Saturday, August 22, 2020

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

What a strange, but beautiful feast: the Queenship of Mary celebrating her exalted place in heaven as she reigns with her Son. These images and this feast seems anachronistic, quite out of place in our times of governing by the people and for the people. We shun anything having to do with monarchies, given our break with England over the authority of the King. And yet we still love to hear about the goings on of the British monarchy, their marriages and scandals, wanting to know all the details of their lavish lifestyles. How sad.

In today’s beautiful feast we celebrate Mary’s humility, a seemingly lost virtue today, in which she surrendered to the plan of God, allowing herself to be united with the Spirit in a mystical manner that gave the world our Savior. And she raised her Son to follow his path and mission, leading to rejection, suffering, crucifixion and death. A horrendous death she witnessed, wrenching her heart in agony. In her humility, she surrendered to a higher purpose.

Mary instinctively knew there was more to the mission of her Son than the cross, as she stood beneath that cross weeping. Before dying, Jesus gave his mother to his beloved John to be his own mother, and he entrusted John to Mary to be her son. John is a symbol of the Church; Mary was to be it only his mother but ours. A magnificent exchange happened on the Cross, initiated by Christ as he was dying, creating a new relationship of Mary with his people. As she mothered him, so too, does she mother us.

She was with the apostles in the room, waiting for the Spirit to come and free them to go out to the ends of the world. Mary gathered them around in prayer as she witnessed the Pentecost event that gave birth to her Son’s Church. She lived the rest of her life in humble obscurity.

Our faith teaches us that of all human beings who lived or will live, the greatest is Mary precisely because she humbly accepted her place. She wants us for her Son and she always leads us to him. She is present, in the present moment, spiritually caring for us with a mother’s love. Even in her place in heaven, her exalted state is one of humility, for she eternally surrenders to her Son.

As she joyously prayed to Elizabeth at the Visitation: “God has mercy on those who fear him. He will scatter the proud in the conceit. He will cast down the mighty from their thrones. He will lift up the lowly and stand the rich away empty handed.” These are Mary’s words, hardly sentimental, very prophetic. She is helping her Son to give birth to a new world order rooted in justice. A spiritual revolution is slowly unfolding... being born. This is the heart of all mothers: to give birth.
Mary is still doing this, giving birth, in a most mystical way.... rooted in humility.

Fr. Frank