“Christians live from feast to feast,” St. Athanasius said. The church’s feasts are linked to each other through the year, and all are linked to the great feast of the Resurrection of Jesus.
The feasts of Mary follow the pattern of the feasts of her Son, who associated her with his saving work. As we do with the feasts of Jesus Christ, we follow Mary’s feasts through the year. We learn the mysteries of God little by little, year by year.
She was blessed from her conception. ( Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8). We celebrate her birth 9 month later. (The Nativity of Mary, September 7). Her death and assumption into heaven are celebrated Augustus 15th. The Feast of the Queenship of Mary, August 22, is part of the mystery of her assumption into heaven. Introduced into the liturgy of the Roman Catholic church in 1955, the feast celebrates the privileged place of Mary in heaven. She “was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things.” (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium 59)
Royal titles were commonly given to God and those anointed by God in the Old Testament; Christianity continued the pratice, giving royal titles to Jesus and Mary. She is called queen in traditional Christian prayers like the Hail Holy Queen (Salve regina) and Queen of Heaven (Regina Coeli):
“Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in the valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show to us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Mary is a queen, but also a mother. She is the Mother of God, Mother of Jesus Christ, Mother of us all, the New Eve, given to us by her Son from the Cross through his disciple John.
Mary knows her greatness is from her Lord, as she acknowledges in her Magnificat:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. He who is mighty has done great things to me; holy is his name.” ( Luke 1:46-55)
Fra Angelico captures Mary’s humility in his portrayal of her (above), bowing before her Son, her hands closed in prayer. The saints below her know that honors given to her are a reflection of the graces promised to humanity.
“Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”