Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Ecclesiasticus 24: 5, 7, 9-11, 30-31 / Luke 1:26-33

There seem to be two unrelated and contrasting ways to hold power and influence in a kingdom. On the one had, one might be related by blood to the king. For most monarchies, this blood relationship carries with it both rights and responsibilities, but it is undeniable that, apart from a grave act of treason against the sovereign, the mother, brothers, sisters, cousins, and the like all share in the royal dignity, and that to the degree that the tie of blood is stronger. On the other hand, some share in the king's power and influence by virtue of his appointment, being made a minister of his court simply by his decision and favor. So, while some people share in the glory of the king whether he wants them to or not, but to do because of the deep, personal bond that arises by blood relations, others share in that some glory by royal grace alone, by an act of choice and election.

So, then, why do we honor Mary as Queen of heaven? For many, the answer seems obvious, namely that she is the mother by blood of the king, of him who alone can say: I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the firstborn before all creatures; I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud. For one of such singular glory, how could his mother not be raised on high? Of course, while there is much truth to this sentiment, we can misunderstand it unless we remember that, unlike other sons, the Son of the Most High chose his mother, was before her, indeed before all ages. While other royal sons cannot help but have their relations share in their glory, the ties of blood being prior to and outside of one's choosing, the coming to be as man in the Virgin, and indeed any virtue or grace she had in her reception of the Word into her womb, was only and entirely a word of grace, the playing out of God's election and predestination, his plan for redemption from before the dawn of time. So, if she is Queen because she is Mother, more true is it that she is Mother because she is Elect, chosen by her Son from before creation, and made who she is by his grace and favor.

This is also why Mary's queenship is not simply a fact about her, in which we rejoice but in which we have no share. The absence on our part of any blood tie to the God Man does not even in the slightest make us distant from his glory and honor. Indeed, we are, each of us, by the new birth of baptism, made his brothers and sisters, sharing not merely a relation of earthly generation, but being made very members of his own body. His glory, then, comes to us immediately, since joined to him as our Head, we make up one Christ, one body. His glory is our glory, his victory over sin and death our victory, and his eternal reign from the right hand of the Father is ours by viceroyal right.

He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded: and they that work by me shall not sin; they that explain me shall have life everlasting.

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