22 August 2009

Regina Mundi Dignissima

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said: “God wills that all His gifts should come to us through Mary.” What, then, should our response be to our Lady? The Carthusian, Dom Louis Rouvier, offers this answer: “Our response to the advances of our gentle Mother should be one of boundless gratitude, even though, in her humility, she seeks our thanks only that she may unite them with the ceaseless Magnificat she sings to the divine Majesty.”

And there’s that word: “Majesty!” Today the Church celebrates Mary: first, we commemorate liturgically her Queenship and on the traditional calendar her Immaculate Heart is honored. Although not completely fallen out of use in our modern day, words like “king” or “queen” or “majesty” are not a part of the daily vocabulary for many of us.

The book of Genesis (2:18) tells us that by God’s design, “it is not good for man to be alone.” When God became Man, He desired to experience every facet of man, that is, He made Himself subject to His own laws. Thus, our Lord Jesus Christ saw to it that He would not be alone, but would associate Himself with a suitable helper, one that would be His Mother, and one that He would address in Sacred Scripture with the same title that Adam used to name his helper: “Woman.” Who else could be a “suitable” helper for the God-Man, other than she who is Immaculate?

Saint Bernardine of Siena explains: “Indeed, from the moment Mary consented to the divine maternity, she merited to receive dominion over all creatures, and the scepter of the world was placed in her hands. As many creatures as there are to obey God, so are there to obey Mary. Angels and men, all that is in heaven and on earth, being subject to God, are, by that very fact, subject to His most holy Mother.”

Saint Anselm adds: “Just as God is the Lord of the Universe, because He has by His word created every being in its own nature, so is Mary the Mistress of the world, restoring all things in their primal dignity by the graces she has merited.”

Jesus is the King of kings and His holy Mother is the Queen. But shouldn’t a queen be the wife of the king? The Old Testament symbolizes the reality or actuality of the New. In the New Testament we read: “And a great sign appeared in heaven, a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). The Scriptures continue by revealing that this Woman wearing a crown was with Child, and He was to rule all nations (cf. Revelation 12:2, 5). In the Old Testament the psalmist writes: “At Your right stands the queen, clothed with splendor in robes embroidered with pearls set in gold” (Psalm 44 [45]:10).

Most important about what the Old Testament teaches us is that it was the mother of the king, not the wife, who was the queen. In the First Book of Kings, chapter 3, Asa takes over as king of Judah when his father Abijam had died. Asa removed Abijam’s mother from her position as queen mother. In the thirteenth chapter of Jeremiah are these words: “Say to the king and to the queen mother, ‘Humble yourselves, sit down.’” Also, “We are going down to visit the princes and the family of the queen mother” (2 Kings 10:13). One more, “This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother…” (Jeremiah 29:2). There are other examples in the Old Testament which delineate that the mother of the king was the queen.

Perhaps the most important verses in the “symbolism” of the Old Testament and the Davidic kingdom, may “actually” reveal something about the relationship between the King of kings and the Queen Mother in the heavenly Kingdom. These verses are found in the First Book of Kings (cf. 2:12-20). Solomon is the king, and Adonijah asks Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, to intercede for him. Adonijah needs a favor from the king and he asks Bathsheba to approach the king because as Adonijah explains: “he cannot deny you anything.” When Bathsheba approaches Solomon, the Scriptures tell us that “the king arose to meet her and bowed to her.” Next, the king “sat down upon his throne, and a throne was set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right hand.” The conversation went like this as Bathsheba spoke: “I desire one small petition of you, do not refuse me.” Then the king said: “Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you.” God made Mary irresistible; He cannot refuse her.

In the Litany of Loreto, our Blessed Mother is invoked as “Queen” thirteen times:

Regina Angelorum – Queen of Angels
Regina Patriacharum – Queen of Patriarchs
Regina Prophetarum – Queen of Prophets
Regina Apostolorum – Queen of Apostles
Regina Martyrum – Queen of Martyrs
Regina Confessorum – Queen of Confessors
Regina Virginum – Queen of Virgins
Regina Sanctorum omnium – Queen of all Saints
Regina sine labe originali concepta – Queen conceived without original sin
Regina in cælum assumpta – Queen assumed into heaven
Regina Sanctissimi Rosarii – Queen of the Most Holy Rosary
Regina familiæ – Queen of the family
Regina Pacis – Queen of Peace

Ora pro nobis – Pray for us!