, poor banished children of Eve, to whom she longs to show one day the blessed fruit of her womb.
Prayer: On Nov. 1, 1954, in his address on the Queenship of Mary, Pope Pius XII said, “Anxious to interpret the feelings of all Christians, We thus pray fervently to the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin:
To Thee, O Mary, most dear Mother, we raise our hearts from the depths of this vale of tears, where distressed mankind struggles against the rising waves of an ocean, lashed into the fury by the violent tempests of our passions; we hope to be strengthened by the contemplation of thy glory; we salute thee as Queen and Ruler of heaven and earth, as our Queen and Mistress … Be thou indeed our Queen, and show us the way to holiness … Reign thou over the whole human race, and lead into the fold those that do not yet know the name of thy Son. Reign over the Church, especially in those lands where the Church suffers persecution. Reign over each one of us, over families, over realms and nations. Grant that all those who this day acclaim thee as their Queen and their Mistress, may one day enjoy the plenitude of bliss in thy Kingdom, where they shall behold thy Son, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth for ever, world without end. Amen.”
Jesus, Mary, I love Thee; Save Souls!