“Hail Holy Queen, Mother of God, our life, our sweetness and our hope”
On August 22nd the Church celebrates the feast of the Queenship of our Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Encyclical of Pope Pius XII, 1954, October 11, on proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, the Vicar of Christ and Shepherd of the Church, stated thus: “From the early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that the Blessed Virgin of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He ‘will reign in the house of Jacob forever’ (Lk. 1.33), ‘the Prince of Peace’ and the ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords’ (Rev. 19.16). And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that exists between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme dignity of the Mother of God. In the last decade of the glorious mystery of Rosary we meditate on the crowning of Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of heaven and earth.
Coronation of the Virgin – S. Botticelli (WGoA)
Hence it is not surprising that the early fathers of the Church called Mary “the Mother of the King” and “the Mother of the Lord”, justifying their attitude by the words of St. Gabriel the Archangel, who foretold that the Son of Mary would reign forever’ (Lk. 1 32, 33); and by the words of Elisabeth who greeted her with reverence and called her ‘the Mother of my Lord’ (Lk. 1.43). Thereby they clearly signified that she derived a certain and exalted stance from the royal dignity of her Son” (From Ad Caelli Reginem).
Yes, Mother Mary’s Queenship is a share in her Son Jesus’ Kingship. The mother of a king has the reputation and reverance of a queen. In the first book of Kings we read an incident wherein Bathsheba, the mother of King Solomon had an influence on the King, persuading the latter to do something: “Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. The king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. Then she said: ‘I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me’. And the king said to her, ‘Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you” (2. 19, 20). This exactly is what Mother Mary, Queen of heaven does for us. The inevitable condition for her intercession is that we are her children by obeying her by doing what her Son says. (cfr. Jn 2. 5)
The Blessed (Cardinal) Newman who was formerly an Anglican Priest, when he embraced the Catholic Faith realising the ‘treasure hidden in the field’ (cfr Mt. 13. 44), fully believed and upheld all the ‘pearls of faith’ (Mt.13.45) in the Church. In his words: “No one has access to the Almighty as His Mother has, none has a merit such as hers. Her Son will deny her nothing that she asks; and herein lies her power. While she defends the Church, neither height nor depth, neither men nor evil spirits, neither great monarchs nor craft of man, nor popular violence, can avail to harm us; for human life is short, but Mary reigns above, a Queen forever”. (John Henry Newman; ‘Meditations and Devotions’ Part 1). St.Bernard, a fervent devotee of our Blessed Virgin Mary prayed: “Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection or implored thy help or sought Thy intercession was left unaided.”
The teaching of the Church on the Queenship of Mary is very clear. In ‘Benedito Seia’ of Pope Pius XII, we read: “Jesus is King of the Eternal Ages by nature and by right of conquest; through Him, with Him and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest and by singular choice of the Father” (Radio message to Fatima, May 13, 1946, AAS 38.266). “The purpose of the feast is that all may recognise more clearly and venerate more devoutly the merciful and motherly sovereignty of her who bore God in her womb” (Pope Pius XII Ad- Coeli Regina)
Yes, Mother Mary is Queen because she is the mother of the Creator, who is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 19.16). Hence the Church joyfully prays in the morning prayer of ‘Divine Office’ on this feast day:
“The Lord has chosen her, his beloved one from the beginning; he has taken her to live with him” (Responsory)
“Mary, ever Virgin, most honoured Queen of the world, you gave birth to our Saviour, Christ the Lord” (Benedictus Antiphon)
So let us pray along with the Church:
“O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and Queen, graciously grant that sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly kingdom the glory promised to your children. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen” (From the Psalter of ‘The Divine Office’)
Fr. James Mariakumar and Mary Pereira.