The feast of the Assumption is the Marian complement to the Ascension of the Lord, or the celebration of his Kingship. To “sit at the right hand of the Father” is a symbolic way of saying that Jesus is ‘Lord and King.’ The feast of the Queenship of Mary attributes a similar status to Our Lady. It continues the solemnity of the Assumption, which exalts Mary as a total person (‘body and soul in heaven’, as the phrase is) and acknowledges her importance in the mystery of salvation.
Mary unites in herself the two symbols of Queen and Mother : as ‘mother’, she is the woman who carries God in her womb, and so declared as ‘Mother of God’, Theotokos, by the Council of Ephesus. As ‘queen’ she reminds us of that great Old Testament figure Esther, who intercedes for her people and saves them from destruction. So too, Mary is our chief intercessor, as we sing and pray, “Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy! Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope…”
Today we live in a more egalitarian age, where kings and queens have all but faded from public memory. But we still honour those men and women who have distinguished themselves by their star performances in the cinema, or in the world of fashion, or sports. Men and women, in other words, who rule over our imagination, and so guide our actions. We give them all the adulation our parents once gave to royalty. We model ourselves on their behaviour, we emulate their life-styles. We look to them for favours and wish for their benevolence. So the symbol of ‘queenship’ still exerts its fascination upon our imagination, even in this day and age.
May Mary so continue to inspire us still.