Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meditation for the Octave of Assumption - Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth

Pope Pius XII proclaimed in October 1954 the feast of Mary Queen (May 31). As in the case of all great privileges of Mary, her Queenship flows from her divine Motherhood as from its source: because Christ her Son is King, Mary is Queen. St Paul describes very beautifully the Kingship of Christ. "Rendering thanks to the Father, who had made us worthy to share the lot of the saints in light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have our redemption, the remission of our sins. he is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature. For in Him all things were created, things visible and things invisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers. All things have been created through and unto him, and he is above all creatures, and in him all things hold together" (Col. 1, 12-17)

Thus it is clear that in the divine plan of creation the God-man is the first and essential member, around whom everything else revolves, to whom everything else is subordinated, and by whom everything else is explained.

Once only in the Gospel narrative does Christ refer expressly to the nature of His Kingdom. Then it is to declare solemnly before the Roman Governor, Pilate, that His Kingship is not of this world. By this Christ meant that His Kingship is not of a transitory political type, but eternal and supra-political. In other words the Kingship of Christ is not concerned with temporal but ultimate values that is, the truths and precepts of the moral law and of religion. It is by accepting these truth and by carrying out these precepts that man attains his final end.

In this Kingship of Christ mary participates as His Mother. In the 12th Chapter of the Apocalypse we read: "And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." The Church applies this verse to the Blessed Virgin. There is no doubt that the Fathers understood this verse as picturing the Church of the Old and New Covenants. The beams of the divine glory clothe her; the moon is beneath her feet; she is crowned with a crown of twelve stars, and she must bring forth Christ to the world. "Who is this Woman? Clearly the Mother of the Messiah, but also of a vast posterity which endures to the end of time. She is, then, as symbolic as the Dragon, and is comparable with the 'Jerusalem on high, the Mother of us all' (Gal 4:26): Jerusalem, whether terrestrial or ideal, especially as representing the whole people of God, was constantly figured as a woman, mother of the Holy People from whom, in Old Testament times, the Messiah was to come" (Cath. Commentary on Holy Scripture). Then St John thinks of the "primeval serpent", he remembers Eve: The Woman becomes the Second Eve, and so we have the series - the Mother of the Messiah: the Universal Eve: Jerusalem and the people: the Church and Mary.
The first chapter of Genesis begins the story of Christ's Kingdom on earth. Satan, having failed in heaven, succeeds in getting newly created man to rebele against God and so gains mastery over the human race. But, by reason of his weaker nature, the malignity of man's sin was far less than that of Satan and his followers, and so, at the very moment of the fall, God promises man ultimate deliverance from the power of Satan at the hands of "the woman and her seed". How this deliverance was effected is recorded in the Gospel story, and enlarged upon in this book. The rightful King appears among His people, and by accepting death freely and in their name at the hands of the powers of darkness, satisfies the divine justice and breaks Satan's power over man: "Now is the judgment of the world; now will the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth (i.e. crucified), will draw all things to myself (John 12: 31-32). By this sacrifice of Himself Christ merited for all His followers the power to triumph over the devil. This Our Lord tells us: "I was watching Satan fall as lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the might of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you" (Luke 10:18-19).
Christ, therefore, is King by double title, by hereditary right and by conquest. And just as Mary participated in Christ's hereditary title of King as His Mother, so also she participates in His title of King by conquest because she took an active part in that victory over Satan by which the world was redeemed.

The doctrine underlying the Queenship of Mary is not a new one. Nor id the title "Qoeen" given to Mary a new one. For centuries Mary has been invoked as Queen in the Litany of Loreto. Why then has the Church seen it fit to proclaim solemnity the Queenship of Mary in our day? The Pope gave the answer to this on the occasion of the proclamation of the new feast . The institution of the new liturgical feats of the Queenship of Mary is intended to throw into special relief that particular aspect of Christian truth that is best adapted to remedy the peculiar evils that afflict the present generation, and to direct this generation in the way of the salvation it so eagerly seeks.

This has always been the custom of the Church. The Church defined the doctrine of the Assumption of Our Lady - a doctrine that has always been held by the Universal Church, but whose solemn definition was intended not merely to gibe glory to the Mother of God, but also to recall to a generation steeped in materialism one of the most fundamental truths of Christianity, namely, the immortal destiny of man, soul and body. So also the Feast of the Queenship of Mary intended to remind man of the existence of an authority which penetrates to the very interior of man's nature as man, which touches him in his profound essence in that part of man that is spiritual and immortal. Further it proposes to the world one to whom all may go confidently for guidance and help in these perilous times when the unity and peace of mankind as a whole, and the very sources of life itself, are in danger. If only she be asked, Mary will confound the evil work of the enemy of mankind, who envies in man the peace he himself has lost. She will give light to the world's rulers to guide their people in the way of justice and peace, for she is the Seat of Wisdom to whom the Church applies the inspired words: "By me Kings reign and lawgivers decree just things. By me princes rule, and the mighty decree justice" (Prov. 8:15-16).