Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Queenship of Mary, a feast day often misunderstood by non-Catholics and even Catholics themselves.
The primary reason is that folks mistakenly believe that Catholics worship Mary and that we hold her equal with Christ. That’s absolutely untrue. We worship only the Triune God -Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but we honor Mary because she is Jesus’ Mother and by merit of that, holds a special place in God’s plan of salvation.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been approached after I’ve given a presentation by someone who says the same or similar: “You know, I just don’t get that Mary-thing.” I’m always sad to hear that, both because I seldom have time at that moment to explain Catholic doctrine on Mary and also because this person has been missing out on one of the most beautiful and comforting facets of our Catholic Faith.
Then there are the non-Catholic Mary-haters, as I call them. These are the folks who attack when I post something on this blog or social media about our Blessed Mother. They are vicious, relentless, and truly ignorant (of Catholic teaching). Yet, they insist they know exactly what Catholics believe (even though they’ve never in their lives cracked open a Catechism or attended a Mass), to the point of arguing with me that yes, I DO worship Mary. Shouldn’t I know who I worship and who I don’t?
The first few times I experienced this, I tried to charitably and patiently counter the mean-spirited accusations and false assumptions by explaining what Catholics actually do believe. Unfortunately, I doubt I’ve gotten through to any of my aggressors (one guy continued the argument over several hours, posting personally insulting, hostile comments every few minutes. I finally had to de-friend him because his hatefulness was getting out of hand).
Now when that happens, I offer one explanation, perhaps two at the most. If the person isn’t willing to consider my position and becomes nasty, I block him or her from further posting. Any comments that are not given in Christian charity, I delete. I’m not afraid of the argument itself, and I would love the opportunity to explain my Faith, but I’m now able to tell who’s really willing to listen and who doesn’t really care to know what Catholics actually believe. There’s a distinction. Some people want to learn and understand. Some people what to hate and malign. My time has to be spent for those who actually want to know about the Catholic Faith.
Which leads me back to the beginning of this post. Whether you meet up with anti-Catholics as I do, or are merely going about your business unprovoked, it’s essential to know the catechism and to understand for yourself what we Catholics believe and why.
One point that often becomes contentious is our reference to Mary as Queen. Pope Pius XII wrote about this with clarity and inspiration in his encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam. I recommend reading the whole thing (found online, here). But for purposes of today’s celebration, I’m sharing with you two paragraphs that I think put it in a nutshell:
As We have already mentioned, Venerable Brothers, according to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood. In Holy Writ, concerning the Son whom Mary will conceive, We read this sentence: “He shall be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end,” and in addition Mary is called “Mother of the Lord”; from this it is easily concluded that she is a Queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of His conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man King and Lord of all things. So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: “When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.” Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary’s royal office.
From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God’s design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of “recapitulation,” in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ “in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race”; and if, in truth, “it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall,” then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam.(Ad Caeli Reginam: 34, 38)
Mary is indeed Queen, and reigns with her Son, the King. We honor her for her purity, holiness, and complete surrender to God’s will. We respect her as Mother of God. We ask for her intercession because of her closeness to Christ, and we strive to imitate her because she was and is the perfect disciple. Plain and simple.
Mary, you are Queen! Intercede special graces for us on this amazing feast of your Queenship. Help us to fully understand our Faith, courageously defend it, and to charitably share it with others. Amen.