31 May 2018

The Feast of the Queenship of Mary

Today, in the Traditional Calendar is normally the Second Class Feast of the Queenship of Mary. However, this year it is replaced by the First Class Feast of Corpus Christi. In the Novus Ordo Calendar of Pope Paul VI, it has been moved to 22 August, the Octave Day of the Feast of the Assumption.  It was instituted by Venerable Pope Pius XII with the Encyclical, Ad Cæli Reginam, On Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, on 11 October 1954.

The Scriptural Readings at Matins are taken from Ecclesiasticus and Sirach, the same passages that are used in the Little Office of the BVM. The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Readings are From a Sermon of St Peter Canisius and an excerpt from Ad Cæli Reginam:

Reading 4
Sermon of St. Peter Canisius, Priest
On the Incomparable Virgin Mary, Mother of God
If we follow St. John Damascene, St. Athanasius and others, are we not forced to call Mary Queen, since her father David receiveth the highest praise in Scripture as a renowned king, and her son as King of kings and Lord of lords, reigning forever? She is Queen, moreover, when compared with the Saints who reign like kings in the heavenly kingdom, co-heirs with Christ, the great King, placed on the same throne with him, as the Scripture saith. And as Queen she is second to none of the elect, but in dignity is raised so high above both Angels and men that nothing can be higher or holier than she, who alone hath the same Son as God the Father, and who seeth above her only God and Christ, and below her creatures other than herself.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

Reading 5
The great Athanasius said clearly: Mary is not only the Mother of God, but also can be properly and truly called Queen and Lady, since in fact the Christ who was born of the Virgin Mother is God and Lord and also King. It is to this Queen, therefore, that the Psalmist's words are applied: The Queen taketh her place at thy right hand in garments of gold. Thus Mary is rightly called Queen, not only of heaven, but also of the heavens, as the Mother of the King of Angels, and as the Bride and beloved of the King of the heavens. O Mary, most august Queen and most faithful Mother, to whom no one prayeth in vain who prayeth devoutly, and to whom all mortal men are bound by the enduring memory of so many benefits, again and again reverently I beseech thee to accept and be pleased with every evidence of my devotion to thee, to value the poor gift I offer according to the zeal with which it is offered, and to recommend it to thine all-powerful Son.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

Reading 6
From the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XII
Ad cæli Reginam, diei 11 Octobris 1954
From the documents of ancient Christianity, from the prayers of the liturgy, from the innate religious sense of the Christian people, from works of art, from all sides we gather witnesses which assert that the Virgin Mother of God excelleth in queenly dignity. And we have set forth the reasons which sacred theology deduces from the treasury of divine faith to confirm the same truth. All these witnesses form a sort of chorus, proclaiming far and wide the supreme queenly honour granted to the Mother of God and man, who is above all created things and exalted over the choirs of Angels to reign in heaven. Thus it is that after mature and thoughtful consideration we have been persuaded that great benefits would flow to the Church if, like a light that illumines more brightly when placed in its stand, this solidly proved truth were to shine out more clearly to all, and so, by Our Apostolic Authority, we decree and institute the feast of Mary, Queen, which is to be celebrated every year on the thirty-first day of May throughout the world.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

The last three Readings are from a Sermon of St Bonaventure on the text From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 1:26-33
In that time: In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And so on

Homily of St. Bonaventure, Bishop
Sermon on the Royal Dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the great King by reason of a noble kind of conception, according to the message given her by the Angel. Behold, he said, thou shalt conceive and shalt bring forth a son; and again, the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall be king over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. This is as if to say in so many words, Thou wilt conceive and bear a son who is King, eternally reigning on the royal throne, and as Queen thou wilt be seated on the royal throne. For if it becometh a son to give honour to his mother, it is also fitting that he share his royal throne with her; and so the Virgin Mary, because she conceived him on whose thigh was written, King of kings and Lord of lords, was Queen not only of earth but also of heaven as soon as she conceived the Son of God. This is indicated in the Apocalypse where it saith: A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

Mary the Queen outshineth all others in glory, as the Prophet clearly showeth in the Psalm which particularly concerns Christ and the Virgin Mary. It first saith of Christ: Thy throne, O God, standeth forever and ever, and shortly thereafter of the Virgin: The Queen taketh her place at thy right hand, that is, in the position of highest blessedness, for it referreth to glory of soul. It continueth: In garments of gold, by which is meant the clothing of glorious immortality which was proper to the Virgin in her Assumption. For it could not be that the garment which clothed Christ, the garment completely sanctified on earth by the incarnate Word, should be the food of worms. As it was fitting for Christ to grant the fullness of grace to his Mother at her Conception, so was it fitting that he grant her the fullness of glory at her Assumption. And so we are to hold that the Virgin, glorious in soul and body, is enthroned next to her Son.

Mary the Queen is also the distributrix of grace. This is indicated in the book of Esther, where it is said: The little spring which grew into a river and was turned into a light and into the sun. The Virgin Mary, under the type of Esther, is compared to the outpouring of a spring and of light, because of the diffusion of grace for two uses, that is, for action and for contemplation. For the grace of God, which is a healing for the human race, descendeth to us through her as if through an aqueduct, since the dispensing of grace is attributed to the Virgin not as to its beginning, but because of her position through merit. By position the Virgin Mary is a most excellent Queen towards her people: she obtaineth forgiveness, overcometh strife, distributeth grace, and thereby she leadeth them to glory.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

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