The Mother of the Savior
Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O. P.
  Nihil Obstat and Imprimi Potest 1941 and 1948


The Queenship of Mary: Part 1

Mary's Universal Queenship Part 1

In the language of the Church, both in the Liturgy and in her universal preaching, Mary is not only Mother and Mediatrix but Queen of all men and even of the angels and the whole universe. In what sense is she a queen? In a true or in a merely metaphorical sense?

It should be recalled first that God alone has universal kingship over all things through His Essence: He governs all things and leads them to their end. Jesus and Mary share in this Divine Kingship. Even as man, Jesus shares in it for three reasons: because of His Divine Personality, [1] because of His fulness of grace which overflows on men and Angels, and because of His victory over sin, Satan and death. [2] He is King of all men and of all creatures including the Angels, who are, His Angels'. Thus He says (Mk. xiii, 26): ' And then they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory. And then shall He send his Angels. . . ' For Jesus is Son of God by nature, whereas the Angels are but God's servants and adopted sons. Jesus has said too of Himself: ' All power is given to me in Heaven and on earth' (Mt. xxviii, 18), and we read in the Apocalypse that He is 'King of Kings and Lord of Lords' (Apoc. xix, 16).

Article I

Can it be said of Mary, since her Assumption especially, and her crowning in heaven, that she shares in God's universal Kingship in the sense that she is Queen of all creatures in subordination to Christ? [3]

She could certainly be called a queen in the wide sense of the term by reason of her spiritual qualities and her fulness of grace, of glory and of charity which raise her above all other creatures. It is quite customary to use the words king and queen to designate persons of such eminence. Her motherhood of Christ the King would also entitle her to be called a queen ---- still in a wide sense of the term at least.

But would it not appear that she is a queen in the literal sense of the term by the fact of having received royal authority and power? Has she not, in dependence on Jesus and through Him, not only a primacy of honor in regard to the Angels and Saints, but a real power to command both Angels and men? This is, in fact, what emerges from an examination of Tradition as expressed in the preaching of the universal Church, the Fathers, the statements of different Popes, the Liturgy. There are theological arguments besides in favor of the affirmative answer.

The Fathers of both East and West referred frequently to Mary under such titles as Domina, Regina, Regina nostrae salutis. It is sufficient to mention a few among many: in the East SS. Ephrem, Germanus of Constantinople, Andrew of Crete, John Damascene; in the West St. Peter Crysologus, the Venerable Bede, St. Anselm, St. Peter Damien, St. Bernard. The same titles occur also in the works of the theologians: in St. Albert the Great, [4] St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas, [5] Gerson, St. Bernadine of Siena, Denis the Carthusian, St. Peter Canisius, Suarez, St. Grignon de Montfort, St. Alphonsus. Different Sovereign Pontiffs have often used the same expressions. [6]

The Roman and Oriental liturgies proclaim Mary Queen of the heavens, Queen of Angels, Queen of the world, Queen of all the Saints. Among the mysteries of the Rosary commonly recited in the Church since the 13th century the last of all is that of the crowning of Our Lady in Heaven ---- a scene represented in one of Fra Angelico's most beautiful frescoes.

The arguments adduced by theologians to prove that Mary has universal Queenship in the proper, non-metaphorical sense of the term, are conclusive. They may all be reduced to the following three.
Jesus Christ is King of the universe, even as man, in virtue of His Divine Personality. But Mary as Mother of God made man belongs to the hypostatic order and shares in the dignity of her Son, for His Person is the term of her Divine motherhood. Hence she shares connaturally, as Mother of God, in His universal Kingship. [7] Our Blessed Lord owes it to Himself to recognize His Mother's title in gratitude.

A second argument is that Jesus is King of the universe by His fulness of grace and by the victory which He won over Satan and sin by His humility and His obedience unto death, 'For which cause God hath exalted Him . . . ' But Mary was associated with His victory over Satan, sin, and death by her union with Him in His humiliations and sufferings. She is therefore really associated with Him in His Kingship.

The same conclusion may be arrived at by considering the close relationship in which Mary stands to God the Father, of Whom she is the first adoptive daughter and the highest in grace, and God the Holy Ghost through Whose operation the Word took flesh in her womb.

It has been objected that the mother of a king, the queen-mother, is not by that simple fact queen in the strict sense of the term: she has nothing of royal power. Neither then has Mary. We have answered this objection already. There is no parity between the two cases. A queen-mother is simply the mother of a child who later became king. But Mary is the mother of Him Who from the instant of His conception is King of the universe by His hypostatic union and His fulness of grace. Besides, Mary was associated closely with the victory by which He obtained universal kingship as a right of conquest, even though He possessed it already as Son of God. Mary is therefore associated with His Kingship in a true, even if in a subordinate, manner.

Many consequences follow from this truth. As universal King, Jesus has power to establish and promulgate the New Law, to propose revealed doctrine, to judge the living and the dead, to give souls sanctifying grace and all the virtues. [8] Mary shares in this universal kingship especially by dispensing in an interior and hidden manner the graces which she merited in dependence on Jesus. She participates in it exteriorly also by the fact that she gave on earth the example of all the virtues, that she helped to enlighten the Apostles, and that she continues to enlighten us when, for example, she manifests herself exteriorly in sanctuaries such as those of Lourdes, La Salette, and Fatima. Theologians note that she does not seem to share in any special way in the royal judicial power of inflicting punishment for sin, for Tradition calls her not the Mother of justice but the Mother of mercy, a title which is hers in virtue of her mediation of all graces. [9] Jesus seems to have kept to Himself the reign of justice [10] as is becoming Him Who is the Judge of the living and the dead.' [11]

Mary has a radical right to universal queenship by the fact of her Divine motherhood, but the Divine plan was that she should merit it also by her union with her suffering Son, and that she should not exercise it fully before being crowned queen of all creation in Heaven. Her royalty is spiritual and supernatural rather than temporal and natural, though it extends in a secondary way to temporal affairs considered in their relation to salvation and sanctification.

We have seen how Mary exercises her queenship on earth. She exercises it in Heaven also. The essential glory of the blessed depends on Jesus' merits and hers. She contributes to their accidental glory ---- as well as to that of the Angels ---- by the light she communicates to them, and by the joy they have in her presence and in the realization of what she does for souls. To both the Angels and the Saints she manifests Christ's plan for the extension of His Kingdom.

Mary's queenship extends to Purgatory, for she prompts the faithful on earth to pray for the souls detained there and to have Masses offered for them. She herself offers their prayers to God, thereby increasing their value. She applies the fruits of the merits of Jesus and of herself to the Holy Souls in Jesus' name.

Her queenship extends to the demons too who are obliged to recognize her power, for she can make their temptation cease, can save souls from their snares, and can repulse their attacks. 'The demons suffer more', says St. Grignon de Montfort, 'from being conquered by the humility of Mary than by the Omnipotence of God.' Her reign of mercy extends to Hell itself, as we have seen, in the sense that the lost souls are punished less than they deserve, [12] and that on certain days ---- including possibly the Assumption ---- their sufferings become less fearful.

Thus Mary's queenship is truly universal. There is no region to which it does not extend in some way.

I. Cf. Pius XI, encyc. Quas primas, Dec. 11th, 1925 (Denz. 2194): 'E ius principatus ilIa nititur unione admirabili, quam hypostaticam appellant. Unde consequitur, non modo ut Christus ab angelis et hominibus Deus sit adorandus, sed etiam ut e ius imperio Hominis angeli et homines pareant et subjecti sint: nempe ut vel solo hypostaticae unionis nomine Christus potestem in universas creaturas obtineat.' Because ofits personal union with the Word the Humanity of Christ is entitled to adoration and participation in God's universal kingship over all creatures. Christ as Man has been predestined to be Son of God by nature, not by adoption, whereas Angels and men are only adoptive sons.
2. Since He accepted the humiliations of His Passion in love 'God also hath exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth' (Phil. ii, 9-10).
3. Cf. De Gruyter, De B. Maria Regina, Buscoduci, 1934: Garenaux, La Royaute' de Marie, Paris, 1935; M. J. Nicholas, La Vierge Reine, in the Revue Thomiste, 1939; Merkelbach, Mariologia, 1939, p. 382.
4. Mariale, q. 43, 2: 'Virgo assumpta est in salutis auxilium et regni consortium . . . habet coronam regni triumphantis et militantis Ecclesiae, unde ...est regina et domina angelorum ...imperatrix totius mundi . . . ; in ipsa est plenitudo potestatis coelestis perpetuo ex auctoritate ordinaria . . . ; legitima dominandi potestas ad ligandum et solvendum per imperium; totam habet B. Virgo potestatem in coelo, in purgatorio et in inferno. . . B. Virgo vere et jure et proprie est domina omnium quae sunt in misericordia Dei, ergo proprie est regina misericordiae . . . ipsa enim ejusdem regni regina est cujus ipse est rex.' Cf. Ibid. qq. 158, 162, 165.
5. In expos. Salut. Angelicae.
6. In his letter to St. Germanus of Constantinople read at the 2nd Council of Nicaea (787), Pope Gregory II terms Mary Domina Omnium, and the council itself approves of statues erected in Mary's honor. Leo XIII frequently spoke of Mary as Regina and Domina universorum in his encyclicals. Similarly Pius X in the encyclical Ad diem ilIum: 'Maria adstat regina a dextris ej us.'
7. Cf. Merkelbach, of. cit., p. 385.
8. Cf. Encyc. Quas prim as (Denz. 2194) and Ia IIae, q. 106, a.1. Jesus is all the more King of minds, hearts and wills, by the fact that the New Law is not primarily a written law, but one imprinted on the soul by grace.
9. Cf. Mariale, q. 43, 2.
10. John v, 22, 27: '. . . the Father . . . hath given all judgement to the Son.'
11. Acts x, 42; cf. IlIa, q. 59, a.1.
12. Ia, q. 21, a. 4, ad 1: 'In damnatione reproborum apparet misericordia non quidem totaliter relaxans, sed aliqualiter allevians, dum (Deus) punit citra condignum.' This intervention of Divine Mercy is not independent of the merits of Jesus and Mary.

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