The Octave Day of the Assumption
The meaning of the celebration
Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, she is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.
In the fourth century Saint Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.
The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption, and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection, and because of her intercessory power.
As Saint Paul suggests in Romans 8:28–30, God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son. All the more was Mary predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence on Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles to queenship derive from this eternal intention of God. As Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and his fellow human beings, so did Mary exercise her queenship. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth.
For prayer and reflection
“As Christ is our Lord and King by a special title because He redeemed us, so the Blessed Virgin (is our Lady and Queen) because of the unique way in which she has cooperated toward our redemption by giving of her own substance, by offering Him willingly for us, and by desiring, praying, and bringing about our salvation in a singular way.”—Pope Pius XII
On this day, we also remember Blessed María-de-la-Concepcíon Rodríguez Fernández. A Conceptionist nun, she was martyred on August 22, 1936, during the anti-clerical violence of the Spanish Civil War. She was beatified with other martyrs in 2019.
Benedictine Sisters of Queen of Heaven Monastery (Byzantine Rite, Warren, OH): http://shmlisle.org/byzantine.html
Benedictine Sisters of Queen of Angels Monastery (Mount Angel, OR): www.benedictine-srs.org
Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of Apostles (Gower, MO): http://benedictinesofmary.org/
Carmelite Nuns of the Carmel of the Queen of Heaven (Eldridge, IA): www.carmelitesofeldridge.org
Daughters of Our Mother of Peace, Queen of Heaven Solitude: www.marythefont.org
Pallotine Missionary Sisters (Queen of Apostles Province): http://pallotinesac.org
O God, who made the Mother of your Son
to be our Mother and our Queen,
graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession,
we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom
the glory promised to your children.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.