Reflection for Saturday, August 22, 2020: Queenship of the Virgin Mary.

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Gillick, Larry, S.J.
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|This feast is celebrated on the octave day following last Saturday's Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.  As Hopkins would write in another Mary-poem, (The May Magnificat), "Why fasten this upon her with a feasting in her honor?"  Very simply, Pope Pious XII in 1954 dedicated a liturgical day to Mary's being Queen of Heaven in recognition of her being Mother of Christ the King. We know from the Gospels that Mary was not much of a queen on earth.|She had given birth in a dumpy palace, had dirty, smelly shepherds as bewildered attendants to her throne of straw.   Mary also had to stand outside when later her Son announced that she could wait while He announced His "new family" of sisters and brothers. Mary stood at the foot of His Throne while he reigned in pain and shame. Her crown of thorns was a mother's trust while watching and listening to the disgraceful collapse of His kingdom.  So Queen of Heaven seems a more regal and glorious place to be, far from pandemics, wars and human resistance.  Not quite!|In our section of this world we do not "King and Queen" much except in playing chess. Mary, in the Theology of the Catholic Church, seems to be queenly busy.  She has many titles as Queen of these and those, heres and theres.   In the second chapter of John's Gospel, Mary tells the servants at the Wedding Feast, to do whatever He tells you. This is quite a dramatic scene; it is the only time in John's Gospel that we hear her saying anything.  It does give us an important glimpse of her place in the Theology of Grace within the Catholic Church.|So if you are kneeling, sit down.  This is difficult to let in, to rearrange Mary's place in our lives. Simply, yet again, dramatically, Mary, Assumed into Heaven, is believed to be the "Dispenser" of all graces! Mary then is the ever-living ever-giving of the lively activity of God's presence, also known as Grace, to her motherly-loved family.|So Heaven, of which Mary is Queen, has to be the fullest experience of Grace, or the Divine Presence. Mary mothers us with the birth and milk and comfort of that Grace which her Son freed for us by His obedient death.|That is quite heavy, I know, and we pray to Our Father and to His Son and for the Holy Spirit, but Mary is not the decider, but dispenser, the fountain of the eternal abiding Presence which we call Grace. Why, you ask?  For the answer, smile at your own why do you want to know! It might not be the way you would do it, but why not! Mary, who gave birth to the human race by giving flesh to the Infinite, now gives our human flesh the very participation in that same Infinite love. Her "yes" in today's Gospel is the very center of her queenship. As Jesus was the Infinite "Yes!" to Who He was on earth, so Mary's "yes" is who she is as Queen of Heaven. "I say that we are wound,|with mercy round and round|As if with air the same|Is Mary more by name.|She, wild web, wonderous robe,|Mantles the guilty globe,|Since God has let dispense|Her prayers His providence,|Nay more than almoner,|The sweet alms self is her,|And men are meant to share|Her life as life does air.|If I have understood,|She holds high motherhood|Towards all our ghostly good.|And plays in grace Her part|About man's beating heart….."  (Verses taken, from the poem, The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air We Breathe, by the Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins.)
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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