Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast day falls eight days after the Solemnity of the Assumption, which closely links the assumption of Our Lady body and soul into heaven with her coronation.
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, n. 59). Since she is the Queen “over all things” she should be the Queen of our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. Mary will help lead us into greater conformation with Her Son.
Queenship in the Kingdom of God
Often the idea of royalty conjures up images of worldly power, wealth, and prestige. This is the opposite of the Queenship of Mary, which is united completely to the self-emptying love of Her Son. In his general audience on the 22nd of August 2012, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explained royalty in the Kingdom of God:
“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.”
We turn to Mary and ask her to be the Queen of our lives because she will lead us deeper into the love of Christ. Her queenship is not predicated on power. It is one of love and she seeks to draw us into that love. She will show us how to love with the heart of Her Son and to serve others. Her queenship is meant to help each one of us become more like Christ. She does this in a number of ways.
Ponder and pray
First, she is fully united to God’s will. She seeks only to serve Him, not herself, not the world, and not the enemy. She has surrendered herself fully to God. She wants to help each one of us learn how to live in accordance with God’s will. This is accomplished first-and-foremost through prayer. We must “ponder in our hearts” what God is calling us to. Through prayer we grow in greater intimacy and union with Him so that we can discern what He is asking of us in each moment of our day.
Asking Mary to teach us how ‘to ponder all of these things in our heart’ helps us to seek God’s ways over our own. Oftentimes in the spiritual life, God will work in a way that defies the world order, what the people around us expect, or our own expectations. How and what we think God is doing is often obscured from our view and only revealed to us over time. There are times when other people do not understand what God is doing in us and we must simply ponder and pray for God to show us the path He is calling us to walk.
Our Heavenly Mother did not know exactly where God was taking her, but she trusted in His working and allowed herself to be conformed to Him in the process. There is much confusion and very deep wounds within the Church right now due to the clergy sex abuse scandals. Our Lady shows us the way forward, which is through a renewed commitment to seek to follow God’s will in all things. She shows us how to follow Christ over the world.
Do whatever He tells you
The last words Our Heavenly Mother says in the Sacred Scripture are: “Do what ever he tells you.” These are words to live by. We are called to do what ever Christ calls us to do, no matter what happens. The path to holiness is arduous and there will be times when God will ask us to do things that others do not understand. The lives of the saints are more-often-than-not, examples of how individuals were called by God to complete various tasks in the face of opposition from others, including their brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to do what God is asking of us regardless of what others think of us.
There will be times in our lives when we will be misunderstood, betrayed, cast off, abandoned, and rejected. By asking Mary to be the Queen of our lives, we are asking her to show us how to do whatever her Son is asking of us no matter the personal cost to ourselves. This applies to the entire Church—laity, priest, and religious—but in times such as these, it applies to an even greater extent to the priesthood.
Renewal of the priesthood will include a greater devotion to Our Heavenly Mother. She should be the Queen of every priest’s heart since she stands guard—through her maternal love—over their vocation and the promises made at ordination. She wants to draw her priest-sons into greater union with Her Son during a time of devastation for the priesthood and the entire Church. She loves priests in a unique way by virtue of their calling to be configured to Christ the Eternal High Priest at a deeper level.
Our Queen Mother stood silently at the foot of the Cross with St. John; her first priest-son in the Apostles. In this time of division, confusion, scandal, and evil within the Church, she stands fast as Queen of the Church, which was brought forth from the pierced side of Her Son. She shows us how to endure such agonies as these and to cling to the Cross of Her Son. It is through her intercession, guidance, and example that we can learn how to grow in deeper fortitude and charity even as we endure great pain, agony, fear, and evil. She can help us overcome the obstacles of this life, including the scandals besieging the Church at present. We must trust in her intercession. Pope Emeritus again:
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.
All of us should ask Mary to be the Queen of our lives. Let us pray especially that our priests may take Mary as the Queen of their vocations, and that through her guidance and intercession, the priesthood may be renewed; which will lead to a renewal of the entire Church.