SCRIPTURE READINGS: [  Isaiah 9:1-6; Luke 1:26-38]

Following the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption in 1950, the feast of the Queenship of Mary was instituted in 1955 by Pope Pius XII and was then celebrated on 31st May.  The reformed liturgy has transferred the celebration of this feast to a week after the feast of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. This means that the Church intends us to link the Assumption with the Queenship of Mary to her glorification. In Lumen Gentium 59, the Constitution says, “The Immaculate Virgin … was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of Lords (cf. Rev 19:16) and conqueror of sin and death.”

Hence, it is clear that the feast of the Queenship of Mary is the corollary to the Assumption. This explains why it is celebrated as the Octave to the Assumption.  The Assumption of Mary speaks of Mary’s entire being being taken up into heaven, but it is the feast of the Queenship of Mary that elaborates what this truly means.  The glorification of Mary is not just the glorification of the body and soul of Mary but it entails her participation in the life of Christ. In the light of the revelation, the Church came to realize that it would be only appropriate that Mary be proclaimed as having been assumed into heaven and given the queenship, since the whole life of Mary has been nothing short of a total participation of the saving work of Christ from the incarnation to the resurrection.

What kind of life would that be?  To answer this question, we must return to the Feast of Easter and Ascension.  At the Resurrection, Jesus was given new life when He was raised from the dead.  The Resurrection was the glorification of the body of Jesus.  Needless to say, the Resurrection was followed by the Ascension.  What is the distinction between the Resurrection and the Ascension, since both are actually a twofold event of glorification?  In the Ascension, Christ was established Lord and King of the Universe.  In this way, His mission is complete because He is made Lord and King.

So if we were to understand the significance of the Queenship of Mary, then we must correlate it with the feast of the Ascension.  In truth, except for the word “being taken up”, the Assumption of Mary is more akin to the Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus than Ascension.  This is because the outcome of the Assumption is Mary’s sharing in the reign of Christ’s kingship over sin and death.

That this is the intention is brought out in today’s scripture readings. Both scripture readings underscore that Christ would be the future messianic King of David.  Indeed, the whole mission of Jesus was to restore the reign of God that was destroyed by sin.  The proclamation of Jesus was basically that of the Kingdom of God.  In fact, Jesus is the embodiment of the kingdom.

How did Jesus proclaim the KingdomFirstly, Jesus showed His kingship by giving Himself freely for the service of the Kingdom.  He surrendered Himself entirely to the mission even until death. Before Pilate, He showed Himself to be one who determined His life and would not easily succumb to political or religious pressures.  To be free for the service of the Kingdom implies that Jesus must be king, since He was in charge of Himself.

Secondly, Jesus proclaimed the reign of God by demonstrating in Himself the presence of God in Him. Through His works of compassion and through His authoritative teaching, Jesus manifested Himself to be the Word and Compassion of the Father.

Thirdly, the kingship of Jesus is vindicated by His resurrection, since with the Resurrection sin and death are defeated.

If we find the Queenship of Mary sounding archaic, then we must understand Mary’s Queenship in today’s context and that of Christ’s Kingship of which Mary shares. The Queenship of Mary is to be understood in terms of grace, discipleship and apostleship.  If Mary is queen, it is because she allowed the grace of God to reign in her life.  She was able to resist temptation and sin.  For this reason, she is called full of grace. Secondly, she was a perfect disciple of the Lord and of the kingdom, always doing the will of the Lord as the gospel tells us.  To do the will of God is true freedom, since freedom is the power to do good and to determine one’s life.  She was truly free.  In her life of compassion and love, she showed herself to be truly a disciple of the kingdom.  Thirdly, if Mary is queen it is because she shared in the salvific work of Christ.  She cooperated fully with the Lord in the salvation of humankind, from the incarnation to the passion and resurrection.  She was truly an apostle of the Kingdom.  Finally, Mary is queen because she now lives on to intercede for us.  She is with us in our pilgrimage.

We who share in the kingship of Christ, like Mary, are called to be kings and queens so that we can bring about the realization of the Kingdom.  We are empowered to restore the temporal order to the dignity of the plan of God.  This is clearly our calling today, especially when there is a crisis in morality in the world.  As a result of secularization and relativism, there is a desensitization to sin.  Only when the world lives according to the gospel values of the Kingdom, can we claim that Christ’s kingship is established on earth as in heaven.

But if we are to help others to exercise their kingship and queenship, then we must first exercise dominion over ourselves.  We must show ourselves to be people who can exercise self-control and self-discipline in our lifestyle and have the power to overcome sin and temptations in life.  If we have no control over ourselves, how can we control others?  If we cannot manage our own life, how can we manage the lives of people under our care?  Hence, it is important today that we pray to Mary and imitate her in her Queenship by being more open to the grace of God at work in us, cooperating with His grace to do His will and to live the life of the Kingdom by a life of good works, charity, honesty and integrity.  Like Mary who was without sin through the grace of God, we who have received our sonship through baptism must also cooperate with the grace of God in our lives so that by preserving ourselves from sin, we too can share in her triumph over the Evil One.  With the help of Mary, we must try to overcome sin in our lives so that the reign of God may be manifested in us. In this way, we will one day share the Kingship of Christ and the Queenship of Mary.

Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
In this feast, particularly cherished by the Popes of modern times, we celebrate Mary as the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Pope Pius XII in the Papal Encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam proposed the traditional doctrine on the Queenship of Mary and established this feast for the Universal Church.

Pope Pius IX said of Mary’s queenship: “Turning her maternal Heart toward us and dealing with the affair of our salvation, she is concerned with the whole human race. Constituted by the Lord Queen of Heaven and earth, and exalted above all choirs of Angels and the ranks of Saints in Heaven, standing at the right hand of Her only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, she petitions most powerfully with Her maternal prayers, and she obtains what she seeks.”

And Pope Pius XII added the following: “We commend that on the festival there be renewed the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon this there is founded a great hope that there will rejoice in the triumph of religion and in Christian peace…

…Therefore, let all approach with greater confidence now than before, to the throne of mercy and grace of our Queen and Mother to beg help in difficultly, light in darkness and solace in trouble and sorrow…

. . Whoever, therefore, honors the lady ruler of the Angels and of men – and let no one think themselves exempt from the payment of that tribute of a grateful and loving soul – let them call upon her as most truly Queen and as the Queen who brings the blessings of peace, that She may show us all, after this exile, Jesus, who will be our enduring peace and joy.”