By Fr. Jay Kythe, OSB
Yesterday we celebrated the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary. This title of Mary started up in the 5th century around the time of the title of Mary as the “Mother of God” at the Council of Ephesus.
We are not used to considering royalty in our current age. Therefore, it is difficult to consider Mary as Queen. It is easier to think of her motherhood instead. This is easy for me, probably because I think of my own mother often. August 21 was her birthday, so she was on my mind.
There are several things about motherhood that enable me to think of Mary’s motherhood.
- Caretaker - My mom was certainly that. Who else do I think of when I, as a 40-something year old man, am sick? I want my mom. I want her hand on my forehead. I want her to care for me.
- Gentleness - There are several icons of Mary and Jesus cheek to cheek, filled with tenderness. And since Jesus gave Mary to us at the foot of the Cross to be our mother, we too can be cheek to cheek with her.
- Defender - I remember fondly my mom fighting off a big black dog with a baseball bat with me hiding behind her legs. This image reminds me of another image of Mary beating off the devil with children running to her skirts for protection.
But the Queenship of Mary takes her maternal solicitude up to an entirely new level! Her Queenship relies on her fiat, on her total surrender to the will of God, which we heard about in th Gospel: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to Thy word.”
Mary cares for us in an unselfish way, completely united to God’s perfect will for us. She wants what is best for us, because she knows what is best for us, perfectly united to God’s will. So as Queen Mother, she does what every good Queen Mother does: she approaches her Son the King of the Universe and intercedes for us.
Being Queen doesn’t distance her from us. Instead, it brings her closer to us. Her maternal love is magnified by her royalty. She knows everything that happens to us, so she can confidently approach her Son with requests on our behalf.
I would like to point out an earthly example of her intercession, a prayer she still makes before her Son. At the Wedding at Cana, her request to Jesus was simple and small: “They have no more wine.” In the Scriptures, wine is used to signify joy, a type of joy that is natural and yet carries us into supernatural joy. Whenever people have lost that joy, lost that trust and confidence in God, lost a sense of meaning and purpose—especially in the sacrament of marriage—she intercedes for her children before the throne of the King with the same words, “They have no more wine.” And we too can join our prayers to hers when we find others without that joy, using the same simple words, pleading with the King to do something, “They have no more wine.”
So let us present our needs and desires to our Queen and Mother, whose care for us makes her intercede before the King daily on our behalf. We do so out of great trust, for we are her childen.