The Queenship of Mary

The liturgical theme of the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary is that, “by honoring Mary our Queen, we honor Christ the King and obtain eternal life in the heavenly kingdom”.  Originally celebrated on May 31st, the Memorial was moved to August 22nd so that the Solemnity of the Assumption could have a natural prolongation, with its festive celebration being Mary’s Queenship and crowning one week later. 

The Queenship of Mary is a vast study unto itself, from tradition dating back to the 4th century, to the teaching of Pope Pius XII, to the teachings Post-Vatican II, to current liturgical/theological/pastoral understandings and to the wonderful recent studies showing how the Queenship of Mary was foreshadowed in the Old Testament by the role of Queen-Mother (the Gebirah).

One of the many and varied aspects of Mary’s Queenship that I read about in the Dictionary of Mary is that it is a Queenship of love and service:  “Mary’s Queenship is one of love and service not pomp and power….On earth Mary was always humble, the servant of the Lord.  She devoted herself totally to her Son and His work.  With Him and under Him she served the Mystery of the Redemption.  Assumed into heaven, she continues to manifest this love and service as a minister of piety by interceding with God for us so that all her children may attain salvation.”

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope!  To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.  To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.  Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us.  And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Feastday of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) was a Cistercian and a Doctor of the Church.  He is known as the Marian Doctor, and in an excellent article found on the website Our Lady of Medjugorje, author Cristina Palici explains:

Amongst the Doctors of the Church he is known as the Marian Doctor; not that he wrote lengthy pages dedicated to Our Lady, or revealed new theological dogmas on the Virgin of Nazareth, as Bernard’s writings on Mary aren’t even that many. However, all his writings and his own life were impregnated with her. Even when Bernard doesn’t speak of her, Mary is always present. We can see this in his writings in which he exhorts his brothers to silence, humility, purity of heart, and filial obedience: these are all virtues which, according to the saint, not only shine in Mary but are dispensed by her.

He thus merited the title of Marian Doctor because of his great love and filial devotion for the Mother of the Saviour. His writings were so appreciated that the Church inserted them in the Sacred Liturgy. Ending the day with a Salve Regina or some other Marian antiphony was his idea. St. Bernard had so much trust in her powerful intercession that he said: “God has wanted that we obtain nothing if not through the hands of Mary.” For St. Bernard “Mary is our mediatrix”; and we receive the Holy Spirit that “overflows from her.”

I would encourage you to read the complete article for a brief overview of St. Bernard’s loving relationship with, and thoughts on, Mary.
One of the most famous prayers attributed to St. Bernard is The Memorare, but I would also like to share with you today one which can be found in the Dictionary of Mary.  Upon reading it I could not help but think that St. Bernard would be in full support of the proclamation of the Fifth Marian Dogma:

Mary, Our Advocate

O Blessed Lady, you found grace, brought forth the Life, and became the Mother of salvation. May you obtain the grace for us to go to the Son. By your mediation, may we be received by the One Who through you gave Himself to us. May your integrity compensate with Him for the fault of our corruption; and may your humility, which is pleasing to God, implore pardon for our vanity. May your great charity cover the multitude of our sins; and may your glorious fecundity confer on us a fecundity of merits.

Dear Lady, our Mediatrix and Advocate, reconcile us to your Son, recommend us to Him, and present us to your Son. By the grace you found, by the privilege you merited, by the Mercy you brought forth, obtain for us the following favor, O blessed Lady.

May the One Who – thanks to you – came down to share our infirmity and wretchedness make us share – again thanks to you – His glory and beatitude: Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, Who reigns in heaven and is blessed forever!

Feastday of St. John Eudes

Today is the feastday of St. John Eudes (1601-1680), whose devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I wrote about a few months ago, in this post.  You can learn more about St. John Eudes on the website of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists).

Here is another of St. John Eudes’ prayers, which I found on the website of the Good Shepherd Sisters, Province of Australia and Aotearoa [New Zealand]:

O most benevolent
and most merciful
Heart of Jesus,
imprint in our hearts
a perfect image
of your great mercy,
so that we may fulfil
the commandment
You gave us:
“Be merciful
as your Father
is merciful”.

Mother of mercy,
look upon
so much misery,
so many poor people,
so many captives,
so many prisoners,
so many men and women
who suffer persecution
at the hands of their brothers and sisters,
so many defenceless people
so many afflicted souls, so many troubled hearts.

Mother of mercy, open the eyes
of your clemency and see our desolation.
Open the ears of your goodness
and hear our supplication.

Most loving and most powerful advocate,
show that You are truly the Mother of Mercy.

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From:  The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great

…it was revealed to her that on the day previous to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin she [Mary] had been so absorbed in God, from the hour of None until the moment of her happy departure from this world, as to have nothing human in her, to live only by the Spirit of God, and to taste in anticipation all those celestial joys which she soon experienced perfectly and eternally in the bosom of God; and that at the third hour of the night Our Lord came for and took her to Himself with exceeding joy.

Ave in aeternum   (thanks to:  Nicholas Wilton Sacred Choral Music)

Novena for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

For those of you who may wish to begin a novena today for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15, 2008 here is a prayer which may be used:

Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, you have at last been taken to the throne prepared for you in heaven by the Holy Trinity.

Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven.

From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. In honor of your Assumption into heaven I ask for this favor: (Mention your request).

When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you.

[From:  Favorite Novenas to Mary, by Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, pg. 32]

The August Month of Mary

“August” – definition:  Marked by majestic dignity or grandeur.

How very appropriate then, that the whole month of August is devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that within this month we will also celebrate two great feastdays, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as the Queenship of Mary.

A prayer dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

Mary, temple of God,
your Heart is the masterpiece of the Holy Trinity.
The Eternal Father unfolded His omnipotence
in order to form in you
a Heart full of sweetness and obedience to your Creator.
The Divine Son gave you a mother’s Heart,
in which He wished to dwell
as in a sanctuary.
The Holy Spirit gave you
the Heart of a bride,
all burning with a love pure and ardent.

Your Heart is truly a mirror of all the virtues,
a vivid image and faithful copy
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Keep me always in the love of your Heart,
that I may love you more
and be led to love Jesus
with my whole heart.

[From:  Favorite Prayers to Our Lady, collected by Anthony M. Buono, pg. 153]