Queen of Unity
June 20 – August 22, 2021
We Crown You, Mary
The Church Calls Mary Queen
Crowning the Blessed Mother is a devotional custom dating back to the Middle Ages, when Mary statues were crowned. It is also known to be part of Christian tradition since from the beginning of the fourth century. When we call Mary Queen, we stress her preeminence or excellence based primarily on her role as Mother of Jesus Christ. She is Queen-Mother. In 1954, Pius XII instituted the liturgical feast of the Queenship of Mary. At the same time, the pope issued a major document about the queenship of Mary, the Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam (Oct. 11, 1954).
Testimonies of the Church fathers on this title are almost innumerable, but there exists also a biblical foundation for it: Lk 1:32/33 making reference of Christ’s everlasting reign, and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary as the “Mother of my Lord.” These texts show that because of the Son’s royal dignity, Mary possessed a greatness and excellence that set her apart. This is what we call her Queenship. Pius XII was well aware that this title was not to be used in modern political terms.
Mary’s Queenship is one of love and service, not pomp and power, as is said about her son (Jn 18:36; Mt 20:20). It is thus pointed out that the roots of Mary’s Queenship are to be found in the Paschal Mystery of Christ, which is a mystery of self-giving, death, and resurrection-ascension, the reaching of glory through humility (abasement-exaltation). Along these lines of theological reflection we see four reasons why Mary deserves to be Queen:
1) She is Queen because she is the Mother of the Lord, also called the Messianic King (see: Col 1:16; Lk 1:32; Lk 1:43).
2) She is Queen because she is wholeheartedly associated with her Son’s salvific work (Rv 12:5).
3) She is Queen because she is the perfect disciple of Christ (Rv 2:10; 3:21).
4) She is the most excellent member of the Church, because of her mission and holiness.
All of these reasons show that Mary’s Queenship can only be understood as a gift of her son to participate in his excellence of love. They also show that it is within the kingly status of the People of God that Mary-Queen fulfills her true vocation.*
Schoenstatt Crowns Mary as Queen
In Schoenstatt, the practice of crowning the Blessed Mother has taken on a new, deeper meaning, since Fr. Joseph Kentenich first attached a crown to the picture of the Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt in the Original Shrine on December 10, 1939. From then on Schoenstatt members have offered countless crowns, fashioned in various designs out of different materials, to the MTA, crowning her picture in homes, workplaces, hospital rooms, conference halls, classrooms, and churches. Many members of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign have also crowned the picture of the Pilgrim MTA.
Trusting that Mary has a unique mission as an excellent member of the Church, in Schoenstatt, each coronation act has a timely meaning for the person or community that offer the crown. Sometimes the crown symbolizes an urgent petition. For example, in 1942 when Fr. Kentenich was in the concentration camp at Dachau, he and his followers secretly offered the Blessed Mother a simple crown as the “Bread Mother” during a time of severe starvation. Almost immediately after that, the camp officials changed their policy and permitted the prisoners to receive food parcels through the mail. In faith, these men attributed this change to the crowning event.
Schoenstatt Children Acknowledge Mary as Queen
In Schoenstatt’s history we have seen how the Mother Thrice Admirable has not only accepted the self-offering of her children, as Fr. Kentenich liked to put it, she always gives “a crown for a crown,” but the person actually experiences a deeper spiritual transformation, increasing a sense of self-worth and of human dignity, of personal value, and therefore also, a deeper awareness of being loved by God and others. This affirmation, in turn, leads to greater generosity and selfless service. Thus the offering of a crown to Mary not only helps to petition for her assistance in the multiple needs of our lives, it also answers the central underlying human need to love and to be loved. In the words of Fr. Kentenich, “all love crowns,” all true love sees and honors what is good and beautiful in the other person. To crown the Blessed Mother, to honor her wonderful greatness as Queen, opens us more and more to see in her image the features of Christ, in ourselves and in others. Therefore crowning is not an isolated act. It expresses and increases the longing to belong to Mary and to resemble her in our being and acting.
We present the crown to Our Lady. By doing so we want to say something very similar to what was said in the Middle Ages at a coronation: Be aware not only of your dignity and the glory of your virtues, but above all of your power! You are the Queen! We all want to be dependent on you. You must govern us, you must lead us through the reefs of our time. You must lead, guide, and educate us. You must help us to know but one great answer to every situation of our age: nearer my God to Thee!”
Fr. Joseph Kentenich, 1885-1968
* Fr. Johann Roten, S. M., https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/q/queen-mary-as.php