Pastor’s Letter for August 26, 2016: Queen of Heaven
This past week we celebrated the feast of the Queenship of Mary, a rather late feast on the calendar with ancient origins. This feast on August 22nd was instituted in 1954 by Pius XII at the request of bishops from around the world. Roots of this feast can be traced back to the 5th century and the Council of Ephesus where Mary was proclaimed “Theotokos” which means “God bearer” or “Mother of God”. From there icon images began to appear picturing Mary alongside Christ as “Pantocrator” or “Sovereign King”, and Mary as Empress.
Examples of Mary as Queen appear in the West. A particularly touching mosaic can be seen in Rome with Mary and Jesus sitting on a common throne with Jesus’ arm around Mary. Other mosaics show Jesus crowning Mary. This art is showing the developing place that Mary has in Christian theology and mentality. Mary essentially shares and participates in the work and mission of her Son. If Christ is King, she is Queen. If Christ is Redeemer she is Co-Redeemer, as the late St. John Paul II referred to her.
It is truly fitting and proper to call Mary “Queen.” She is the fairest of our race. She is virgin most pure, without the stain of original sin. She made up for the fall of Eve and her heel firmly crushes the head of Hell’s serpent. She is the new Eve and stands by the New Adam who is Christ. She is effectively the apex of creation, the first and entirely perfect human person in the universe.
When Pius XII instituted this feast of the Queenship of Mary he invited all Christians to draw near the throne of grace and mercy of our Mother and Queen, to ask her help in adversity and suffering. She helps us on the path to heaven by the pure light of her grace and her love, and by helping to set us free from the slavery of sin. We are fortunate to have Mary as the patroness of our parish under the title of Holy Rosary, with the fifth Glorious mystery of the Rosary being the Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.