HOW THE APOSTLE MUST REGARD THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARYThe particular feature and the most suitable one for the publishing apostle when he reflects on Mary is undoubtedly that of "Queen of History" or, in other words, Mary who presided over creation in its cause, who is there present in its development and who will be there at its consummation.
Mary presided over creation in its cause
The Virgin Mary as Queen shares sovereignty of the world with Jesus Christ [the King] because with him she is the final cause and the exemplary cause of creation. The final cause because she was to be the Mother of Christ and
with him the cause of our redemption and of the whole order of grace. Although Mary is part of creation she nonetheless preceded it, not in her physical being, but in the mind of God, as final cause, since the order of nature (creation) was established by way of the order of grace.
God predestined Mary "ab æterno" to be, with Christ, the beginning of all his undertakings. When he created the heavens and the earth, the soul and the body of Jesus, his sights were on Mary. He did everything for her, Mother of his own Son. She is, in consequence, Queen of all creation.
This is why the Church, the Fathers and Doctors apply in equal measure to Jesus Christ and to the Virgin Mary the words of Holy Scripture: "The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago, I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth; before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when
he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was there beside him."1
The Virgin Mary is still, together with Jesus Christ, the formal, or perhaps better, the exemplary cause of creation; in other words, its idea and its model. In fact, the order of grace, in which Jesus and Mary hold first place, is the model on which God fashioned and arranged the order of nature.
The Word of God became incarnate in such a way that the human nature of Jesus belonged absolutely to the second person of the Blessed Trinity. On account of his human nature Jesus is true Man; as regards his person he is very "God with the Father and with the Holy Spirit", the one God, Creator of the universe, and of the Virgin Mary in his image and likeness. It is on this perfect model, Mary, present in his mind from all eternity, and in whom he places all his delight that Our Lord shapes the whole of creation - the spiritual world and the material world.
"Mary's grace", states Bishop De Ségur, "is the type, the image, the source, the channel of all graces distributed through creation, in angels and in humans and through them to others. Mary's soul, created by Jesus, God's Word, in the image of his adorable soul,
is the type and most perfect model of all the spirits, and particularly of our souls. Mary's holy body is the type of our bodies, as likewise of the whole material world."2
Thus Mary brings together in herself all the qualities of [God's] creation and other even more sublime ones. It was to her, chosen beforehand to be the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son, and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, that God communicated all that is communicable of his perfections.
Mary presides over the development of creation
In the implementation and development of God's plan of creation and redemption, Mary emerges indeed Queen, as God had predestined her - in the Old Testament in figure and prophecy; in the New, in reality. Through the mystery of the Incarnation which was to take place in her, she becomes the mid-point, that "medium terræ" of which the prophet Isaiah speaks. God foretells and depicts her in a thousand symbols, referring all things to her as, "to the work of all ages".
This is why the creation of the first human beings,
the earthly paradise, the ark of the flood, the rainbow of Noah, the three great Patriarchs, Moses, the column of cloud in the desert, the tabernacle and the ark of the Covenant, the golden vessel of the manna, Aaron's rod, the holy land, Jerusalem and the Temple, Elijah's cloud, Judith, Esther, the prophecies of Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, David, and many other prophetic figures speak to us, in the most varied - yet ever more detailed - ways of the virtues, the offices and the privileges of the Virgin Mary. In fact, we find the mystery of Mary, even if misrepresented, in the false religions of antiquity.
When the fullness of time at last arrives, [she] comes into the world as the dawn of the new Covenant and in the full splendor of her immaculate conception.
The Redeemer comes down from heaven and Mary welcomes him, provides for him, and helps him. With him she is the world's mid-point, history's mid-point: Jesus Christ is the King, Mary the Queen: "Adstitit Regina a dextris tuis."3
It is one wonderful mystery after another. In the Annunciation God sends an Angel to Mary to ask her consent for the Incarnation. With her "fiat" the Word of God becomes flesh and she, having offered him the tabernacle of her virginal womb, offers him now to the world (to
Joseph, to the shepherds, to the Magi, to the pagans in Egypt...) and to God in the Temple. She has charge over him for thirty years and at the beginning of his preaching she brings about his first miracle. Lastly, she offers him to the Father for humankind, a victim on Calvary.
She welcomes him and adores him as the Risen Lord; she returns him to the Father in the Ascension. She is always the Mother and Queen who assists and accompanies the King, who is her God and her Son.
After the Ascension, Mary works in unison with the Holy Spirit who was sent by the Son to effect and seal the work of the Redemption for the sanctification of all.
At Pentecost, in fact, we find Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of the Apostles; Mother, Queen and Teacher of all peoples in every age. Queen of heaven and of earth, dispenser of all graces.
The Church prays to her: "Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ"; "Ave, Regina cœlorum, ave, Domina angelorum"; "Regina cœli, lætare, alleluia!".
Mary will preside over the end of the created world
The Virgin Mary will still be Queen when God's work of creation ends.
Assumed body and soul into heaven, Mary was in fact crowned Queen,
exalted above the nine choirs of angels, endowed with new gifts, for God willed to enrich her with knowledge, virtue and grace so that creatures could render her the homage of their mind, their will and their heart.
Thus Mary reigns over our mind that she illumines with the light of God in the way that the moon illumines the earth via the light it receives from the sun. Mary reigns over our will endowing it with the strength she receives from God's omnipotence.
Mary reigns over our heart which she attracts, molds and enriches through the grace of the Holy Spirit: "Quod Deus imperio, tu prece, Virgo, potes."4
Following the universal judgment, Mary will be the first, after her Divine Son, to enter God's eternal kingdom. The only throne above hers will be the throne of God. Through her God will give to every faithful creature the vision, the joy and the complete happiness of heaven.
"And a great portent appeared in the sky", says the Apostle John in Revelation, "a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."5 The moon is a symbol of the whole of creation, while the [twelve] stars [which are] a figure of the Apostles, and the sun that clothes her [which is] a figure of the interior garment of grace, represent Mary's eternal Queenship.
A deep and complete study of the Virgin Mary,
Queen of history, as well as a more intrinsic study of Mary as the secondary and exemplary cause of our life and dispenser of all graces will instill in the apostle's soul filial devotion to this great Mother, Teacher and Queen of ours. Devotion which begins with allegiance. In other words, a total self-giving to her and, through her, to God. The apostle will thus entrust his mind to her with the deepest veneration, his will with absolute trust, his heart with the most filial love, and the whole of his being with the most perfect imitation possible of her virtues.
He will, in a word, become a child of Mary just as did the Divine Teacher and the Saints.6
1 Prov 8:22-30.
2 Mons. DE SÉGUR, La Ss. Vergine nei commenti dei Santi Padri.
3 Ps 44:10. * (Ps 45:9): "At your right hand [stands] the queen in gold of Ophir."
4 * "What God does by way of command, you O Virgin do through prayer."
5 Rev 12:1.
6 The doctors learnt from her (recall: Saint Anselm, Saint Thomas); the saints became such with her help (recall: Saint Francis de Sales, Saint Alphonsus); the writers dedicated their pens to her (recall: Saint John Damascene, Saint Bernard).