Saint of the Day ~ August 22


Today, the universal Church honors Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Seven days ago, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, body and soul. Today is the culmination of this celebration by recognizing and acknowledging Mary’s Queenship. On this occasion, we contemplate the woman chosen by the Eternal Father to give flesh to His Divine Son, and whom we call the Mother of God, who is seated beside the King of ages, and who shines forth as Queen and intercedes for our needs as our Blessed Mother.

Venerable Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954 in his Encyclical “Ad Coeli Reginam” (“To the Queen of Heaven”), in which he writes that Mary deserves the title because she is the Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power before the Divine and Eternal Throne of God.

But Mary’s Queenship has roots in Sacred Scripture as well. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “…mother of my Lord…” (Luke 1:43). And we can also recall that, in the Old Testament, the mother of the king had great influence in court, and her role was established during the reign of King Solomon:

“Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon…and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right. She said, ‘There is one small favor I would ask of you. Do not refuse me.’ The king said to her, ‘Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you’” (1 Kings 2:19-20).

In the 4th century, Saint Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen”. Later, Church Fathers and Doctors continued to use these same titles. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as Queen: “Hail, Holy Queen” and “Hail, Queen of Heaven”. The Dominican Rosary and the Franciscan crown, as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany, celebrate her Queenship.

As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus; her Queenship is a share in her Son’s Kingship. For it was Pope Pius IX who, in the year 1854, wrote in his Bull, “Ineffabilis Deus” (“God Ineffable [Inexpressible]”)

“More than all the angels and all the saints has the Ineffable God freely endowed Mary with the fullness of the Heavenly gifts that abound in the Divine treasury; and she, preserving herself ever immaculately clean from the slightest taint of sin, attained a fullness of innocence and holiness so great as to be unthinkable apart from God Himself, a fullness that no one other than God will ever possess.”

Mary, as Queen of Heaven and Earth, bears the scepter of her crown with absolute humility and faithful obedience to all that is God’s will, and His will is that His Mother is to be our Mother, who intercedes for us constantly before the Throne of her Divine Son, as only a Mother’s love can.

We commemorate this special feastday of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 22.

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(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for the Queenship of Mary)

“Father, You have given us the Mother of Your Son to be our Queen and Mother. With the support of her prayers, may we come to share the glory of Your children in the Kingdom of Heaven.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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