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The Queenship of Mary

August 18, 2017

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August 22 is the annual memorial of the Queenship of Mary. The date was chosen to coincide with August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption, which was celebrated eight days earlier. Mary’s Queenship is remembered on the “octave” of the Assumption.

What we believe about Mary is drawn from what we believe about her Son, Jesus. If Jesus is a king, then his mother is a queen; and if Jesus is the greatest of all kings, the King of kings, then his mother ranks first above all other queens. If Jesus ascended to heaven because he did God’s will and was all holy, then Mary was assumed to heaven because she was completely obedient to God (Lk 1:38), full of grace (Lk 1:28), and blessed (Lk 1:48). If Jesus was glorified by his Father and now reigns as king of heaven and earth, then Mary was glorified by the Trinity and reigns with her Son at his throne.

When the title “queen” is associated with Mary, it should not be considered in earthly terms of imperial rank, authority over others, immense wealth, elegant clothes, and the like. Mary is a spiritual queen, she ranks first in holiness, she is “blessed among women” (Lk 1:42).

A number of Scripture passages are associated with Mary’s Queenship. The verse most frequently cited comes from the Magnificat or Mary’s Canticle, a beautiful prayer in which Mary said, “He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones, but lifted up the lowly” (Lk 1:52). Mary has always been regarded as the lowly one, and she has been given the throne that sinful rulers were unworthy to hold. Other texts traditionally associated with Mary’s queenship include, “A princess arrayed in Ophir’s gold comes to stand at your right hand” (Ps 45:10b); she “comes forth like the dawn, beautiful as the white moon, pure as the blazing sun” (Sg 6:10a); and, “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rv 12:1).

The Queenship of Mary corresponds to the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, the Coronation, and serves as a rich source of inspiration for the faithful while at prayer. Mary’s Queenship is also a popular topic in Christian art, and Mary is typically shown receiving an resplendent gold crown from God the Father and her Son Jesus together with the Holy Spirit hovering aloft, while sometimes only her Son Jesus is shown bestowing the crown.

God has given us the mother of his Son as our queen and mother. Through the intercession of Mary, may we come to share in her glory in the kingdom of heaven.

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