Queenship of Mary: Why?
Why do we celebrate this feast? The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This feast was cut out of the calendar after Vatican II, and Saint John Paul II reinstituted it.
So do we do this JUST to annoy our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, who already accuse us of placing far too much emphasis on Mary? No. There is a significant reason why we have this feast. We always emphasize how we’re the family of God, the family of God, we say it so often it almost becomes a cliché. God is our Father. Mary is our mother. Jesus is our brother.
But like the feast of Christ the King, which happens at the end of Ordinary Time, we have the feast of the Queenship of Mary, which happens around the middle of Ordinary Time, as a reminder that the family we belong to is no ordinary family. The family we belong to is royalty, a holy royalty, a divine royalty. And if we are members of that holy, royal, family, we have a responsibility to be acting holy and royal as well.
I’m reluctant to say that we should act like royalty alone, because we look at the behavior of so many royal people throughout history and they behaved despicably. That is certainly NOT the royalty we are called to imitate. We are called to imitate royalty in its purest form. The Royals were supposed to lead by example. They were supposed to protect the people, and they were supposed to see the needs of the poor, the widows, and the orphans.
And so we are supposed to lead by example, that our actions don’t contradict what we profess to believe in Church. We’re supposed to protect people by knowing the Word of God and the teaching of the Church and we are not to be afraid to speak out when the teachings of the Church or the Word of God are being violated. And we’re supposed to take care of the poor in our charity. This is our holy royalty. This is what truly makes us noble. This is what our feast today reminds us of.
Mary is in every way a noble Queen. Mary led by example. We see this in her walk to Calvary with her son, and how she never curses her son’s executors, even though she KNOWS his condemnation is unjust. She protected humanity in the Incarnation where Mary agreed to be the Mother of the Messiah, knowing that to be caught pregnant before marriage carried a death sentence in her day. She put herself at great, personal, risk for the sake of saving others. And Mary took care of the poor. We see this in her cousin Elizabeth. When Mary learns that her aged cousin Elizabeth is pregnant, Mary makes a long and dangerous journey to the hill country to help her. Mary proved her nobility. She earned her Queenship.
And it’s entirely proper we acknowledge this, because when Solomon becomes King, the first thing he does is sets up a throne for his mother, Bathsheba, beside him. In Hebrew culture the Queen-Mother was always revered.
When I was a chaplain at Roger Williams University in Bristol, I became briefly acquainted with a Moslem Imam, who once said at an ecumenical Thanksgiving prayer service, “In Islam, it is customary to kiss your father once, but you kiss your mother three times; once because she gave birth to you, second because she nursed you, and third because she taught you your first lessons about God.” I always liked that. And even here we can apply the example of the Blessed Mother. With Christ’s gift on the cross, Mary became the mother of us all. Holy Mother Church has given birth to us spiritually. Mary has nursed us. She has fed us on her example in scripture. And Mary has taught us our first lessons about God. She says to us always as she said to the servants at the Wedding of Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.”
She is indeed our noble Queen, and our Mother, and we should be grateful to have her. Blessed be God forever.--Father Michael Anthony Sisco
Note:The Confraternity of Penitents, which hosts this website, was refounded on the Queenship of Mary, August 22, 2003. It is a very special day to members and friends of the Confraternity.