The Queenship of Mary

The following is the homily delivered by Fr. Victor Incardona, MIC, on the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated Aug. 22, at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.:

It was just a week ago today that we began the eight-day celebration of the Feast of the Assumption. All of you gave so much of your time to be here, to express your great love and devotion at this Shrine dedicated to The Divine Mercy, to honor our Queen Mother.

This afternoon, we will go the extra spiritual mile and acknowledge her Queenship of both heaven and earth.

Father Stanislaus Papczynski, the founder of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, said that "giving honor to Mary in speech is not enough." So we are giving her more than that today. In honor of her Queenship, we will adorn her image with a golden crown, a crown of ophir.

What are the qualities of a true queen? There doesn't seem to be much disagreement on this point, either from a biblical or secular point of view. The king comes from royal lineage and chooses his queen. She must be faithful and obedient. And she must be queen not just to her spouse, but to her inherited children as well. All of these qualities are fulfilled in Mary.

Her spouse is the Holy Spirit, by whose power she conceived and gave birth to Jesus. God the Father chose Mary through the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel. Mary was faithful and obedient to her King, even witnessing His crucifixion.

Father Papczynski once wrote how "Mary shared suffering with Christ, her very presence at the agony and death of her Son, is the last act in the work of salvation ..."

And finally, she was not only favored by God the Father to be Jesus' Mother, but she also became our spiritual Mother, by her Son's departing words: "Behold your Mother" (Jn 19:26-27).

Mary, the humble maiden, our Queen Mother, is a sign of contradiction in Christianity, as Pope Pius XII stated when instituting the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. In time, however, this woman "clothed with the sun," will become a sign of unity, which will allow the truth of the Gospel to prevail in our secularized and divided world - a world of so many contradictions to God's plans.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture of spiritual erosion, and sin grows stronger in this world of amazingly advanced technology in which we are a part. The enmity between Mary and the serpent, who is the father of lies, will continue. But ultimately, Mary, united with her seed, the Christ, will crush the serpent so that truth will once again reign on earth. Then, all will be restored.

Perhaps one day all Christians and those who seek the truth will be able to lift their voices with the Psalmist:

"O lord, I am Your servant, the son of your handmaid ... " (Ps 116:16)

Indeed, proclaim her as Queen of Heaven, Queen of Truth, and Queen of our hearts!

The Feast of the Queenship of Mary was established in 1954 by Pope Pius XII. I remember that day vividly. I was only 10 years old. The original day for this feast was chosen as May 31, it was later moved to the octave day of the Feast of the Assumption, Aug. 22. A fitting octave to the Feast of the Assumption.

This great memorial feast we celebrate today here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy - Mary's Queenship - is highlighted by the fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. Throughout the New Testament, Mary's role in heaven is mentioned. Mary is alluded to as "Queen" in the book of Revelations and throughout the Bible. It is because of Jesus' close relationship with His mother that she shares in His kingship.

The Church and the people of God have also referred to Mary as Queen since the fourth century. Various songs, litanies and prayers refer to Mary as Queen. The Church has affirmed the title of Mary in modern times through documents, including Lumen Gentium:

exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son" (59)

This title "Queen of Heaven" is used to indicate the final state of the Virgin Mary, crowned by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as Mother of The Divine Mercy.

Ave Regina Caelorum enthroned!
Hail, by angels mistress owned!
Root of Jesse! Gate of Morn,
Whence the world's true Light was born:
Glorious Virgin, joy to thee,
Beautiful surpassingly!
Fairest thou where all are fair!
Ave Regina Caelorum enthroned!

Father Victor Incardona, MIC, serves as assistant pilgrimage coordinator at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.

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