Friday, August 22, 2003

Feast of the Queenship of Mary

Back when I was in college, I got into an argument with a fundamentalist about Mary. Needless to say, he was against the whole business. He thought he had the clincher for his argument. He said "You Catholics say that Mary is the Queen of Heaven, right?"

"Right," I agreed.

"Well, is Jesus the Lord and King of Heaven?", he asked.

"Of course," I answered.

"Well, then," he said triumphantly, "you Catholics can't be right about Mary. If she was Queen and Jesus is King, then they'd be having an incestuous relationship!" The sad thing was that he really thought he "had" us.

I have to admit I was flummoxed for a moment. How do you respond to someone whose imagination is at one and the same time so pinched and yet so bizarre? But I explained that, even on earth, King and Queen are not always husband and wife.

I explained that Mary was the first disciple of Our Lord, and by her fiat, which was given not only once at the Incarnation but characterized her whole life, she is the exemplar of discipleship. Not only that, but by the privilege of her Immaculate Conception she enjoys a unique place among all created beings.

Mary's Queenship is not one of rulership: Rulership belongs to Christ alone. He is Lord and Master, by virtue of His Divinity and His sacrifice on the Cross and victory over sin and death. But in earthly courts the mother of the King is given honor and first place in dignity. She is honored with the title of "Queen Mother".

By celebrating Mary's Queenship, we are acknowledging the foremost place among the saints and angels of she who is "more honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim...".