Homily August 22nd, 2023

Queenship of Mary

Today we celebrate the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast was instituted in 1954 by Pope Pius XII with the encyclical letter Ad Caeli Reginam, and falls on the octave of the Assumption. Summarizing centuries of tradition, Saint Alphonsus Ligouri explained why Mary is a Queen by saying simply, “because the Virgin Mary was raised to such a lofty dignity as to be the mother of the King of kings, it is deservedly and by every right that the Church has honored her with the title of ‘Queen.’”

            In Biblical times, the mother of the king enjoyed greater power and influence than any of the king’s wives, because while a king like Solomon had hundreds upon hundreds of wives, he had only one mother who was always with him. In fact, “there was a special word for the Queen Mother in Hebrew: she was called Gebirah, or ‘Great Lady,’” a position that Near Eastern kingdoms associated with being a friend of the poor and the intermediary between the people and the king.

Today’s feast, then, should remind us that we have a great intercessor in heaven. A week ago we commemorated when she was assumed, body and soul, into heaven, and now she sits, crowned as queen, at her Son’s right hand. It is there that the Great Lady continues to intercede for us. The story is told of Saint Gemma Galgani that one day, in ecstasy, she begged Jesus for the grace of conversion for a sinner, which He refused. She appealed to His sacrifice on Calvary, to His mercy, to His charity . . . nothing; finally, Gemma threatened, “Jesus, I’ll ask your Mom. Imagine saying no to your mom.” To that, Jesus replied, “If that’s the case, then I cannot refuse.”  Sure enough, the sinner arrived within the hour, and made his confession.

Let us pray, then, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, for the grace to grow in our devotion to our Lady, and to trust in her never-failing intercession.

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