The Queenship of Mary| The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary| SS. Timothy, Hippolytus and Symphorian| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Queenship of Mary
Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.
In the fourth century St. Ephrem (June 9) called Mary “Lady” and “Queen.” Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.
The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.
As St. Paul suggests in Romans 8:28–30, God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son. All the more was Mary predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence on Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles to queenship derive from this eternal intention of God. As Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and his fellow human beings, so did Mary exercise her queenship. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth.
“Let the entire body of the faithful pour forth persevering prayer to the Mother of God and Mother of men. Let them implore that she who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers may now, exalted as she is in heaven above all the saints and angels, intercede with her Son in the fellowship of all the saints. May she do so until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 69).
Today in the Latin Calendar we celebrate the Feast Day of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A story about this Feast Day can be found by Clicking Here.
The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of he Blessed Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all persons. Two elements are essential to the devotion, Mary’s interior life and the beauties of her soul, and Mary’s virginal body. According to Roman Catholic theology, soul and body are necessary to the constitution of man. It was in 1855, that the Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary formally became a part of the Catholic practice. Traditionally, the heart of Mary in artwork is depicted with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven sorrows of Mary. Also, roses or another type of flower may be wrapped around the heart.
Veneration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary generally coincides with the worship of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, there is a difference that explains the Roman Catholic devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the “Divine Heart”, as overflowing with love for humanity. In the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, on the other hand, the attraction is the love of her Immaculate Heart for Jesus and for God.
A second difference is the nature of the devotion itself. In devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Roman Catholic venerates in a sense of love, responding to love. In devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, love is formed from study and imitation of Mary’s yes to God as the mother of Jesus. In this devotion, love is more the result, than the “object” of the devotion; the object being rather to love God and Jesus by uniting one’s self to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues, to help one achieve this.
History of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is connected in many ways to that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Christians were drawn to the love and virtues of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and this paved the devotion from the beginning. Early Christians had compassion for the Virgin Mary, and the Gospels recount prophecy delivered to her at Jesus’ presentation in the temple, and that her heart would be pierced with a sword. The image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the pierced heart is the most popular representation. St. John’s Gospel further invites us to the attention of Mary’s heart with its depiction of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus’ crucifixion. St. Augustine tells us that Mary was more blessed in having born Christ in her heart, than in having conceived him in the flesh.
Also today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate SS. Timothy, Hippolytus, a Bishop and Symphorian, Martyrs. A story about this commemoration can be found by Clicking Here.
The Roman Breviary places the commemoration of these three holy Martyrs in one lesson, although they did not all suffer in the same place or at the same time. Saint Timothy came from Antioch to Rome, during the reign of Pope Melchiades, and as, at that period, the Christians were much persecuted, he went on foot through the city and encouraged the Christians to constancy. A whole year he worked in this manner to the great benefit of the faithful. When Tarquinius, the Prefect, was informed of it, he had him apprehended and thrown into a dark, damp dungeon. Having for some time suffered the miseries of imprisonment, he was brought before the judges and commanded to worship the gods. Finding him willing to suffer the greatest torments rather than obey their wicked commands, they cast him again into prison, after they had cruelly beaten and otherwise maltreated him. This was done a second and a third time. All manner of tortures were tried oh him in vain. Timothy only became the more firmly resolved never to forsake his God. Finally, the order was given to behead him, which, to the great rejoicing of the holy martyr, was soon executed. Many idolaters, seeing his constancy, became converts to Christ.
Saint Hippolytus, a bishop, greatly renowned for his holiness and learning, came from Arabia to Rome, during the time of Pope Callistus, to visit the tombs of the holy Apostles, Saint Peter and Saint Paul. At this period, Ulpian, a celebrated judge, and at the same time, a bitter enemy to the Christians, administered the affairs of the city. No sooner had he heard that Saint Hippolytus had arrived, than he ordered him to be seized and brought into his presence. The holy bishop confessed, without hesitation, that he was a Christian, He was commanded to forsake Christ and worship the gods; but he refused to obey, and not only treated with contempt all promises and threats of the judge, but also bore the most cruel torments. The tyrant at last, caused the holy bishop to be tied hand and foot and thrown into a deep pit filled with water, where he ended his life.
Saint Symphorian, a youth of twenty years, the son of a noble Senator of Autun, in France, was baptized by Saint Benignus, a pupil of Saint Polycarp, and instructed in the Christian faith. He led a blameless and truly Christian life, which he ended by a glorious martyrdom. The occasion of this was as follows. The heathen inhabitants of the city celebrated, according to their custom, a special festival in honor of the goddess Cybele, whom they regarded as the mother of all the gods. Her image was carried through the city with great splendor, and all the heathens prostrated themselves before it, and worshipped it on bended knees. Symphorian, who witnessed this spectacle, would neither bend his knees, nor give any sign of respect. The heathen looked upon this as a great insult offered to the goddess, and they accused him before Heraclius, judge of the city, who asked him who he was and why he had not worshipped the great goddess. “lama Christian,” replied he, “and my name is Symphorian. I pray only to the true God, who reigns in heaven. I will not worship the image of the devil; but, if you give me the permission, I will destroy it.” On account of this speech, the Saint was not only regarded as a blasphemer, but also as a rebel, because he had not only defamed the great goddess, but also had disobeyed the imperial order, according to which all subjects of the empire were bound to worship the gods. Heraclius, after censuring his speech severely, threatened to torture him most cruelly, if he should persevere in refusing to obey the Emperor’s command. Symphorian, representing to the judge the nothingness of his gods, said in answer to his menaces: “I fear only the omnipotent God, who created me, and Him only will I serve. You have my body in your power for a short space of time; but you have not my soul.” The judge, not willing to dispute with the fearless Confessor of Christ, ordered him to be beheaded, after he had been tortured in different ways. Symphorian evinced great joy at this sentence; and as he was led to the place of execution, his pious mother called to him: “My son, Symphorian, think of the eternal life. Look up to heaven and remember who reigns there. They cannot take thy life, but only change it into a better one. From this world you wilt go to a world of never-ending bliss.” This exhortation of his mother sank deeply into Symphorian ‘s heart and he went rejoicingly to the place where he was to receive the crown of martyrdom. On arriving there, he fell upon his knees, thanked God for the grace of being permitted to die for His sake, and received’ his death-stroke without faltering. On the place, where his holy body was buried, a magnificent Church was afterwards erected. The heathens themselves witnessed many miracles which were wrought by the intercession of Saint Symphorian.
You admire, without doubt, these three martyrs for worshipping only the true God, and for suffering neither torment nor death to change them. You despise the blindness of the heathen who regarded an image made by man, or some other miserable creature, as a god. Why then have you so often turned away from God, even without the danger of torment or death? Why have you so often followed the example of the heathen in their blindness, by honoring a human creature like an idol, and being more anxious to please it, than the Lord your God? The holy Apostle says to the pagans and of those who are like pagans, that their stomach is their God, or that they regard it as their God; because all their thoughts are bent to please it by gluttony; and because they are more anxious to satisfy their stomach, than the Almighty. Yes, they even transgress the laws of God and the church without all fear, in order to; refuse nothing to their stomach, The same may be said of other sins; for, according to the words of Saint Isidore, each mortal sin belongs in a certain degree, to idolatry; as a sinner, by despising or forsaking the true God, selects something temporal, which he prefers to the Almighty. “That which one loves more than God, that which he prefers to Him,” says Origen, “the same is his God.” Hence, according to this teacher, a sinner cannot say to the true God: “Thou art my God!” for, his God is his stomach, or money, or empty honor, or sensual pleasures. How much wickedness, therefore, must every sin contain! How great a punishment must await the sinner, who leaves the true God in so disgraceful a manner, and who, by his actions, denies Him! Guard yourself against such idolatry. Be constant to the true, the only God, and forsake Him not for temporal honors, for a trifling gain, an infamous pleasure, or for love of any human being. Endeavor to be able to say to the Lord with truth: “My Lord and my God! My God and my all!” But who is it that can truthfully say this? Saint Jerome says: “He whose heart is not swayed by sin.”
“I fear only the omnipotent God, who has created me,” said Saint Symphorian. He did not fear the tyrant; nor could any threats prevail upon him to worship the false gods. He feared God alone; hence he would rather suffer martyrdom than offend Him. You have reason to fear God; for, He is your Judge, who has power to condemn you for all eternity. You cannot oppose Him. You have reason to fear only Him, and to fear Him much more than all human beings, because He can punish you much more than all human beings. He can cast your soul and body, for all eternity, into hell, which the power of all men united would be unable to do. All mankind cannot shield you from His wrath; He alone can save you from the wickedness of men and of evil spirits. Hence, fear God, fear Him alone, and fear Him more than all men. But if you really fear the Almighty, take care not to offend Him; and if you have offended Him, endeavor to reconcile yourself to Him, without loss of time, by true repentance. This is required of you by the fear of the Lord. If you offend Him without shame, and do not endeavor to reconcile yourself to Him, do not say that you truly fear Him. “The fear of the Lord hates evil.” (Proverbs 8) “Fear God and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3) “Fear God, and keep His commandments.” (Eccl. 12) “The fear of the Lord drives out sin.” (Eccl. 1)
Accepting God's Answer:
We often like to claim we don't know what God wants when, in reality, we do and we just don't like His answer to our question.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Ask Jesus with holy insistence for this grace (perfect abandonment), for every perfect gift is from above.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Three: 189-236
We continue now to the third notebook that Saint Faustina filled with messages of Mercy from our Lord. As you enter into this notebook, pause and reflect upon all that you have read so far. Has it changed your perspective on life? Has it changed you? If it has, then continue down that same path and trust that the Lord will continue to do great things in your life. If it has not, reflect upon why!
Sometimes we need more than the words we read. We also need true prayer, deep prayer and what we may call “soaking prayer.” Consider this as you read through the reflections flowing from this notebook and allow the words to not only enter your mind, but to also enter deeper. Read them prayerfully and carefully. Speak to our Lord as Saint Faustina did. Read some more of her actual diary in addition to these reflections and learn from her humble and childlike faith.
The Lord wants to do great things in your life! Open the door, through prayer and reflection, and let Him in!
Reflection 234: The Obscurity of Deep Faith
Normally, when one begins a journey of faith, there are countless insights and revelations that are enjoyed. Various aspects of the life of faith come alive and understanding of the many mysteries in life is received. This gift of spiritual insight and understanding is a great gift and guide as one begins to walk down the path God has chosen. But as time goes on and a soul enters deeply into the mysteries of faith, a certain obscurity can begin to set in. If this is caused by sin or by a spiritual sloth, it should be remedied through Confession and a new resolve to seek the Lord. But this experience can also be the result of a deepening of one’s faith. There comes a time when God’s communication is one of darkness and obscurity. The soul begins to understand that it cannot understand. This is a gift in that the deeper mysteries of faith cannot be communicated through a concept or insight. The deepest communications from our Lord must be communicated through a darkening of the mind. Knowledge becomes dark, yet the certainty of God’s voice remains (See Diary #1205).
Reflect upon your interior life of prayer. If you do not clearly have an “interior life,” then it’s time to start. Seek our Lord through meditation and conversation and allow Him to speak to you. If you do have an interior life of prayer and God is regularly present to you, seek to go deeper. And as you seek more, do not be afraid if you begin to sense that meditation and conversation give way to greater silence and obscurity in your soul. This may be a sign that God is speaking to you on a new level. Speak to a priest about this experience and remain faithful to our Lord in every way as He draws you more deeply into a new level of prayer.
Lord, I desire to be drawn in deeply to the silence and obscurity of a life of faith. Help me to commune with You on this deepest level and to be transformed in the depths of my soul. Jesus, I trust in You.