|St. Louis de Montfort |
kneeling before our Lady, Queen of all hearts
August 22nd, The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Andrew of Crete frequently attributes the dignity of a Queen to the Virgin Mary. For example, he writes, “Today He transports from her earthly dwelling, as Queen of the human race, His ever-Virgin Mother, from whose womb He, the living God, took on human form.” And in another place he speaks of “the Queen of the entire human race, faithful to the exact meaning of her name, who is exalted above all things save only God himself.” (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Letter proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, Ad Caeli Reginam)
Mary is proclaimed as the Queen not only of the saints and angels in heaven, nor even of those currently united to Christ through faith and charity on earth, but even of all people, good and bad alike. In the same Encyclical, Ven. Pius XII states that our Blessed Lady is “the Queen of all creatures, the Queen of the world, and the Ruler of all.”
However, we then come to a question: Can Mary be said to be the Queen even of the non-baptized? Is she the Queen also of the damned in hell? Is she the Queen of the demons and of Satan their head?
Christ is the head of the Church, and the head of all men
The Queenship of Mary comes from her intimate relation with her Son, Christ our Savior. Because the Lord is the King of the universe and the Head of all men, so too our Lady is the Queen and Mother of all.
Jesus is the King of the universe and the head of all men (and even of all creation) in his humanity. Among all creatures, Christ is closest to God in his humanity. Among all creatures, Christ’s humanity is most perfected in grace and glory. And, finally, all creatures receive grace and redemption in Christ through his humanity.
Mary is the Mother not only of the good, but also of the bad
St. Thomas Aquinas points out that the Lord is head not only of the elect, but also of those who will ultimately fall into hell. The Angelic Doctor states that Christ is the head of all men, if we take the whole time of the world in general. Let us consider this point briefly.
Among those who have every lived or will live, all are potentially united to Christ through grace. Some of these will become actually united with him and will persevere to the end – these will come to the glory of heaven and will have Christ as their head for all eternity. Others will become actually united with Christ through grace, but will not persevere to the end and will fall from grace and remain separated in death – these are the damned in hell, who no longer have Christ for their head. Finally, some will never be actually united to Christ through grace – these are also among the damned.
Still, when the whole of time is considered together, all men were at least potentially united to Christ at some time – therefore, Christ is the head of all men (cf. ST III, q.8, a.3). To be clear, at this moment in time, our Savior is not the head of those who are in hell or of those who are not united to him through faith, but (considering all time together as well as both actual and potential headship) he is rightly said to be the head of all men without exception.
In a similar manner, Mary is rightly said to be the Mother of all. Indeed, although some will never be actually united to Mary through faith and charity, all men are at least at some time potentially united to Mary since all men are at least at some time potentially members of Christ’s body. Grace is open to all, therefore (even if they ultimately reject that grace) all are at least potentially united to Mary at some time. In this sense, we affirm that Mary is the Mother of all.
Mary is Queen over the damned, just as Christ is their King
Moreover, at all times (since the incarnation) Christ is actively the King of the universe and even the King over those in hell. Not that the damned are willing subjects, but they are subjected to him through the bonds of punishment.
Likewise, Mary is the Queen over all and even over the damned, insofar as she intimately participates in the Kingship of her divine Son. There is no creature which is separated from the rule and dominion of Christ, and so there is no creature which is able to rebel against the rule of Mary the Mother of God.
Mary is the Queen even over Satan and the demons
As Christ is the head even of the angels, who are members of his Mystical Body, so too Mary is the Mother and Queen of the Angels. Ave Domina Angelorum – Hail, Lady of the Angels!
The angels are ordained to the same glory to which all men are ordained, therefore both men and angels are called (metaphorically) “one body”. And, as Christ is exalted above the angels in his humanity and is the Lord over the angels in his humanity, it is likely also that the angels receive every grace through the humanity of Christ – indeed, the prefaces of the Mass indicate that the angels offer worship through Christ (so that he serves as the sole mediator between God and creatures, including both men and angels).
Now, from what has been said above, it is clear that Christ is the head of all the angels – if we consider all time together. For, all the angels were created in grace and were actually united to Christ’s Mystical Body. Satan and his angels fell from this grace and so were separated from Christ’s Body – but they were once members of that Body and did have Christ as their head. Hence, we say that (considering all time together) Christ is the head even of Satan – though, to be clear, Satan is no longer even potentially united to Christ and our Savior is not at this moment the head of the demons in hell.
Likewise, our Blessed Mother is the Queen and Lady of all the angles and even over the demons, though Satan is no longer even potentially united to her.
Finally, as Christ is King over the damned in hell and even over Satan (for, surely, Satan has no power excepting that the Lord give it to him), so too Mary is the Queen over the damned and over Satan. How terrible it would be if Satan’s rebellion freed him from the reign of Mary! No, not at all! Rather, he is forcibly subjected to Mary through the eternal torments he suffers.
Mary, Queen of the saints
I am here reminded of a line from St. John of the Cross: “God is never absent, not even from the soul in mortal sin (and how much less from one in the state of grace).” (from The Spiritual Canticle)
If there is a real sense in which Mary can be said to be the Mother and Queen of all hearts – including even of the damned in hell and of the demons, understood in a highly qualified sense – how much more reason do we have to affirm that she is our Mother and our Queen, so long as we live! Even those who are not in the state of grace can claim Mary as their Mother through a potential union (which remains a possibility up until the moment of death), and how much more ought the soul in grace recognize Mary has her Mother!
If Mary reigns as Queen even over Satan and the demons, how much more is she the Queen of heaven and of her saints! What then have you to fear? Is Mary not your Mother, your Queen, your Mediatrix, and your Adiutrix? She loves you more than you can ever imagine, and she will shelter you in her Immaculate Heart.