Mother of Jesus is one of the most common titles given to Mary. It holds the basic truth of her identity but is also the key to an often-forgotten, feast day: Aug. 22, the Queenship of Mary.
The jump from everyday, humble mother to the queen of heaven and earth might seem a bit extreme, yet it is preciously the reality that the Catholic Church proclaims about Mary and celebrates on the octave after her assumption into heaven Aug. 15. The Queenship of Mary is ordered eight days after she is brought into heaven by the power of her Son, Jesus. Here she is crowned by God’s own power, following in the tradition from ancient Israel as described in Scripture.
In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1, we read about Mary as mother of Jesus; and later, in Rev. 12:17, as the crowned woman laboring in birth to a male Son. She is the queen mother; the Ark of the Covenant, as she bore Jesus, the very living presence of God, in her womb. She became the temple, the place where God came to dwell. On this feast we celebrate the closeness and intimacy that a spiritual mother with us, as well as the loyalty and respect that a queen holds.
We ponder both of these mysteries when we pray the fourth and fifth glorious mysteries of the rosary, living part of a cosmic struggle between good and evil. By acknowledging Mary as queen of heaven and earth, we, her spiritual children, are offered a choice to live and fight the good fight for her Son — or for the other side.
Her queenship was given not for her own power, for her own sake, but rather to humbly serve her God and His children, you and I. Scripture describes this in John 2:5, at the wedding feast of Cana, when Mary tells the wedding servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
This New Testament example follows the Old Testament tradition of “gebirah,” queen mother, whose intercession on behalf of the people was the strongest and most powerful. It is not because of marriage or her own will that she is queen, as we see in today’s society, but rather from her very nature as woman, giving birth to new life. She oversees her children’s education and sees to their well-being.
In 1 Kings, Chapter 2, Bathsheba sits at the right hand of Solomon and pleads on behalf of his people. Mary, too, is seated by God’s grace at Jesus’ right hand. She is our greatest advocate, guiding us ever closer to her Son.
St. Louis de Montfort, a French priest with a great Marian charism, explained in “True Devotion to Mary:” “Mary is the Queen of Heaven and earth by grace, as Jesus is the King of them by nature and by conquest. Now, as the kingdom of Jesus Christ consists principally in the heart or the interior of man — according to the words, “The kingdom of God is within you” [Luke 17:21] — in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is principally in the interior of man; that is to say, his soul. And it is principally in souls that she is more glorified with her Son than in all visible creatures, and so we can call her, as the Saints do, the Queen of All Hearts.”
Each day, Jesus builds the kingdom of God person by person inside of us. Thus, Mary’s role as queen is to reign with Him over our souls, connecting and binding us, conforming us every day closer to her Son. Her own life and example followed this same configuration, patterned after Christ.
Allowing God’s grace to live and work within her, the Holy Spirit transformed Mary into a true handmaid of the Lord. “Let it be done to me, according to your word” is the fiat of Mary. She didn’t say it coyly, somehow to withdraw it later, or with resignation, as if she has no will; but rather simply and humbly, knowing full well her part and God’s role, both distinct and well-defined. She is a creature and God is God. Mary’s humility never puts herself down or thinks less of herself, but rather acknowledges her unique role and God’s grace in making that manifest.
True humility doesn’t shy away from truth; rather, it works and submits itself to it, allowing the individual to flourish in the proper space and time. Like any Christian, Mary knows her talents and abilities are not for her own sake, but rather to serve others.
It is this simple and yet profound subtlety, living the gift of humility, which allows Mary to remain ever “full of grace” and the mother to Jesus, John, the disciples, the Church and now to you and me. Her role of queen of our hearts and our souls flows from that role as most humble mother.
Together, as we choose to live for Christ in Our Lady’s advocacy, we can offer ourselves, our little lives and everlasting souls to her guidance, praying a litany to our dear own queen mother, Mary.
“Hail, holy queen, mother of mercy…
Queen of angels, pray for us.
Queen of patriarchs, pray for us.
Queen of prophets, pray for us.
Queen of apostles, pray for us.
Queen of martyrs, pray for us.
Queen of confessors, pray for us.
Queen of virgins, pray for us.
Queen of all saints, pray for us.
Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.
Queen assumed into heaven, pray for us.
Queen of the most holy rosary, pray for us.
Queen of families, pray for us.
Queen of peace, pray for us.”
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