“Mondays with Mary” – Prayer to Our Lady, Queen of the Angels

Since Friday was the Feast of the Archangels – Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, and today is the memorial of the Guardian Angels, I thought I would provide you with a prayer to Our Lady under her title, Queen of the Angels. However, before I do this, I want to provide you three quotes from the encyclical, Ineffabilis Deus, the document written by Pope Blessed Pius IX declaring the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception dogmatic. In the document, the Holy Father says the following in regards to Mary’s Queenship and relationship to the Angels –

“Far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.”

“It is the clear and unanimous opinion of the Fathers that the most glorious Virgin, for whom “he who is mighty has done great things,” was resplendent with such an abundance of heavenly gifts, with such a fullness of grace and with such innocence, that she is an unspeakable miracle of God — indeed, the crown of all miracles and truly the Mother of God; that she approaches as near to God himself as is possible for a created being; and that she is above all men and angels in glory.”

“Bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner.”

Since Mary is the Queen Mother to Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of the Davidic Kingdom (see 1 Kings 2), and since she is the Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mary, although still a human being, has dominion and reign over all the angels. They willingly and obediently serve Christ and Her. In union with Jesus Christ, and St. Michael, she crushes the head of Satan and the evil he and his fallen angels, the demons, who try to bring destruction to human souls. The prayer below states this perfectly –

August Queen of Heaven, 
sovereign queen of Angels,
you who at the beginning
received from God
the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan,
we beseech you humbly,
send your holy legions so that,
on your orders and by your power,
they will track down demons,
fight them everywhere,
curb their audacity and plunge them into the abyss.
Who can be compared to God?
Oh good and tender Mother,
you will always be our love and our hope.

Oh divine Mother,
send the Holy Angels and Archangels to defend me
and to keep the cruel enemy far from me.

Holy Angels and Archangels defend us,
protect us. Amen.

 Our Lady, Queen of the Angels…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady Queen of May

Since today is the 1st of May, I wanted to briefly explain to you why May is the month of Mary. During the month of May, we celebrate the Queen Jewel of all human creatures, the most beautiful and purest flower of all – the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On April 30, 1965, Blessed Paul VI promulgated a document titled, Menso Maio (the Month of May). The encyclical on the “Occasion of the First May” is written about the importance of the month of May and how Mary through her intercession and throne brings mercy to all of God’s people in a magnitude of great abundance (remember: the mercy comes from God as she intercedes for us). I would suggest reading 1 Kings 2:19-21 to see where the Tradition of Mary as Queen began. I have also written on this topic many times in the past. You can read those articles here.

As the Queen of May, Mary is also celebrated in her most magnificent role – Queen of the Universe. With Jesus, she rules from her Heavenly throne always seeking to bring all of humanity closer to her Son. Although many reject Christ, she still longs for them to be close to Him. As a good mother watches over her children, so too, does Mary as Our Queen Mother watch over us.

Queen of Heaven – Diego Velázquez

Even though Catholic devotion and admiration (not worship and adoration – that’s meant for God and God alone) is rooted in her love, mercy, and tenderness for us, it is truly Mary’s holiness and purity that unites us to her and assists us in having a deeper devotion to Jesus through Her. She seeks us the Immaculate Conception and the Perpetual Virgin to protect us from all sin and Satan, for she did not know either. She is the fairest of all of God’s creatures and seeks for us to know that sacrificial love that unfolds in her.

As we celebrate this month dedicated to her, let us appreciate the Immaculate Conception, who is our Mother. She who is “full of grace,” can intercede and aid us in our own impurities, which in turn will help us grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our Lady Queen of May…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary, The Queen of All Saints

Since yesterday was the Solemnity of All Saints, the great feast where we celebrate not only the canonized Saints of the Church, but also the unknown saints that have reached the Heavenly Kingdom, I found it fitting to discuss Mary and her role with the saints through the words of a Saint – Pope St. John Paul II.

As many of you know from your own knowledge of the great Polish Pope, John Paul II had a profound devotion and love for our Blessed Mother. It was a passion even evident on his Papal Shield. In nearly every document that he wrote, in the 26 years as Supreme Pontiff, as well as in many of his speeches/teachings, John Paul II mentioned Our Lady nearly each the time.

For us as Catholics, her role as the Queen Mother is fundamental since it finds its development in the Sacred Scriptures (1 Kings 2). Although she is more Mother than Queen as Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen states at the beginning of his book, The World’s First Love, it still does not take away from the fact that her Queenship assists us, because in this role she serves as our Advocate to her Son, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. If you are interested and/or have never read any of my posts on Mary as Queen Mother, I would suggest you read the following post – The Queenship of Mary: 6 Blog Posts on the Marian Feast.

Now here are five dynamic quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on Mary’s role as the Queen of All Saints –

“In order to live for Christ and no longer for ourselves, to collaborate in the ministry of reconciliation, to build the kingdom of God, we must bear the cross and follow Christ. Let us not be afraid to be signs of contradiction. Let us embrace the cross, confident that it is a “tree of eternal life,” trusting in the firm promise of resurrection. Together with the Virgin Mary and all the saints, let us build God’s kingdom here on earth, so as to able to live for ever with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” (Homily in New Guinea, 1994)

“Finally, I entrust you to the intercession of the holy martyrs of Nagasaki, and especially to the protection of Mary, Queen of Martyrs and Mother of the Church. She is indeed the Mother of All Christians, especially of those who lead the religious life, she who is so venerated in Japan as Edo no Santa Maria and as Our Lady of Otometoge.” (Address in Nagasaki, 1981)

Mary on the Throne - Giovanni Boccati

Mary on the Throne, Giovanni Boccati

“As we ourselves pursue every day the justice and holiness born of truth, let us look to Mary, Mother of Jesus, Queen of the Apostles, and cause of our joy. May St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and St. John Neumann pray for you, and for all the people who are called to serve in holiness and truth in the unity of Christ and his Church.” (Homily in Chicago, 1979)

“Our communion is a communion of prayer, in which we all draw strength from the whole praying Body of Christ. The activity of prayer is very much a part of the life of the Church, uniting us with the living and the dead in the communion of saints. The saints of God are our intercessors. In particular, the Mother of Jesus, who is the Mother of the whole Body, intercedes for all who have received life in her Son. Legions of Christians faithful fulfill an ecclesial role of inestimable value by praying for the Church and her mission. We count on all these prayers, and are especially grateful for the contribution of the sick and the suffering.” (Address in Rome, 1980)

“In of her apparitions to St. Catherine Laboure, our Lady said to the young sister – frightened by the greatness and the difficulty of the mission which had been entrusted to her – ‘It is here at the foot of the tabernacle that you must seek the strength and consolation!’ The heavenly Mother addresses the same words to each of you. With the Eucharist, near the tabernacle, may you be holy and fearless sisters, today and for the rest of your lives!” (Address in Milan, 1983)

Like so many of the Saints before him, Pope St. John Paul II desired to be a Saint. Let us through his intercessory prayer reach that same goal and become saints for Jesus Christ.

Mary, Queen of All Saints…Pray for Us. 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Marian Prayer of St. Anthony of Padua

Since this Saturday, June 13, was technically the feast of St. Anthony of Padua in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar (the Immaculate Heart of Mary fell on this Saturday as well), I found it quite fitting to share with you the Marian Prayer of St. Anthony of Padua. Often he is the saint that is associated with the intercessory prayer of “finding lost things”, however, St. Anthony of Padua is so much more. He is one of the greatest Franciscan minds, a Doctor of the Church, and a powerhouse evangelist, so much so that he is known as the Evangelical Doctor.

Like so many of the saints before and after him, St. Anthony of Padua had a great love, devotion, and prayer life that was associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. As you will see in the months ahead, and in previous posts on this blog already, many of the great saints had written their own prayers specifically directed towards the Blessed Mother. They knew how important her role was in Salvation History, which continues through the Catholic Church to this day.

Our Lady of Mercy

As I often do in many of my posts, I have given links to other blog posts that will lead you to understand theological ideas in this prayer by St. Anthony of Padua. It’s my hope that you will not only read this post, but also read the links as well in order to give yourself a better understanding of Marian theology as a whole.

The title of this prayer is – Mary, Our Queen:

Mary, our Queen, Holy Mother of God, we beg you to hear our prayer. Make our hearts overflow with divine grace and resplendent with heavenly wisdom. Render them strong with your might and rich in virtue. Pour down upon us the gift of mercy so that we may obtain the pardon of our sins. Help us to live in such a way as to merit the glory and bliss of heaven. May this be granted us by your Son Jesus who has exalted you above the angels, has crowned you as Queen, and has seated you with him forever on his refulgent throne. Amen.

As always, feel free to share with this blog with your family and friends in the hopes that they may come to have a more complete understanding of Our Lord Jesus Christ through His Virgin Mother, Our Queen of Mercy.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Queen of Mercy

With the memorial of the Queenship of Mary being celebrated by the Latin lung of the Catholic Church this Friday, I found it fitting to provide a blog post on Mary’s role as Queen Mother. Like the Assumption of Mary, Her role as Queen Mother, Advocate, and Mediatrix are themes I have written about before on this blog in the weekly series, “Mondays with Mary” over the past two and a half years.

This except on the Mary as the Queen of Mercy comes from the text, The Glories of Mary, written by St. Alphonsus Ligouri. This is the third week in a row I have drawn from this fantastic text written by the Doctor of the Church. As we prepare to celebrate the Queenship of Mary on Friday, I hope that you will enjoy this post and to use as part of your prayer this week –

“The Church honors the Virgin Mary with the glorious title of Queen because she has been elevated to the dignity of Mother of the King of kings. If the Son is King, says Saint Athanasius, His Mother must necessarily be considered Queen. From the moment that Mary consented to become the Mother of the Eternal Word, she merited the title of Queen of the World and of all creatures. If the flesh of Mary, says Saint Arnold, was the flesh of Jesus, how can the Mother be separated from the Son in His Kingdom? It thus follows that the Regal Glory must not only be considered as common to the Mother and the Son, but must even be the same.

Mary, then, is Queen, but let all learn for their consolation that she is a mild and merciful Queen, desiring the good of all sinners. Therefore, the Church salutes her in prayer and names her the Queen of Mercy. The very name of Queen signifies, as Albert the Great remarks, compassion and provision for the poor; differing in this from the title of empress, which signifies severity and rigor. The greatness of kings and queens consists in comforting the wretched so that, whereas tyrants have only their own advantage in view, kings should be concerned with the good of their subjects. Therefore, at the consecration of kings, their heads are anointed with oil, which is the symbol of mercy, to denote that in ruling they should always show kindness and good-will toward their subjects.

This is image is 'Our Lady of Ostra Brama' (Our Lady of Mercy). She is the patroness of the Marian Province in the United States.

This is image is ‘Our Lady of Ostra Brama’ (Our Lady of Mercy). She is the patroness of the Marian Province in the United States.

Kings, then, should principally occupy themselves with works of mercy, but they should not neglect the exercise of justice toward the guilty when it is required. But Mary is not a queen of justice, intent on the punishment of the guilty, but rather a Queen of Mercy, intent only on compassion and pardon for sinners. Accordingly, the Church calls her Queen of Mercy. “These two things which I heard: that power belongs to God, and yours, O Lord, is kindness” (Psalm 62:12-13). The Lord has divided the kingdom of God into two parts, Justice and Mercy. He has reserved the kingdom of justice for Himself, and He has granted the kingdom of mercy to Mary. Saint Thomas confirms this when he says that the holy Virgin, when she consented to be the Mother of the Redeemer, obtained half (1⁄2) of the kingdom of God by becoming Queen of Mercy, while Jesus remained King of Justice…

…Is there anyone who does not know the power of Mary’s prayers with God? Every prayer of hers is like a law that mercy shall be given to those for whom she intercedes. Saint Bernard asks why the Church names Mary, Queen of Mercy. It is because we believe that she obtains the mercy of God for all who seek it, so that not even the greatest sinner is lost if Mary protects him.

But some might think that Mary hesitates in pleading on behalf of some sinners, because she finds them so sinful. Should the majesty and sanctity of this great Queen alarm us? No, says Saint Gregory, in proportion to her greatness and holiness are her clemency and mercy toward sinners who wish to repent, and have recourse to her. Kings and queens inspire terror by the display of their majesty, and their subjects are afraid to go before them. But what fear, says Saint Bernard, can sinners have of going to this Queen of Mercy, since she never shows herself austere to those who seek her, but is always gentle and kind.”

Let us pray: O Mary, Queen of Mercy and our Advocating Mother, be our intercessor and lead us to your Son and Our Savior, Jesus Christ. As Mediatrix of All Graces, we ask you to shed upon the great and infinite mercy that Jesus gave to us on the cross perpetually. Mary, Queen of Mercy…Pray for us.

 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Esheth Yahil (Woman of Valor)

Besides Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant, which I have written about in a previous post, the image of her from Proverbs 31 as the Esheth Yahil or Woman of Valor has to be one of my favorite Old Testament Marian types.

I first learned about Proverbs 31 as a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the fall of 2008. I can remember thinking the whole time as I was reading Proverbs 31 for homework that although this chapter was speaking about an ideal woman in the scriptures, it had to also speak of the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.

So how do we read this poem?

As it always with the literal sense of the scriptures, words point to things, in this case the literal words are pointing to a woman. This poem is modeled after a literal ancient woman. As it is with the spiritual sense, the things, in this case the ancient woman is pointing to other things or references.

First, the woman is pointing to the Church. The Church is always feminine for she is the Bride and Christ the Bridegroom. Second, the woman is pointing towards Mary, who is closely related to the Church for she cares and intercedes for it (we shall see this more clearly soon). Third, the woman in this poem is the everyday woman or women in general. Fourth, the woman points towards Wisdom, which in the scriptures has a feminine quality to it. And lastly, the woman is pointing towards Lady wisdom, which in turn points to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who directs and guides the Church.

Proverbs 31 incarcerates all the other Proverbs. This Hebrew poem is the exalted point for woman in the Scriptures for we see the ideal woman that runs throughout. What also runs through this poem is a strong nuptial (marriage) theme that we see in verse 10 – “Who can find a good wife? She is more precious than jewels.” This good wife is a woman [esheth] of valor [yahil]. She is not a warrior maiden, but a mother of valor, an image we can clearly see the Blessed Virgin Mary holding.

When we think of the word – “force” or “valor”, our mind automatically thinks of a battle or a fight, but this is not what the sacred author is giving to us. The woman in Proverbs 31 is not a warrior; she is the ideal wife and mother. The sacred author, possibly King Solomon himself, is challenging our assumptions of valor and heroism. The woman of Proverbs 31 is a woman who is faithful to her daily duties and performs them well, without complaint. The woman who does is a witness of true valor and heroism.

So now that we have a basic understanding of this poem, let us turn our gaze to how the Blessed Virgin Mary fulfills Proverbs 31. There are quite a few Marian references here, so lets take a look at a few.

Mary Ponders The Word of God

1. In verse 12 it states: “She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life” – in regards to Mary this verse speaks of her perpetual lack of sin which derives from her Immaculate Conception.

2. In verse 15 it says: “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and tasks for her maidens” – here we see Mary as the Morning Star, which rises while others are still sleeping. As the Morning Star, she is Christ’s true herald of his word to the Church, the world, and all who will hear it.

3. In verse 20 it professes: “She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy” – The Blessed Mother as the Queen of Heaven cares for the spiritually poor. She brings the needs of the faithful to Jesus Christ, and as Mediatrix, grace flows from her hands. The grace initially comes from Christ himself then Mary dispenses that grace to the faithful.

4. In verse 22 it reads: “She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple” – although Mary while on Earth probably did not dress with fine linens, as the Queen of Heaven, she is now adorned with purple, a color of royalty.

5. In verse 26 it states: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” – here we can see that Mary’s fiat at the Annunciation and words at the Wedding Feast of Cana, “do whatever he tells you” are guided with wisdom. With God’s grace, she knows the right words for each situation.

6. In verse 27 it says: “She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness” – Mary surpasses all woman for she is the tower of complete womanhood. The Blessed Mother is the true feminist. She stays busy maintaining her house, both in Nazareth, and now as the Mother of the Church.

7. In verse 28 it reads: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” – from the moment of her Visitation with her cousin Elizabeth, Mary has always been venerated as the Blessed Virgin. By praying the Hail Mary and the Rosary, we ask the Blessed Mother to intercede on our behalf with Jesus.

8. In Verse 31 it states: “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” – here we see the evolution of Christians toward their Mother. As Christians, she brings her children’s needs to the gates of Heaven.

For all the faithful and all humanity, Mary stands as our mother of valor. Without strapping on battle gear as would a warrior, the Blessed Mother, our Queen Mother, advocates for us to our Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the one true Esheth Yahil.

“Mondays with Mary” – John the Apostle: Mother, I Beseech You

In honor of Mother’s Day, I turn our attention to the relationship of the Blessed Virgin Mary and John the Apostle. If you are a weekly reader of “Mondays with Mary”, you should know that I have written on this topic in the past to catechize you in the scriptural understanding of this passage from the Gospel of John as Jesus is dying on the cross. If you haven’t read this post, I suggest you read The Queenship of Mary: Advocate, Co-Redemptrix, and Mediatrix. 

Today’s blog post centers on a poem written by Pope Saint John Paul II focusing on the mother and son relationship between Mary and John from his book, The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope John Paul II. Scripturally and supernaturally, we know that John represents all Christians and all of humanity after the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, but on a human level, does John truly understand the task given to him by Our Lord on the cross? Would he have embraced this task or would he have been frightened? Did the thought cross his mind that the Blessed Mother would not remain with him?

Knowing what Tradition tells us of Saint John, I would claim that he embraces his role wholeheartedly and takes Mary as his own Mother. Why isn’t he afraid to do this? Out of all the apostles, it was the youngest of them all who stood with her at the cross as she watched her precious child endure the sufferings and sins of humanity. I think the Apostle knew his weaknesses, but even through these, he answered the first call from Jesus to be his follower, and then answers the second call to take Mary into his home as his mother.

Now that we have thought about this a bit, I turn you to the poetic words of Pope St. John Paul II and his thoughts on the relationship between Mary and John, mother and son –

Don’t lower the wave of heart,
it swells to your eyes, Mother;
don’t alter love,
but bring the wave to me
in your translucent hands.

He asked for this.

I am John the fisherman. There isn’t much
in me to love.

I feel I am still on that lake shore,
gravel crunching under my feet –
and, suddenly – Him.

Your will embrace His mystery in me no more,
yet quietly I spread round your thoughts like myrtle.
And calling you Mother – His wish –
I beseech you: may this word
never grow less for you.

True, it’s not easy to measure the meaning
of the words He breathed into us both
so that all earlier love in those words
should be concealed.

As we remember our mother’s this week, let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary asking for her to intercede for all mothers – both here on Earth, in Purgatory, and in Heaven. Let us also ask for the intercessory prayers of Saint John the Apostle – let us all be like John in two ways – first, let us love our mothers as he loved the Blessed Mother, and second, ask him to show us the beauty of the Divine Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary and how her role as our Queen Mother who brings us closer to Jesus Christ each and every time we ask.