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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."

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

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today is the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary invoked with the title: “Queen”. It is a feast of recent institution, even though it is ancient in origin and and devotion: it was established, in fact, by the Venerable Pius XII, in 1954, at the end of the Marian Year, fixing the date to 31st May (cf Ad Caeli Reginam). In this circumstance the Pope declared that Mary is Queen more than any other creature through the elevation of her soul and through the excellence of the gifts received. She never ceases to bestow upon humanity all the treasures of her love and care (cf Discourse in honour of Mary Queen, 1 Nov 1954). Now, after the post-conciliar reform of the liturgical calendar, it has been placed eight days after the solemnity of the Assumption so as to underline the close link between the royalty of Mary and her glorification in body and soul beside her Son. In the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church we read: "Mary was assumed into heavenly glory and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, so as to be the more fully conformed to her Son” (Lumen Gentium, 59).

This is the root of today’s feast: Mary is Queen because she is associated in a unique way to her Son, both on the earthly pathway and in the glory of Heaven. The great saint of Syria, Ephrem the Syrian, affirms, concerning the royalty of Mary, that it derives from her motherhood: she is Mother of the Lord, of the King of kings (cf Is 9, 1-6) and shows us Jesus as our life, salvation and hope. The Servant of God Paul VI recalled in his apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus: “In the Virgin Mary everything is relative to Christ and everything depends on him: it is for him that God the Father, from all eternity, has chosen her as all holy Mother and has 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 only a title united to others, the crown, an ornament among others? What does it mean? What is this royalty? As already shown, it is a consequence of her being united to the Son, of her being in Heaven, that is in communion with God; she participates in God’s responsibility for the world and in God’s love for the world. There is a vulgar, common idea of a king or queen: this would be a person with power, riches. But this is not the type of royalty of Jesus and Mary. Let us think of the Lord; Christ's royalty and being king is interwoven with humility, service, love: it is above all to serve, to help, to love. Let us remember that Jesus was proclaimed king on the cross with this inscription written by Pilate: “King of the Jews” (cf Mk 15, 26). In that moment on the cross it is shown that He is king; and how is He King? By suffering with us, for us, by loving to the very end, and thus He governs and creates truth, love, justice. Or let us also think of another moment: at the Last Supper he bends down to wash the feet of his own disciples. Therefore Jesus’ royalty 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 whole life. And this is the same with Mary: she is queen in her service to God to humanity, she is queen of love who lives the gift of herself to God so as to enter into the plan of man's salvation. To the angel she responds: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord” (cf Lk 1, 38) and in the Magnificat she sings: God has looked upon the humility of his servant (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, humble servant.

And so we have already reached the point: how does Mary exercise this royalty of service and love? By watching over us, her children: children who turn to her in prayer, so as to thank her or to ask her for her maternal protection and her celestial help, after perhaps having lost the way, oppressed by sorrow or anguish through the sad and troubled vicissitudes of life. In the serenity or the darkness of existence, we turn to Mary entrusting ourselves to her continual intercession, so that she may be able to obtain for us from her Son every grace and mercy necessary for our pilgrimage along the roads of the world. To Him who rules the world and has in hand the destinies of the universe, we turn with trust by means of the Virgin Mary. For centuries she has been invoked as celestial Queen of Heaven; eight times, after the prayer of the holy Rosary, she is implored in the Litany of Loreto as Queen of the Angels, of the Patriarchs, of the Prophets, of the Apostles, of the Martyrs, of Confessors, of Virgins, of all Saints and of Families. The rhythm of these ancient invocations, and daily prayers like the Salve Regina, help us to understand that the Holy Virgin, as our Mother beside her Son Jesus in the glory of Heaven, is with us always, in the daily course of our life.

The title of queen is thus a title of trust, of joy, of love. And we know that she who in part has in hand the fate of the world is good, she loves us and helps us in our difficulties.

Dear friends, devotion to Our Lady is an important element of spiritual life. In our prayer let us not fail to turn trustingly to her. Mary will not fail to intercede for us beside her Son. In looking at her, let us imitate her faith, her full availability to God’s project of love, her generous welcome of Jesus. Let us learn to live from Mary. Mary is the Queen of heaven close to God, but she is also the mother close to each one of us, who loves us and listens to our voice. Thank you for your attention."

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."

The Queen of the Universe (Ap 12, 1)
Catechesis by St John Paul II
General Audience, 23 July 1997 - also in 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 V 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" (Mk 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."

Pope St John Paul II's Message to the General Assembly of the United Nations
Feast of the Coronation of Our Lady, 22 August 1980
- also in French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

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!