Queenship of Blessed Virgin Mary

August 22: Queenship of Blessed Virgin Mary—Memorial

Liturgical Color: White

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. ~Revelation 12:1

The twentieth century saw a great resurgence in devotion to the Mother of God. Several decades prior to that century, on December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Four years later, the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old peasant girl, in Lourdes, France. In this apparition, when Bernadette asked who the Heavenly Lady was, she responded, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This mystical confirmation of the papal dogma sparked great devotion to the Mother of God, and Lourdes became a frequent pilgrim site where many miracles have taken place.

In 1916, three shepherd children in Fátima, Portugal received three apparitions from the Angel of Peace, the Guardian Angel of Portugal. Then, in 1917 they received six apparitions from the Lady of the Rosary, as she called herself. On the day of her final apparition, some 70,000 had gathered and all witnessed the promised miracle. A pouring rain immediately stopped, the sun danced and plunged to the earth, and everything and everyone were immediately dry. This apparition and miracle continue to fuel devotion to the Mother of God.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII issued an apostolic constitution by which he declared as a dogma of our faith “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Since Jesus is the King of Kings, and since He sits on His throne at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, and since his mother was assumed into Heaven, body and soul, then the logical conclusion flowing from these truths necessarily leads us to today’s memorial.

Early Church Fathers used what is referred to as “typology” to clearly establish the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. For example, though King Solomon sinned, he is also a prefigurement, or “type” of Christ because he was a peacemaker, filled with wisdom, and built the Temple. Saint Augustine, in his commentary on Psalm 127, states that our Lord is “the true Solomon” and that “Solomon was the figure of this Peacemaker.” The true Peacemaker is Christ, and just as Solomon built the Temple, so our Lord built the true Temple of His Body, the Church.

Following this form of typology, the Book of 1 Kings states, “Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right. She said, ‘There is one small favor I would ask of you. Do not refuse me.’ The king said to her, ‘Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you’” (1 Kings 2:19–20). If King Solomon, an Old Testament type of Christ, honored his Queen Mother’s requests and sat her on a throne next to his, then so much more does our Lord, the true King of Kings, do so with His mother. Therefore, today’s memorial celebrates the fact that, in Heaven, Jesus’ mother is seated on a throne next to His, and like Solomon, Jesus says with certainty to her, “Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you.”

It is for these reasons, that on October 11, 1954, four years after the proclamation of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII instituted the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary with his encyclical letter, Ad Caeli Reginam (The Queen of Heaven). This memorial was first assigned the date May 31, which followed the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However, in 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the date to August 22, eight days after the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In large part, this was done to create an octave of anticipation and to show that the Assumption necessarily results in the Mother of God being also the Queen Mother of Heaven and Earth.

As Queen, Mother Mary not only intercedes on our behalf, she also acts as her Son’s mediator. From her heavenly throne, the Queen Mother of Heaven and Earth is entrusted with the grace of God. She is not the source, but she is privileged to be the instrument of distribution. As a loving mother, nothing pleases her more than to lavish every good thing upon her children on earth. She longs to gather all of her children together in Heaven, with and in her divine Son.

Though the liturgical and theological evolution of today’s memorial might seem complex, the heart of it is simple. We not only have a mother in Heaven, we also have a Queen Mother. As Mary is the Queen Mother of God, we must turn to her with childlike faith and simplicity. As a young child runs to a loving mother in time of need, never questioning her love, protection, and care, so we must run to her. She is our protectress, our refuge, our hope, and our sweet delight. Her affection is perfect and her motherly love unmatched.

As we honor the Queen of Heaven today, ponder the Church’s ever-deepening understanding of her role. As the Church has increased its comprehension of Mary’s exalted role through the centuries, so we must individually make this discovery throughout our lives. Turn to her, seek her prayers, rely upon her intercession, and honor her as your mother and your queen.

Mother and Queen of Heaven, this day I run to you as a child with confidence and trust. You are the glorious Queen Mother, reigning over all of your children with love and mercy. Please pray for me, and bestow upon me all that I need. I open my heart to the grace of your Son, which you are entrusted to dispense. Make me holy and free from sin, so you can present me spotless and pure to your beloved Son, the King of the Universe. Queen of Heaven, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.

Further Reading:

Pope Pius XII

Pope Benedict XVI

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Catholic News Agency


America Needs Fatima

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