Sunday, 31 May 2020

Queenship of Our Lady.




Today the Church celebrates the great feast of Pentecost and brings to a close the Marian month of May. The anthem of the Regina Caeli has been sung for the last time as Eastertide closes and we proceed to the month of June, dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Due to the date of Pentecost this year, the feast of the Queenship of Mary is not commemorated, but this should not stop us from dwelling on it ourselves. The feast is of course a great deal more prominent this year, since so many countries around the world have dedicated or consecrated themselves to Our Lady in the recent months.
When we consider this feast it is interesting to note that it is one of the lesser celebrated feasts of Mary. Other Marian feasts, particularly those found in the mysteries of the rosary, are celebrated with more pomp and dignity than the Queenship of Mary and so it is perhaps more necessary to give attention to this feast, which might otherwise be forgotten. 
How is it then, that Mary is Queen? She is the first of all creation, created by God as Immaculate and free from all attachment to sin, a fitting honour for she who is the Mother of God. In fact mariologists teach that all the titles of Our Lady stem from the fact that she is the Mother of God, and consequently she cannot be other than a Queen. Hence St. Bernard mentions that “No sooner had Mary consented to be Mother of the Eternal Word, than she merited by this consent to be made Queen of the world and of all creatures”. Indeed it would be folly to thus consider any other possibility, except that Mary is by her Divine Maternity the Queen of all creation. For she is both creature of God and Mother of God; guided by the Holy Spirit but also espoused to the Holy Spirit. 
Furthermore, she has been given to us in the spiritual and temporal realm as Queen and mother, when Christ spoke the words, “Behold thy mother”. (John 19:27) All that comes to us from Christ passes through the hands of His Queen since He so wishes to cultivate a love of God through devotion to His Mother. So writes St. Alphonsus: “the kingdom of justice He reserved for Himself, and that of mercy He yielded to Mary, ordaining at the same time that all mercies that are dispensed to men should pass by the hands of Mary and be disposed of by her at will”.(1) As the Mediatrix of graces {a title honoured by a feast also kept on this day in some places} Mary has a role greater than any Queen in history, inseparably united to Christ in the work of redemption and thus united in glory. Just as Christ triumphed on the cross with Mary at His side, so we honour her at the side of Christ triumphant in Heaven. 
Mary’s Queenship is enacted thus through the mystery of the cross and understood only through devotion to her and her Son. This feast is the celebration of all the immense sufferings and trials which she willingly undertook from the moment of the Annunciation, conscious of her duty of love. It is an opportunity to dwell upon the magnitude of her role in our salvation, a role which does not in any way serve to decrease the infinite power of Christ’s redemptive death. Through His death and resurrection Christ is truly the king of glory and we cannot but say the same of Mary who joins Him on the heavenly throne. The saints mention that Mary’s good works surpassed in merit all those performed by the saints, and so must her reward. Her glorious place in the celestial court as Queen and Mother is most intimately linked to the depths of sorrows which she endured on the desolate hill of calvary. 
If we wish to understand Mary as Queen, we must learn to understand her role in the redemption. Only by meditating on and gradually understanding the unfathomable sufferings she willingly endured can we consequently understand the righteousness of her Queenship and her beautiful glory. Just as Christ the King cannot be viewed separate from Christ on the cross, so also must we view Mary as Queen alongside the image of Mary suffering at the cross. The cross necessitates the crown and the crown depends upon the cross. 
St. Alphonsus describes the heavenly scene of Mary’s coronation thus: “the three Divine Persons, placing her throne at the right of that of Jesus, declared her Sovereign of heaven and earth; and commanded the angels and all creatures to acknowledge her as their Queen, and as such to to serve and obey her”.(2) She is truly the Queen of all, invoked in the Litany of Loreto as Queen of angels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, saints and families. Mary is our Queen not through political or military conquest, but through the practice of humility, suffering and love of God. Her rule is manifested through the implementation of these virtues and a fostering of the love of Her Divine Son. She has no other law except conforming to the will of God (a topic recently examined  on this blog with the help of St. Alphonsus). In the place of demanding tithes she offers us comfort and guidance found through consecrating ourselves to her - a gift that the world can never understand nor seek to rival. Nor is she a queen of malice, but is rather the Queen and Mother of mercy, desirous of pardoning and assisting those who fly to her protection.
Mary our Queen is ever at our side and ever fulfilling her role as Queen and Co-Redemptrix, as recalled in the words of the Memorare. On this feast we have a chance to dwell on the mysteries which she has wrought in the history of the Church and in our own lives; on the intimate role she played with Christ in the redemption; on the immense glory which she offered to God by her humble fiat and her life of hidden suffering; and on the glory which she offers to God through her coronation as Queen and through the many souls she leads to Him. Indeed it is hard to briefly summarise the beauty of this feast, when many tomes have been written upon Mary by great saints and mystics, who themselves would profess that they had not covered the topic sufficiently. If we wish to properly celebrate such a feast as well as grow to love and understand Mary as our Queen, it is best to take the fifth decade of the Glorious mysteries. We can do this whilst gazing at an image of her beside the cross as well as one of her glorious coronation in heaven. Spending time in this manner will serve not only increase our devotion to her but also to love Christ even more, which is all she truly desires.
If we do not have time to work our way through some of the great works of Marian literature (The Glories of Mary or True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin stand out) then a sincere and prayerful recitation of the fifth decade can be a ready way to know and love our heavenly Queen. To these we can add these lines of a prayer by St. Alphonsus: “O exalted Virgin, well do I know that thou who art Queen of the universe, art already my queen; yet am I determined to dedicate myself more especially to thy service, in order that though mayest dispose of me as thou pleasest…Accept me, O Mary, for thine own, and as thine take charge of my salvation”.





  1. St. Alphonsus Ligouri, The Glories of Mary, (London, Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1868), 13.
  2. Ligouri, The Glories of Mary, 394.

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