Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth

Tomorrow, August 22, is the feast of the Queenship of the Mary. Pope Pius XII instituted this feast in 1954. The faithful have been meditating on this honor bestowed upon Mary in the fifth glorious mystery of the rosary. She is rightly called the Queen of Heaven and earth, of Angels, Saints and men.

The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, "the Lord of Lords" (Rev. 19:16) and the Conqueror of sin and death. (Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, no. 59)

Friday, August 26, is a great feast for the Polish people; it is the feast day of Our Lady of Czestochowa. This icon of Our Lady has been enshrined in the monastery of the Pauline monks since the 14th century. The origin of this painting dates back to the first century when legend has it that St. Luke painted the image of Mary on a table top. During the Teutonic invasion of 1430, it was damaged in an attempt to destroy it. It still bears the marks of this assault, with the two slashes on Our Lady’s cheek.

In the 17th century the Swedes invaded Poland. There was vast destruction, and towns as well as Polish regiments fell under the attackers. It seemed that Poland would be lost to the Swedish invaders. The tide changed, however, when the Swedish army surrounded Our Lady’s monastery and were not able to break into it. In spite of massive bombardments and incendiary assaults for many weeks, it remained undefeated. The dark complexion was due to a fire caused by one of these forays. Mary’s monastery perdured. This gave inspiration to the rest of Poland who organized and fortified themselves once again. The invaders left; Poland triumphed; Our Lady was the means. One year after this victory, King Jan Casimir, proclaimed her officially to be the Queen of Poland. Later on she would be declared Queen by an act of the Polish Parliament.

Our Lady is still the means by which all that is good can be accomplished. Indeed, she is Queen of Poland, Queen of Heaven and Earth; she is our Queen who is as our Mother watches over each of us tenderly. Let’s go to her always with our desires, our hopes and all of our needs.

Father Stanley

On this earth there is a place
Where every soul wants to return.
For there reigns the Queen of Poland,
On her face two cuts are seen.
Ever gentle as she gazes, almost begging one and all,
That they ask for her protection with this call:


Madonna, O Black Madonna,
How good to be your child.
O hide us, dear Black Madonna,
In your heart, so meek and mild.

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