Today the Church celebrates the Queenship of the Mother of God. This is a curious, one might say, ironic title, given that Christ’s Mother likely knew little honor during her earthly life, let alone the honors paid to a queen. Though her Queenship was justified beyond that of any mortal sovereign, she lived her life uncrowned and mostly unknown.
There was no sign of regal splendor in her home in Nazareth. No monuments were raised to her greatness during her lifetime. She commanded no armies and presided over no governments.
In the eyes of the worldly, she would have appeared to be insignificant.
Yet she is the Queen of Earth and Heaven, and by the command of her Divine Son, no power in heaven or earth is her rival. Even the mightiest of the angels cedes to his place to her. She is the most profound example of the fulfillment of Christ’s promise that the last will first and first will be last. Why such honors?
Mary is the privileged bearer of Christ into the world. All the honors and titles that the Church acclaims as belonging to her are a proclamation of her mission as Mother of God.
The Church’s celebration of Mary as Queen is not an attempt to honor femininity in general or elevate her to the status of a goddess, instead, it is way of directing our attention to the great and mysterious revelation that makes our communion with God possible- the mystery of the Incarnation.
Remember, the Incarnation is the startling revelation that God has accepted a human nature and lived a real human life. This revelation happens in the real flesh and real blood of Jesus of Nazareth. We Christians believe that God has acted in such an extraordinary way so that he might share his divine life with us and elevate the dignity of our humanity. Because of the Incarnation, God shares kinship with us, making us members of his family- becoming his sons and daughters, his brothers and sisters.
The saints and sages of the Church testify to the Incarnation as a “marvelous exchange”- God accepting from us a share in our humanity so that he might give to us a share in his divinity. This “marvelous exchange” is really and truly what the Gospel is all about.
Christ who elevates us to share in his life and make of us his kin, chooses as his mother one who is lowly, and lifts her up to reign as Queen over earth and heaven.
Marvelous exchange indeed!