Fifth Glorious Mystery
Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven
Today is the liturgical Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, invoked by the title: “Queen”. It is a recently instituted feast, although its origins and the devotion to her are ancient. It was in fact established in 1954, at the end of the Marian Year, by Venerable Pius XII who fixed the date as 31 May (cf. Encyclical Letter Ad Caeli Reginam, 11 October 1954: AAS 46 , 625-640).
In 1954 on the occasion of Pope Pius XII introduction of the Feast of Mary as Queen of Heaven (a feast set for 22 August, eight days after the Feast of the Assumption) he said that Mary was “Queen more than any other creature because of the sublime dignity of her soul and the excellence of the gifts she received. She never ceases to bestow upon humanity all the treasures of her love and tender care.”
In 2012 on this feast Pope Benedict reflected:
Mary is Queen because she is uniquely conformed to her Son, both on the earthly journey and in heavenly glory… She points Jesus out to us as our life, our salvation and our hope.
Almost forty years earlier (1974) Paul VI said: “In the Virgin Mary everything is relative to Christ and dependent upon him. It was with a view to Christ that God the Father, from all eternity, chose her to be the all-holy Mother and adorned her with gifts of the Spirit granted to no one else”
Back to Pope Benedict who continued:
Now however, let us ask ourselves: what does “Mary Queen” mean? Is it solely a title, together with others, a crown, an ornament like others? What does it mean? What is this queenship? As mentioned above, it is a consequence of her being united to the Son, of her being in heaven, that is, in communion with God; she shares in God’s responsibility for the world and in God’s love for the world.
in 2021 the life of royalty seems privileged and a bit out-of-touch. Pope Benedict continues addressing this reality:
“There is a worldly or common idea of a king or queen: a person with great power and wealth. But this is not the kind of royalty of Jesus and Mary. 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.