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The Queenship of Mary

5th Glorious Mystery of the Rosary
Feast Day - 22nd August


Pope Pius XII wrote about proclaiming the Queenship of Mary in his encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam which he gave on the feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Marian Year 1954,

3 2us by Father Anthony Doe       
"This is really the meaning of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven: Queen of Mercy, Queen of the compassionate outreach of the Father's love in her Son. And so she stands as the greatest gift to the human race. She is one of us, somebody who is now living her humanity to the full, and who is living it for us, for our salvation, and is there always with that power and authority that comes from God, to take every single human being by the hand and lead them into His merciful presence. So we really do thank the Father for this greatest of gifts, this wonderful friend, this wonderful mother, this wonderful person, who embodies the fullness of God's merciful compassion for the human race. We turn to her and ask her always to be with us, especially in moments of greatest need. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us."

Poppy, from England      
"Our Lady is the Queen of Heaven - what does that mean? That means that she is our mother and she loves us. And she desires with her whole heart for us to be close to Jesus, and if we turn to her in prayer she can help us. And that to me is something that's tremendously wonderful and beautiful: God has given us this gift of his own mother to intercede for us, to help us, to be our mother. The Queen of Heaven can help us and intercede for us so that one day we can meet our Creator."

Father Armen, from Armenia      
"Our Lady is the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of the Church and the Mother of humanity. She is the one who can crush and does crush the head of Satan under her feet. God bless her."

Catechesis by Papa Benedict XVI
General Audience, Wednesday 22 August 2012 - in Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today is the liturgical Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, invoked by the title: “Queen”. It is a recently instituted feast, although its origins and the devotion to her are ancient. It was in fact established in 1954, at the end of the Marian Year, by Venerable Pius XII who fixed the date as 31 May (cf Encyclical Letter Ad Caeli Reginam). On this occasion the Pope said that Mary was Queen more than any other creature because of the sublime dignity of her soul and the excellence of the gifts she received. She never ceases to bestow upon humanity all the treasures of her love and tender care (cf Discourse in honour of Mary Queen, 1 Nov 1954). Now, after the post-conciliar reform of the liturgical calendar, this feast is set 8 days after the Solemnity of the Assumption to emphasize the close link between Mary’s royal nature and her glorification in body and soul beside her Son. In the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church we read: Mary “was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory... and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son” (Lumen Gentium, 59).

This is the origin of today’s feast: Mary is Queen because she is uniquely conformed to her Son, both on the earthly journey and in heavenly glory. Ephrem the Syrian, Syria’s great saint, said of Mary’s queenship that it derives from her motherhood: she is Mother of the Lord, of the King of kings (cf Is 9:1-6) and she points Jesus out to us as our life, our salvation and our hope. In his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus the Servant of God Paul VI recalled: “In the Virgin Mary everything is relative to Christ and dependent upon him. It was with a view to Christ that God the Father, from all eternity, chose her to be the all-holy Mother and adorned her with gifts of the Spirit granted to no one else” (n 25).

But now let us ask ourselves: what does “Mary Queen” mean? Is it solely a title, together with others, a crown, an ornament like others? What does it mean? What is this queenship? As mentioned above, it is a consequence of her being united to the Son, of her being in heaven, that is, in communion with God; she shares in God’s responsibility for the world and in God’s love for the world. There is a worldly or common idea of a king or queen: a person with great power and wealth. But this is not the kind of royalty of Jesus and Mary. Let us think of the Lord; the royalty and kingship of Christ is interwoven with humility, service and love. It is above all serving, helping and loving. Let us remember that Jesus on the Cross was proclaimed king with this inscription written by Pilate: “The King of the Jews” (cf Mk 15:26). On the Cross, at that moment, he is shown to be King; and how is he King? By suffering with us and for us, by loving to the end, and in this way governing and creating truth, love and justice. Let us also think of another moment: at the Last Supper he bows down to wash the feet of his followers. Consequently Jesus’ kingship has nothing to do with that of the powerful of this earth. He is a King who serves his servants; he demonstrated this throughout his life; and the same is true of Mary. She is Queen in her service to God for humanity, she is a Queen of love who lives the gift of herself to God so as to enter into the plan of man’s salvation. She answered the Angel: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (cf Lk 1:38) and in the Magnificat she sings: God has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden (cf Lk 1:48). She helps us. She is Queen precisely by loving us, by helping us in our every need; she is our sister, a humble handmaid.

And so we have already reached this point: how does Mary exercise this queenship of service and love? By watching over us, her children: the children who turn to her in prayer, to thank her or to ask her for her motherly protection and her heavenly help, perhaps after having lost our way, or when we are oppressed by suffering or anguish because of the sorrowful and harrowing vicissitudes of life. In serenity or in life’s darkness let us address Mary, entrusting ourselves to her continuous intercession so that she may obtain for us from the Son every grace and mercy we need for our pilgrimage on the highways of the world. Through the Virgin Mary let us turn with trust to the One who rules the world and holds in his hand the future of the universe. For centuries she has been invoked as the celestial Queen of Heaven; in the Litany of Loreto after the prayer of the holy Rosary, she is implored eight times: as Queen of Angels, of Patriarchs, of Prophets, of Apostles, of Martyrs, of Confessors, of Virgins, of all the Saints and of Families. The rhythm of these ancient invocations and daily prayers, such as the Salve Regina, help us to understand that the Blessed Virgin, as our Mother beside her Son Jesus in the glory of heaven, is always with us in the daily events of our life.

The title “Queen” is thus a title of trust, joy and love. And we know that the One who holds a part of the world’s destinies in her hand is good, that she loves us and helps us in our difficulties.

Dear friends, the devotion to Our Lady is an important element of spiritual life. In our prayers let us not fail to address her with trust. Mary will not fail to intercede for us with her Son. Looking at her, let us imitate her faith, her full availability to God’s plan of love, her generous acceptance of Jesus. Let us learn how to live from Mary. Mary is the Queen of Heaven who is close to God but she is also the Mother who is close to each one of us, who loves us and listens to our voice. Thank you for your attention."

Catechesis by Blessed John Paul II
The Queen of the Universe (Ap 12, 1)
General Audience, 23 July 1997- in English, French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

1. Popular devotion invokes Mary as Queen. The Council, after recalling the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in "body and soul into heavenly glory", explains that she was "exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf Rv 19:16) and conqueror of sin and death" (Lumen gentium, 59).

In fact, starting from the 5th century, almost in the same period in which the Council of Ephesus proclaims her "Mother of God", the title of Queen begins to be attributed to her. With this further recognition of her sublime dignity, the Christian people want to place her above all creatures, exalting her role and importance in the life of every person and of the whole world.

But already a fragment of a homily, attributed to Origen, contains this comment on the words Elizabeth spoke at the Visitation "It is I who should have come to visit you, because you are blessed above all women, you are the Mother of my Lord, you are my Lady" (Fragment, PG 13). The text passes spontaneously from the expression "the Mother of my Lord" to the title, "my Lady", anticipating what St John Damascene was later to say, attributing to Mary the title of "Sovereign": "When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became queen of all creatures" (De fide orthodoxa, 4, 14).

2. My venerable Predecessor Pius XII, in his Encyclical Ad coeli Reginam to which the text of the Constitution Lumen gentium refers, indicates as the basis for Mary’s queenship in addition to her motherhood, her co-operation in the work of the Redemption. The Encyclical recalls the liturgical text: "There was St Mary, Queen of heaven and Sovereign of the world, sorrowing near the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (AAS 46 [1954] 634). It then establishes an analogy between Mary and Christ, which helps us understand the significance of the Blessed Virgin’s royal status. Christ is King not only because he is Son of God, but also because he is the Redeemer; Mary is Queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, associated as the new Eve with the new Adam, she co-operated in the work of the redemption of the human race (AAS 46 [1954] 635).

In Mark’s Gospel, we read that on the day of the Ascension the Lord Jesus "was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God" (16:19). In biblical language "to sit at the right hand of God" means sharing his sovereign power. Sitting "at the right hand of the Father", he establishes his kingdom, God’s kingdom. Taken up into heaven, Mary is associated with the power of her Son and is dedicated to the extension of the Kingdom, sharing in the diffusion of divine grace in the world.

In looking at the analogy between Christ’s Ascension and Mary’s Assumption, we can conclude that Mary, in dependence on Christ, is the Queen who possesses and exercises over the universe a sovereignty granted to her by her Son.

3. The title of Queen does not of course replace that of Mother: her queenship remains a corollary of her particular maternal mission and simply expresses the power conferred on her to carry out that mission.

Citing Pius IX’s Bull Ineffabilis Deus, the Supreme Pontiff highlights this maternal dimension of the Blessed Virgin’s queenship: "Having a motherly affection for us and being concerned for our salvation, she extends her care to the whole human race. Appointed by the Lord as Queen of heaven and earth, raised above all the choirs of angels and the whole celestial hierarchy of saints, sitting at the right hand of her only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, she obtains with great certainty what she asks with her motherly prayers; she obtains what she seeks and it cannot be denied her" (cf AAS 46 [1954] 636-637).

4. Therefore Christians look with trust to Mary Queen and this not only does not diminish but indeed exalts their filial abandonment to her, who is mother in the order of grace.

Indeed, the concern Mary Queen has for mankind can be fully effective precisely by virtue of her glorious state which derives from the Assumption. St Germanus I of Constantinople highlights this very well. He holds that this state guarantees Mary’s intimate relationship with her Son and enables her to intercede in our favour. Addressing Mary he says: Christ wanted "to have, so to speak, the closeness of your lips and your heart; thus he assents to all the desires you express to him, when you suffer for your children, with his divine power he does all that you ask of him" (Hom. 1 PG 98, 348).

5. One can conclude that the Assumption favours Mary’s full communion not only with Christ, but with each one of us: she is beside us, because her glorious state enables her to follow us in our daily earthly journey. As we read again in St Germanus: "You dwell spiritually with us and the greatness of your vigilance over us makes your communion of life with us stand out" (Hom. 1, PG 98, 344).

Thus, far from creating distance between her and us, Mary’s glorious state brings about a continuous and caring closeness. She knows everything that happens in our life and supports us with maternal love in life’s trials.

Assumed into heavenly glory, Mary dedicates herself totally to the work of salvation so as to communicate to every living person the happiness granted to her. She is a Queen who gives all that she possesses, participating above all in the life and love of Christ."

JPII - © Copyright 1997 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

On the Feast of the Coronation of Our Lady, 22 August, 1980, Blessed John Paul II wrote a Message to the General Assembly of the United Nations:

My first major point is an appeal to all of you here, to all peoples everywhere. It is an appeal to go beyond any static positions that belong to a particular ideology. Let every system and each functioning part of a system look to what in fact it can do, to ask what in fact it can contribute, to see how in fact it can advance the real goals of human living, regardless of whatever positions the stale arguments of ideological bias may wish to impose artificially - positions and biases which may hinder rather than promote real progress and fraternal collaboration.

There is no question but that this great Assembly has men and women of different, even opposed, systems and ideologies. We cannot, however, afford to let the limitations of ideological biases obstruct our concern for man - man in the concrete, the whole man, every man. Therefore we cannot let these ideological categories imprison us. We cannot let outdated conflicts control us in such a way that we cannot respond to the real needs of peoples everywhere. .........

In my pastoral visits in Europe, in North and South America and in Africa, I have spoken often and in varying ways of the need for the conversion of hearts. I have stressed the need for each one of us to be converted, to see in the other person a brother or a sister united by the bond of a common humanity under God. My predecessor Paul VI in his encyclical "Populorum Progressio", a document which remains one of the enduring and valid contributions to the work of development, said: "There can be no progress towards the complete development of man without the simultaneous development of all humanity in a spirit of solidarity... ‘Man must meet man, nation must meet nation, as brothers and sisters, as children of God. In this mutual understanding and friendship, in this sacred communion, we must also begin to work together to build the common future of the human race’ ".

May I complete this message to you today by recalling these words and this perspective to your reflection. May I ask that as you seek a change in the structures that will better serve the common good in justice and equity, you will not forget the education and inspiration of your peoples that will help bring about the conversion of hearts. Only through the conversion of hearts can brothers and sisters "build the common future of the human race", and construct the great and lasting edifice of peace. And it is to this peace - the new name of which aptly remains "development" - that all the efforts of this Special Session must be directed. With God’s help may it be so!
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