The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
When we begin the Fifth Glorious Mystery, we use the title: "The Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth, of all the Angels and the Saints." As far as we can recall, we have always prayed this mystery under the title, "Queen of all the Angels and the Saints." But now that we think of it, we didn't really pray the Rosary much until we came back to the Church in 1975, and by that time, we were so in love with the Angels, and with their roles in our Church and our lives, we just naturally included them in this mystery.
This mystery is many things to us. It is Mary's reward for a life of humility, of submission and obedience, of Fiat. It's a definition of her role as Mother of the Church, and mediator between God and humanity. We don't really know how happy Mary's life on earth was. True, she was given a gift that no one in the history of mankind was given, that of bearing the Son of God in her womb, and living with Him for thirty three years. We don't know much about the years from twelve to thirty; it can be speculation or inspiration. And while the early days of His public ministry were glorious, full of excitement and achievement, miracles and healings, crusades and conversions, there was also the other side of the coin. There is always the other side of the coin.
There were those who hated Jesus, who called Him a fraud, a maniac, a devil. They were most likely more vehement in their condemnation of Jesus than those who were praising Him. There were the Pharisees and the Saducees, most of whom were against Jesus. Their protests against Him must have hurt Mary very deeply. We're sure these negatives didn't outweigh the positives, how God was being glorified through His Son on earth, but they were always there.
Possibly the worst, of the sorrows our Lady had to suffer, was the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus. A beautiful man who had been a pall-bearer at our son's funeral, rushed away after the coffin was lowered into the ground. He called us at home. He apologized: "There is only one thing I can say and then I must hang up. There is an old Jewish expression, "Parents should never have to bury their children." We witnessed the death of our son, who fell victim to an overdose of drugs. It was an outrage to watch this boy's life self-destruct before our very eyes. Our son died because he was a victim of the world and its false promises, its lies that we do not need to carry the Cross. With Mother Mary's Son Jesus it was different. Satan and his lies had no effect on Him.
He knew why He was born, and He said yes. He came to love us and to show us the love of God the Father. He came to show us the Face of God, to dispel the fear the Jews had always had of God, that to see the Face of God was to die. No longer would we fear to look upon Him. He came to bring us a touchable God, One Who laughed with us, cried with us, listened to us, walked with us. Jesus only wanted to love us. "I have come to bring you life, and life more abundantly!" (John 10:10) He opened up His arms to us, vulnerably, and we hung Him on a Cross. We killed Him. We killed her Son. Mary had to watch this, helplessly.
She may have known; she may have realized this was the Triumph of the Cross, not the Scandal of the Cross. She may have known; but she may not. And even if she did, this was her own Flesh and Blood who was being tortured and murdered before her eyes. He was God! But He chose not to do anything, but let it happen. He wouldn't even allow His Angels to defend Him. (Mat 26:53 - "Do you not suppose I can call on My Father to provide at a moment's notice more than twelve legions of Angels?") Mary understood. But understanding is one thing, it's cerebral; feelings are something else, they are from the very depth of our being. We have to believe that although Mary may have intellectually known how her Son was fulfilling the Will of the Father, in her heart, in the pit of her stomach, she had to want to scream out for them to stop torturing her Son, stop hurting her little Baby.
Then there were the years after Jesus ascended into Heaven. She was here; He was there. Why did she have to stay on earth? Her work was over, wasn't it? Or was it? Did she have to continue to be Mother to all the Apostles and Disciples? Was she the living sign of Jesus in their midst, for the almost twenty years, she stayed here on earth? (City of God, Sr. Mary Agreda) Was this really necessary? Hadn't they received enough strength from the Holy Spirit, and the Angels who would be at their sides during the rest of their lives? No, they needed her presence here. She was the Mother. She had to continue to be Mother to the Apostles, to the disciples, to the entire Church for as long as Jesus wanted it.
We know Mary never made demands, and most probably she didn't expect any more than the honor which she was given to understand during her Magnificat. "All generations shall call me blessed, for He who is mighty, has done great things for me, and Holy is His name." (Luke 1:48-49) But considering all that she had suffered, plus the fact that she had been chosen to be the bearer of Jesus, the instrument, the Tabernacle, from which God would come forth, this final, ongoing tribute to her, was well deserved. It was as if God the Father was saying to Mary and the whole world, "This is My daughter, in whom I am well pleased. Mary, thank you for your Yes! Take your proper place in the Kingdom."
It's hard not to let your imagination run away with you, when you try to visualize in your mind's eye the pomp and ceremony, the great celebration of the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and earth, of all the Angels and the Saints. We know all the Angels had to be there. How many does that constitute? Scripture tells us "myriads upon myriads, thousands upon thousands." (Rev 5:11)
Consider, if you will, a great room. That great room was a galaxy. The lineup of guests spread out as far as the horizon, in any direction. In addition to the Angels, there were all the Saints, not just the ones we read about in the Lives of the Saints, but all those we don't read about, those we honor on November 1st, Feast of All Saints, those who were "ransomed as the first fruits of mankind for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are indeed without flaw." (Rev 14:4-5) To our way of thinking, for as far as the eye could see, were Angels and Saints prostrated before the Throne of God, adoring Our Lord and praising and venerating His most holy Mother Mary. Remember, these men and women had been waiting for the Messiah to come, some for many centuries, or even thousands of years. It wasn't until Mary's Fiat, her Yes, that the process of their redemption began. It had always been promised, but it was not until she said, "I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to His will." that it came to pass.
All the paintings we've ever seen of the Coronation, show Mary, breathtakingly beautiful, seated in the center, with Jesus on one side, God the Father on the other, and the Holy Spirit hovering above them. Jesus and the Father hold the crown above the head of our Lady. At that instant, Heaven and earth wait in silent anticipation. When the crown is placed on her head, brilliant lights shoot out to every part of the Heavens, with the message that the Queen has been crowned; her reign begins. Mary is in queenship; we are her subjects. She is our Queen, our Mother, our confidante, our friend. She is the mediatrix between us and our Lord Jesus. She is our voice in Heaven.
How many times have you heard "I have a problem with the role Mary has in the Church?" We have no problem with the place our Lord, right from the beginning gave Mother Mary. It was not the Church who called Mary the Mother of God, but Jesus himself. It was Jesus Who set up the pattern we were to follow, that of turning to Mother Mary for help. At Cana, we do not hear of the wedding party going directly to Jesus for help in their dilemma. They could have; He was there, amongst them. No, they must have gone to Mother Mary, or as with us, maybe Mother Mary, the involved Mother noticed her children had problems and she turned to her Son. And how did the Son react to His Mother's request? Although, initially He did not want to handle the problem at that time, it was His Mother's gentle persuasion that moved Jesus' Heart, and He did as she had asked of Him. Was she puffed up because her Son had showed His favor upon her by saying yes? No; she turned to the servants and said the words she repeats over and over again, "Do whatever He tells you." Not, "Do whatever I tell you, for I am important." No, in her perfect imitation of her Son Who always deferred to His Father, she humbly deferred to her Son.
Don't turn away from the Lord's Mother. She is there, beside her Son, listening to you, waiting to plead with her Son on your behalf. If you have no problem asking sinners on earth to intercede for you, why hesitate to ask our Blessed Mother who is in Heaven and is "highly favored by the Lord" and blessed by all generations?
The events we study in this mystery are most important to us, as children of God. Lucifer had a great deal of trouble consenting to Jesus, God in the second Person, becoming man, and still having to be adored as God. Lucifer knew he had to adore God, but not in the form of a human. After all, he pridefully insisted, the human species were created far below the Angels. Worshiping the God-Man Jesus was a tough one to swallow, but the final straw, which pushed him over the edge, was having a human, and a woman at that, to have dominion over him, to be his Queen. He couldn't handle that. It was this mandate that Lucifer would not accept. He screeched out his battle cry, "I will not serve!" And so he was able to incite a band of proud angels and would do battle with God. But one of the lesser Angels rose and with his battle cry: "Mica-el - Who is like God!", he, accompanied by the Angels loyal to God, did battle with Lucifer and the fallen angels. Because they were duped by Lucifer and made the final decision for him against God, they broke away from their Creator. And can you imagine how sorrowful God the Father was when 1/3 of the angels left Him. (And then a second sign appeared in the sky, a huge dragon...Its tail dragged a third of the stars from the sky and dropped them down to the earth. Rev 12:3) Among Franciscans it is said, that when the angels left, their places (1/3 of all the Angels) in the Kingdom were to be replaced by Franciscans. Since St. Francis lived the true Gospel life, I really believe, the Lord's message of hope is that all those who authentically try to live the Gospel will take those empty seats vacated by the fallen angels. (Rev 12:7-10)
Keep in mind that Lucifer was a favored Angel of God. The coronation of Mary had to be an important step in God's eyes, knowing that Lucifer would break away, as a result. Mary has always had a major role in the Kingdom, in the Church. She was given a special title for her Fiat. Why? Why should she be given this singular honor? What did she do that was so spectacular? A wise Franciscan priest once told us, "Mary didn't do anything. She just stood there." She emptied herself of all that was Mary, and allowed God to fill her with Jesus. Is there a powerful message here for us, a way to become beloved in the eyes of the Lord? Is Jesus saying to us through Mary, "Don't just do something; stand there! Empty yourself of all that is not of Me and My Father! I'll do the rest."