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)
Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun? (Song of Songs 6:10)
On October 11, 1954, on what was then the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (later moved to January 1), Pope Pius XII established the Feast of the Queenship of Mary in his encyclical To the Queen of Heaven. It would be celebrated on the octave day of the Assumption, August 22. In the words of Pius XII:
“Mary deserves the title because she is mother of God, closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.”
While it was a new feast on the liturgical calendar at the time, the honoring of Mary as queen has very deep roots in tradition and Scripture. In the Old Testament the mother of a king had great influence in court. As Von Balthasar wrote, (as quoted in Magnificat magazine)
“A queen enjoys full power, even with regard to the king. Mary’s fullness of power is expressed in her intercession for us and her mediation of graces, so that we receive all personal graces from God.”
Elizabeth, at the Visitation, asked, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should visit me?” And as early as the fourth century St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” And hymns as early as the 11th and 13th centuries included “Hail Holy Queen,” “Queen of Heaven,” and “Hail Queen of Heaven.”
“The solidly theological reasons for her title of Queen are expressed splendidly by Pius XII, in his Radiomessage to Fatima, Bendito seja (AAS 38. 266): “He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Martyrs in the unspeakable work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperator, she remains forever associated to Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father]. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.” (Excerpted and adapted from Theology 523: Our Lady in Doctrine and Devotion, by Father William G. Most.)
Truly, how could the mother of God, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, not be a queen? She is the mother of the eternal King of Kings. St. John Damascene wrote, “When she became mother of the creator, she truly became queen of every creature.”(https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/is-there-a-queen-in-the-kingdom-of-heaven) As the spouse of the Holy Spirit of God she is indeed a queen. As the Lord our God reigns, so must she in both of these capacities.
The Church proclaims Mary’s status as queen in the numerous titles with which we address her:
Queen of Angels, Queen of Heaven, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of All Saints, Queen of the May, Queen of the Universe, Queen of Mercy, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Queen Conceived Without Original Sin, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of Peace
On the Feast of your Queenship and every day, O Mary, our heavenly queen, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Copyright 2018 Rosemary Bogdan