On this, the octave day of the Assumption of Mary, we celebrate another great Marian feast, that of the Queenship of Mary. Today we celebrate the fifth glorious mystery of the rosary: Mary is crowned Queen of heaven and earth. The Queenship of Mary has been celebrated ever since Pope Pius XII instituted this celebration in 1954. But the feast itself is rooted in Sacred Scripture. In the Old Testament, the mothers of the king had great influence in court. Certainly this would be the case between Mary and Jesus; we know that Mary’s intercession is a powerful force for our good. The Queenship of Mary, though, is most properly understood as a sharing in the Kingship of Christ the King. St. Paul speaks of the crown that awaited him after a long life, filled with fighting the good fight. And we know that that same crown – the crown that comes from Christ himself – awaits all who believe in Jesus and live lives of faith.
The origin of Mary’s crown, I think, can be seen at the very end of today’s Gospel reading. Having heard the overwhelming news from the angel Gabriel, Mary responds in faith: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Her faith, a faith that responded to the Lord’s call even though the details were not clear, is the kind of faith we’re all called to model. This kind of faith responds to God’s movement with absolute trust in his providence. Mary models that kind of response for us, and perhaps her reward, too, is a model of what we can hope to receive. Just as she responded in faith and was rewarded with a crown of glory, so we too can hope to have the same crown if we live the kind of faith she did.
And that’s the goal of our spiritual lives, brothers and sisters. We are to discern God’s call and respond with faith that leaves the details to God alone. Mary is always the model for us. She paves the way to living the Gospel as we are all called to do. But Mary is also the intercessor for us. She knew the difficulties and the sorrows that taking up the cross of the Gospel means for us, so we can depend on her intercession to help us through it. So on this feast day of her crowning, may we all look at our own calls in this life, and respond with her fiat: “Let it be done for me according to your word.”