The Queenship of Mary

22 August 2006: Queenship of Mary
Luke 1, 26-38: The Annunciation

Note: As requested by those who celebrated their birthdays last August 22.

For many of us, Filipinos, the idea of a queen is a foreign notion and do not quite draw out inspiration from us. The celebration of the Queenship of Mary was established at the end of the 1954 Marian Year by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam. The encyclical says that Mary is Queen because of her divine maternity and her association with Jesus’ redemptive mission. In other words, she is queen because she is the mother of God’s son, Jesus, and she is queen because she shares in the work of her Son.

Salvation history is a story that involves human participation When God willed that He saves us, He employed human beings to participate in His work. He worked with both men and women: Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Ruth, David, Isaiah, Deborah, etc. He worked with the young as Jeremiah was. He worked with the old such as Abraham. He worked with mothers such as Sarah and Elizabeth. The Apostle Paul spoke of this mystery when he stated, “We are God’s co-workers” (1 Cor 3,9). Why? Can’t God get the job done by Himself? Of course He can. But, like all parents, our well-being is nurtured by them, but eventually determined by us. We share in our redemption. Parents and children are co-workers. Like God and us. In an unparalleled way, with Mary to whom God entrusted such tasks as feeding His Son with her own milk, singing Him to sleep, and accompanying Him all the way to the Cross where she gave her sorrowful yes to His self-offering. In short, the Father willed that His Son’s entire existence as a man would hinge, so to speak, upon the ongoing faith of Mary. Just imagine if you were Mary: the whole thing is not just one dramatic event as we think of the Annunciation or Christmas with all the angels singing. The whole thing involves the daily tasks and the heartaches that comes when Jesus is lost or being tortured to death.

Being a disciple, a co-worker with Jesus, takes effort. At times, it takes a lot of suffering. In one passage St. Paul said, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church.” (Col 1: 24). In the event of an unsuccessful basketball game, a bruised knee, a broken heart, a difficulty in running organizations, a disastrous project, a difficult person in the family, Catholics may remember with some fondness being told to “offer it up to the Lord” (Ipagpaubaya mo na sa Diyos). This simple phrase is the key to a basic understanding of our faith. By consciously uniting our sufferings to Our Lord’s redemptive sufferings on the cross, we become co-workers. By uniting her heart to His, especially at Calvary, the Blessed Mother became Christ’s co-worker. Vatican II (1962-65) said, “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. (Lumen Gentium 62; Catechism 969).

When I was a child, we would go to see my grandparents and I could count on my mother turning around at some point, taking her handkerchief, and cleaning me up in order to see Lola and Lolo. Remember the time when we smelled like sweat and our mother cleans us? In the same way, when we are about to encounter some difficulty in our lives, Mary our mother says, “Come here. You have some things in your life that needs to be cleaned up. One thing I appreciate about Mary is that she is our mother and there is a great difference between a mother’s prayers and anyone else’s when it comes to children’s needs. Mothers do not miss anything. They see the details of their children’s lives. If you look at it closely, Mary does not live out a role or a duty, but a love --- as mothers do.

This is therefore the reason why we celebrate Mary’s Queenship: as the mother of Jesus and ours too. Her queenship is being mother to us yesterday, today and tomorrow. And we do not also forget that it also means that we are responsible for each other’s growth and development into mature Christians.

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