Photo: Felix Carroll
Father Anthony Gramlich, MIC, right, rector of The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, leads the Rosary procession on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, 2007.
By Kevin Perrotta
Jesus' Ascension marked His entry into the glory of God. The Assumption of Mary is likewise an entry into God's glory. Her mysterious entrance into the presence of God is expressed by the final mystery of the Rosary — her crowning as queen of heaven, or her Coronation.
We celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of Mary on Friday, Aug. 22. Enfolded in the light of God, Mary remains one with us. Her Coronation in heaven does not set her off at a distance from us on earth. Crowned as queen, Mary remains a member of the Church. Mary remains united with us because she is united with her Son. Indeed, as she has entered now into the fulfillment of union with her Son, she is now even more present with Him to all the members of His Church.
In her earthly life, she shared intimately in her Son's saving mission. In heaven, she shares in His merciful and life-giving rule. The celebration of Mary's coronation focuses our attention on her beauty, on the radiance of her person. Raised up into the unending life of God, the beauty of God's love in her now shines forth.
Focusing on Mary's Beauty
The beauty of Mary is that of a life given over fully to God's will, now manifesting God's glory without any shadow or distortion.
Pope John Paul II said of Mary that "she who belongs to the 'weak and poor of the Lord' bears in herself, like no other member of the human race, that 'glory of grace' which the Father 'has bestowed on us in His beloved Son,' and this grace determines the extraordinary greatness and beauty of her whole being."
Uniting with Jesus in Mary
United with her Son who remains present with His Church to the end of the ages (Mt 28:20), Mary is present as intercessor and protector to His followers everywhere.
Her presence has been experienced in particular ways at particular times. After surveying the religious communities and places dedicated to Mary throughout the world, Pope John Paul II remarked that "one could perhaps speak of a specific 'geography' of ... Marian devotion, which includes all these special places of pilgrimage where the People of God seek to meet the Mother of God in order to find within the radius of the maternal presence of her 'who believed' a strengthening of their own faith."
Mary, crowned as queen of heaven, points us toward the future that God has in store for us. She shares already the life of the new creation that God invites al1 of us to enter at the final coming of His Son.
Having been united to Jesus in His first coming into the world, Mary is now united with Him, and with us, in the expectation of His second coming.
When Christ returns, He will overturn all sin and evil, even death itself. He will raise up into eternal life all those who belong to Him. Mary, our queen, looks forward to that day, and urges us to look forward to it also, and to arrange our lives in light of that hope.
A Sign of Victory
The Coronation of Mary is a sign of victory for us. At the cross, she shared in Jesus' suffering and dying, as the powers of darkness seemed victorious. But now in heaven, she shares fully, body and soul, in her Son's triumph over evil and death.
Thus Mary our queen is an inspiration for us when we meet the difficulties and sorrows of this life.
"Amid trials and tribulations," Pope John Paul II wrote, "the Church never stops repeating with Mary the words of her Magnificat, for the Magnificat celebrates the uprooting of sin and evil that her Son will finally complete on the earth. The Church is sustained by the prayer of its queen, who rejoiced in the saving love of the King of all."
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked with favor on the lowliness of His servant.
"Surely, from now on al1 generations will call me blessed. ... His mercy is for those who fear Him — from generation to generation. ... He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly" (Lk 1:46-48, 50, 52).
My Response in Prayer
Hail to you, Blessed Mother of the Lord! You truly are blessed and happy, for you share the Lord's glory and dwell in His presence forever. Stir my heart, Blessed Mother, to desire more than anything else to share that life with God that you now enjoy.
Kevin Perrotta lives in St. Paul, Minn. This article originally appeared in the Marians' 13th of the Month Club newsletter.