22Aug 22 August. Thursday. The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

Is 9:1-6. Promise of joy for those who sat in darkness.

Lk 1:26-38. The Annunciation; the promise to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.”

First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-6

There will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel as sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

A Feast proclaimed by Pius XII

Eight days ago, we celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Today, we have another  Marian Feast,  the Queenship of Mary, proclaimed by Pope Pius XII in 1954 in his Encyclical  Ad Caeli Reginam. He made this proclamation in view of the fact that  throughout  history, both  in time of peace and of war, the Catholic faithful have made prayers of petition and  veneration to the Queen of Heaven. Following the tremendous destruction  during World War II and since the threat of a similar catastrophe filled the faithful with great anguish, the pope invited the faithful to turn to Mary as Heavenly Queen, praying for her protection.

Among the reasons given by Pope Pius XII for this feast are:

  • “From early times Christians have believed that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He ‘will reign in the house of Jacob forever,’ [Lk. 1:32] ‘the Prince of Peace,’ [Is. 9:6] the ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords.’ [Rev. 19:16] And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.” (Ad Caeli Reginam; 8)
  • “The early writers of the Church called Mary ‘the Mother of the King’ and ‘the Mother of the Lord,’ basing this on the words of the archangel Gabriel, who foretold that the Son of Mary would reign forever, [Lk. 1:32-3] and on the words of Elizabeth who greeted her with reverence and called her ‘the Mother of my Lord.’ [Lk. 1:43] Thereby they clearly signified that she derived a certain eminence and exalted station from the royal dignity of her Son.” (Ad Caeli Reginam; 9)
  • 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,’ [Lk. 1:32-3] and in addition Mary is called ‘Mother of the Lord’; [Lk. 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.’ [S. Ioannes Damascenus, De fide orthodoxa, 1. IV, c. 14; PL XCIV, 1158 s. B.] Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary’s royal office.” (Ad Caeli Reginam; 34)