A Crown for a Crown: Celebrating the Queenship of Mary

Girolamo Romani (1484–1566), “Pala di San Domenico”
Girolamo Romani (1484–1566), “Pala di San Domenico” (photo: Public Domain)

Since the sixth century, the Church has honored Mary using the title, “Queen,” and on August 22 of each year, we celebrate the feast of the Queenship of Mary.

Historically, the mother of the King was known as the Queen Mother. Simply put then, Mary is Queen because her Son, Jesus Christ, is King.

Theologically speaking, Pope Pius XII summed it up in his Radio message to Fatima in 1939:

He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Martyrs in the unspeakable work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperator, she remains forever associated to Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father]. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.

Mary was chosen by the Father to be the Queen. Bound in obedience to him and as helpmate of Christ, her royal position merits our allegiance and allows her to reign as Queen over the Kingdom.

And who are the “subjects” of the Kingdom?

You, me, and all of humanity.

To give Mary the honor she deserves is clear, at least to me. But there’s something else that I think often gets missed.

Indeed, in that regard we are the Queen’s subjects. But, by the direction of our Lord as he hung upon the Cross, we also are her children.

"Woman, behold your son,” he told Mary. “Son, behold your mother,” he told St. John. (Jn 19: 26) The Catholic Church understands those words to mean much more than Jesus securing care for his mother after his death. We understand it to mean that, at that moment, our Lord decreed that Mary should be mother) in the order of grace) of all humankind, and all humankind were to be her children.

So, if Mary is Queen, and we are her children, then are we not the spiritual offspring of royalty?

Take a moment for that to sink in.

As children of the Queen Mother, we are royal children. What does it mean to be royal children? It means to conduct ourselves as if we, too, were wearing crowns – crowns of grace, dignity, love, and faithfulness. We were crowned, so to speak, by Jesus from the Cross.

Celebrating the Queenship of Mary means more than rejoicing in her privilege as Queen Mother; it also means rejoicing in our own privilege of being her children.

Fr. Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt, often used the term, “a crown for a crown.” He taught that, when we give Mary a crown, she gives us a crown in return. In other words, for as much as we cherish her as our Queen, she cherishes us as her royal children. You could say, that she crowns us with her tender, motherly, love.

And so when we think about Mary’s Queenship, we also should think about our own royal position in the Kingdom of God. We can, and should, value ourselves and each other as we are valued by the King and Queen.

A crown for crown.