Filed under: Evangelium Vitae
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world’s desire.)
The Christ-child stood at Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.
Today, August 22 we celebrate the feast day of The Queenship of Mary. This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter Ad Caeli Reginam.
The following is a quote from this Encyclical Letter.
“As We have already mentioned, Venerable Brothers, according to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood.
In Holy Writ, concerning the Son whom Mary will conceive, We read this sentence: “He shall be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end,”[Luke 1:32,33] and in addition Mary is called “Mother of the Lord”;[Luke 1:43] from this it is easily concluded that she is a Queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of His conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man King and Lord of all things.
So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: “When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.” Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary’s royal office.”
Filed under: Mary
This is the 2nd of two reflections on the Assumption of Mary. (The first was entitled Revelation 11, the Assumption & Unborn Jesus.)
It has often been said that there is no biblical basis for belief in the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Not withstanding the Old Testament accounts of Enoch (Gen 5:24, Heb 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-12) being taken up into heaven, and the tradition of Moses also being assumed into heaven (Deut 34:5-6), there is Revelations 12 which is a stunning presentation of a fait accompli; Mary was assumed – and here she is! (Rev 12 has many parts to it: Mary is pregnant, she delivers, she flees into the wilderness and “was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent…”)
The Assumption of Mary into heaven is a living testament to the Resurrection of Jesus and our resurrections into heaven. Because Mary is the first Christian, God deigned to demonstrate her resurrection in a unique manner (by virtue of the death and resurrection of her only Son). Just as Christ came into the world – to His Mother – in a singular fashion, so God has deigned that Mary should go to heaven – to her Son – in a singular manner.
St. Peter says: “…we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…” (I Pet 1:3-4) Mary has embraced this glorious reality through her assumption into heaven. Who better to manifest this undefiled inheritance for all of us who journey forward, than Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ, and by extension in all truth, Mother of His (Mystical) Body (the Church) also.
The Christian life is a journey. A journey from this earth of trials to heaven and glory! Lest we get discouraged, God has given us many signs of hope for our journey. One of these hopeful signs is Mary our Mother following after her only Son, close to Him, just as she was on earth.
Vatican II spoke of Christ our Lord going before us: “He blazed a trail, and if we follow it, life and death are made holy and take on a new meaning.” (Gaudium et Spes, #22). Mary followed Christ’s trail, following His signs, and leaving some of her own as well – a Mother’s prerogative – an extra effort on her part to ensure that none of her Christian children get lost along the way. In heaven Christ is waiting, arms outstretched, and nearby His Mother waits too, pointing the way to the Savior of the World. “Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein!” (Rev 12:12)
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple…. Rev 11:19
Above is the last verse of Revelation chapter 11. The next verse, the first verse of chapter 12, begins to narrate the portent of the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child….”
But there is a continuity here from Rev 11:19 to Rev 12. Mary is the “new ark” of the New Covenant”. What made the old ark in the Old Testament especially valuable was its contents. So too with Mary who was with child; containing within her the Unborn Savior of the world.
Numerous biblical scholars, theologians and Bishops have found a remarkable parallel between Old Testament accounts of the ark of the covenant (Sam 6:1-13, and elsewhere) and the Incarnation /Visitation accounts in Luke. (See Unborn Jesus Our Hope, Chp. 2, footnote 13.) So, Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, carrying Unborn Jesus within her. She is also the Woman clothed with the sun.
There is within Christendom the ancient tradition that Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul, and in a prophetic sense, Revelations 12 confirms that tradition, bearing witness to the reality of it. Read Rev 11:19 again. Here is one possible interpretation of Rev 11:19: Then God’s temple in heaven was opened and Mary, the pregnant Mother of Jesus our Savior stood within the temple. Perhaps this is heaven’s version of a Nativity scene; a revelation of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ (within the new Ark). Note: Mary is Not Divine, she is Not worshiped, it is Not her temple! She is privileged however, as the faithful and ever-loving Mother of Jesus Christ, to be with Him always in a special manner; and in Rev 11:19 He is her unborn baby.
Humanity’s “solitary boast”, as William Wordsworth would say of her (‘The Virgin’, Ecclesiastical Sonnet XXV).