May 2002 Issue
The Crowning Of Mary In Heaven
believe that Mary was taken up into heaven and solemnly crowned
by God with an everlasting crown of glory. Today we shall
see that Mary was crowned by God: with a crown of justice;
with a crown of glory; with a crown of power.
was crowned by God with a crown of justice. Coronation, or
the bestowal of a crown, is primarily intended to be an exercise
of justice in recognition of merit. In this sense a student
is publicly honoured on the successful completion of his course
of studies. In this sense also a ruler honours a subject for
heroism or victory over his country's enemies, or for some
other great service to his country. And in this sense the
supreme Remunerator, who has promised to reward even a cup
of cold water given in His name, has crowned Mary in heaven.
Surely, Mary had merited great reward! Mary, in all truth,
could make her own the words of her divine Son: "I
do always the things that please Him" (John
8:29). Her whole life was a repetition, not in words
but in heart and act, of her submission made at the annunciation:
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me
according to thy word" (Luke 1: 38).
And with each humble, loving repetition of this act,
Mary advanced more and more in perfection and her merits increased
beyond all bounds.
greatest merit, however, and her strongest claim to recognition
before the Divine Justice, was the fact that she freely and
out of pure love conceived and brought forth the divine Redeemer,
thus giving Him to God and to the world for the salvation
of the human race. In view of all this, what should we expect
the Divine Justice to do for Mary in recognition of her merits?
Should we not expect the supreme Remunerator to place upon
Mary's head a crown in proportion to the greatness of her
merits - a crown that would adequately compensate her for
all her holy thoughts, her saintly desires, her beautiful
words, her heroic actions, her terrible sufferings?
a delightful scene! While David, her forefather, and Joseph,
her virgin spouse, look on with rapturous joy, and the angels,
the archangels, the virtues, the principalities, the powers,
the dominations, the cherubim, and seraphim sing their glorious
canticles, her divine Son, with the Father and the Holy Ghost,
amidst the applause of the whole court of heaven, places the
royal crown upon Mary's head.
sublime coronation is a solemn manifestation of God's justice
- a manifestation which should bring joy to the heart of every
child of God and lover of Mary. For the triumph of Mary, who
is not only the Mother of God but our Mother as well, teaches
us that we have in heaven a just God, who will remember each
one of us when the time comes to receive the reward that He
has in store for those who love Him and serve Him here on
earth. What does it matter, therefore, if difficulties and
sorrows plague this short life of ours? The time of which
the Apostle speaks will soon come for all of us: "There
is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just
Judge will render to me in that day" (2
Tim. 4: 8).
foolish, then, are those who run after the things of this
life! The world promises them riches, honours, pleasures,
and they grovel, and labour, and sweat to attain them. Yet,
they can never be sure of succeeding in their quest. The very
moment that the world's promises seem nearest of attainment
is the moment in which they are most elusive. And even did
they succeed in attaining all the world's promises, what will
it avail them when they stand before the judgment seat of
God, if they have the misfortune to lose their souls? "For
what doth it profit a man," says Christ, "if
he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?
Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?" (Matt.
us, for our part, labour for God and in God, that we may one
day receive from Him a crown, which, like that of Mary, will
shine on our brow forever and ever. "When the prince
of pastors shall appear," says St. Peter, "you
shall receive a never fading crown of glory" (1
was crowned by God with a crown of glory. In crowning Mary
God presented her to the whole court of heaven, adorned with
all the gifts of nature and of grace, and invited all the
citizens of heaven to place themselves around her throne while
He proclaimed her the Queen of all the angels, patriarchs,
prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and of all
the saints. Mary is the Queen of angels because she was endowed
with such an abundance of grace as to surpass all of them,
so that she is the most perfect being under God. Mary is the
Queen of patriarchs because it was through her that they attained
the object of their desires. It was the fruit of her most
chaste womb that cured them of their maladies and freed them
from the dismal surroundings in which they were waiting for
the glory and happiness that the Redeemer was to bring to
mankind. Mary is the Queen of prophets because she herself
was a prophet in that she foreknew and foresaw future events,
and because she played such a large part in the fulfilment
of the prophecies of the others, especially by giving to the
world Him whom they had foretold so long in advance. Mary
is the Queen of apostles because it was chiefly through the
help of her prayers and example that they prepared to receive
the Holy Ghost, and through her counsel, guidance, and protection
they were helped immeasurably in their difficult task of propagating
the faith of Jesus Christ. Mary is the Queen of martyrs because
what her divine Son suffered in His body she suffered in her
heart and soul. Her sufferings were greater than those of
all the martyrs, and it was through her that they received
the grace and the strength to withstand the cruelty of their
executioners and to remain steadfast in the faith in the midst
of their torments. She is the Queen of confessors because
in the perfection of her life she was the model of all the
virtues which they professed and practised whether in the
solitude of the desert or amidst the hum and bustle of the
world. She is the Queen of virgins because she surpassed them
all in virginal purity, and from her they have all received
the grace and the incentive to live a holy life despite all
difficulties. Mary is Queen of all the saints, because her
powerful intercession made it possible for them to sanctify
and save their souls in the face of the temptations and dangers
of the world, and to merit the glory of heaven.
mind can conceive or tongue express the greatness of Mary's
glory. This glory reached its climax when she was crowned
by God and presented as the Queen of heaven and of earth,
of angels and of men. And what enhanced this glory more than
all things else was the fact that she was not only the Queen
of the universe but also the Mother of God. So great is this
glory that the seraphim contemplate it without being able
to comprehend it: when they gaze upon it they tremble, not
with fear, but with love and reverence.
the glory of Jesus Christ St. John says: "And we saw
His glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the
Father, full of grace and truth" (John
1: 14). Now, the glory of Mary borders on that of her
divine Son. To her may be applied the words of the Psalmist:
"Glorious things are said of thee, O city of God"
(Ps. 86: 3). Great things have been
said of her in the past and will be said until the end of
time, but enough can never be said of Mary. Heaven and earth
may exhaust themselves in singing her praises, but no one
can comprehend her except God who crowned her with glory.
was crowned by God with a crown of power. When Solomon wished
to honour his mother Bethsabee, he placed her on a throne
beside his own, and assured her that he would grant her any
request or favour that she might ask. This is precisely what
Christ did in regard to His blessed Mother, only in a more
perfect manner. It would be impossible to conceive much less
express the power with which He invested her on the occasion
of her coronation. The Holy Fathers of the Church teach that
she was invested with power that exceeds all bounds, and that
from that day she acquired such dominion that she approaches
the throne of God not as one who asks but as one who demands,
not as a handmaid but as a mistress.
power which Christ has by His nature, Mary has by grace. Like
Him she sits upon a throne, and as Queen she wields a sceptre,
and out of love every knee should bow before her, of those
that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (Phil.
2:10). The inhabitants of heaven honour Mary with a
special homage; they continually sing her praises with hymns
and canticles. After the service of God nothing gives them
greater joy than to serve Mary. The Archangel Gabriel, who
greeted her in God's name at Nazareth now remains before her
in heaven, regarding it as a privilege to receive her commands
and to put them into execution. The Archangel Michael, deputed
by God as the guardian of the Church, and the one whose office
it is to introduce the souls of the saved into heaven, even
he considers himself privileged to receive an expression of
Mary's wishes. Similarly, the Archangel Raphael and the seven
spirits that stand before the throne of God are always ready
to carry out her will in all things. All vie with one another
in honouring her and in finding new ways of rendering her
the homage of their service, their love, and their devotion.
the angels in heaven bow down in love before Mary, the demons
flee in terror and are made powerless at the sound of her
voice, at the mention of her name, at the least sign from
her. In the beginning God said: "I will put enmities
between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she
shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel"
(Gen. 3:15). This enmity which God
placed between Mary and the serpent has not ceased now that
Mary is in heaven; it still remains and the conflict still
continues. The devil still wages implacable war against her
and, actuated by his intense hatred for her, he induces many
to offend her, to abuse her, even to blaspheme her. If Mary
tolerates these sins and the havoc which they work among the
souls of men, it is not because she has lost her power over
Satan, but because she enters into God's plan and follows
His example of patience and long-suffering. Did she only wish,
the whole host of demons would be forever confined to the
power which Mary has over the angels good and bad, extends
also to us here on earth. In Holy Writ we read: "By
me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things; by me princes
rule, and the mighty decree justice" (Prov.
8: 15,16). While these words were not spoken of Mary,
the Fathers and Holy Church in her liturgy do not hesitate
to place them on her lips. Hence we have reason to believe
that God wishes her to take part with Him in the exercise
of the power which He displays in all His divine dispositions.
Thus assisting and co-operating with God in the government
of the world, she is also the treasurer and dispenser of His
graces. God's riches are Mary's riches: they are her heritage
as Queen and Mother; they are her dowry as Spouse. She has
access to them whenever she wishes, and she can do with them
as she pleases. Therefore, St. Bernardine of Siena and St.
Bernard are but the spokesmen of the whole Christian tradition
when they say: "All that the heavenly Father, the
Father of mercies, the God of all consolation, the God of
love and goodness, resolves to give us, He gives us not otherwise
than through the hands of Mary."
then, is the crown which God has placed on the head of His
blessed Mother. This is the crown that now shines upon her
brow in heaven and will shine forever and ever. What a joy
and consolation it is for us to think that we have such a
powerful Queen in heaven, who has access to the treasury of
God's graces, and who is both able and willing to dispense
them to us according to our needs. For she is not only the
Mother of God but our Mother as well. Hence, let us go to
her with confidence, fully convinced that there is no favour
or grace that she will not grant us, if it is for the good
of our immortal souls. With all our heart, let us say to her
in the words of the Litany of Loreto: "Virgin Most
Powerful, pray for us."
Discourses on Our Lady, by Fr. O'Rafferty.
holy Queen, mother of mercy, hail, our life, our
sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we
Banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up
our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley
of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this
our exile, show unto us the blessed
fruit of thy womb, Jesus: O clement,
O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Regina, mater misericordiae,
vita dulcédo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamámus, éxsules filii
Hevae; ad te suspiramus, gementes
et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eria ergo, Advocata nostra, illos
tuos misericordes oculos ad nos convérte; et Jesum,
fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsílium osténde:
O clemens, O pia,
O dulcis Virgo Maria.
month of May is specially dedicated to Mary. It is the month
of flowers, and our Lady, like all beautiful ladies, loves
to be surrounded by flowers. We could please our Lady greatly
by bringing her roses, the beautiful spiritual roses gathered
in the rosary.
name "rosary" means a "rose garden."
Our prayer of the rosary should be as time spent walking
through a beautiful garden. This is the Queen's garden.
It is immaculately kept. And it should be our interest to
see and rejoice as each bud opens into a delicate Ave
Maria. We can help these roses to bloom by our words,
and give glory to our Queen by our loving hearts and minds.
Be faithful then to the prayer of the Rosary, and encourage
others to join in this Rosary Crusade.
to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,