St John's Q&A

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Queenship of Mary

Today, the Church celebrates the memorial of the Queenship of Mary which celebrates Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. This feast is very much connected to last Wednesday’s solemnity of Mary’s Assumption because we believe that God crowned Mary as Queen when she was assumed into Heaven. The Mother of God has been given this crown because of her perfect and consistent ‘fiat’ (‘thy will be done’) to Almighty God. She is queen and mother of all the angels and saints in Heaven and she is our queen and mother.

Here is an excerpt from today’s Office of Readings, a homily by St. Amadeus of Lausanne, bishop: “She is a bride, so gentle and affectionate, and the mother of the only true bridegroom. In her abundant goodness she has channeled the spring of reason’s garden, the well of living and life-giving waters that pour forth in a rushing stream from divine Lebanon and flow down from Mount Zion until they surround the shores of every far-flung nation. With divine assistance she has redirected these waters and made them into streams of peace and pools of grace. Therefore, when the Virgin of virgins was led forth by God and her Son, the King of kings, amid the company of exulting angels and rejoicing archangels, with the heavens ringing with praise, the prophecy of the psalmist was fulfilled, in which he said to the Lord: At your right hand stands the queen, clothed in gold of Ophir (Ps. 145)”.

Related to this, Anon asked: “What is the distinction between assumption and ascension? Also, where are we told that Mary was assumed into heaven? I've always wondered why we don't hear more about Mary's life after Jesus' death.” Christ’s ascension and Mary’s assumption are similar in that they are both taken up into Heavenly glory. They are distinct in that Christ’s Ascension is the final part of the act of Salvation and Mary’s Assumption is one of the first fruits of Salvation. In other words, the latter occurs as a result of the former: the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption occurs as a result of the (Life, Death, Resurrection, and) Ascension of the Lord Jesus.

“ Christ’s ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain…Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever” (CCC, # 665-666). The Ascension signifies to us not only the glory of Christ but also that we may share in his glory in Heaven. The Assumption gives us real hope that this is true because we see our Mother share in Christ’s glory. The Catechism further explains:

“‘Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of Lords and conqueror of sin and death*’. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the Resurrection of other Christians:

‘in giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother Of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death**’” (CCC, # 966).

* Lumen Gentium, Vatican II
** Byzantine Liturgy


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