Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ave Regina Caelorum!

Today, on the Octave of the Assumption, the Church turns her eyes once more to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother and proclaims her, in the words of St Alphonsus Ligouri, "Queen of the world and all creatures". Indeed, the Church has long hailed our Lady as Queen; in her Liturgy, the Marian antiphons address her as such, sacred art portrays her crowned with stars or gold or enthroned and she is venerated as Queen in the Litany of Loreto, the Holy Rosary and innumerable other titles. Why? Primarily because Jesus is the Universal King and Mary, His Mother, raised high by God, participates in this royal dignity by the grace of Jesus. Moreover, as Pope St Pius X (whose feast occurred yesterday) said: "Mary sits as the right hand of Jesus like a Queen. She is the most safe refuge and the most fruitful helper of all who are in danger, so there is no reason to fear." We have a firm recourse to her, who is our mediator with Christ, the sole Mediator between God and man (cf Schillebeeckx OP, Mary, Mother of the Redemption, p123ff) and thus we hail her as our Queen.

The proclamation of Mary as Queen is generally understood as a spiritual metaphor and symbol of her role in our lives and the paragon of holiness that she is to us Christians. As such Pope Blessed John XXIII has the following reflections to offer which I wish to share with you today on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary:

"How wonderful, how beautiful and how precious is this golden crown we have placed on your head, and the one we have given to Jesus also, your blessed Son! With this you are adorned like Aaron in the splendour of his most sacred priestly vestments. Your crown is a token of supreme holiness, the honourable symbol of superhuman beauty, an ornament of honour (Ecclesiasticus 45:14), an expression of power, of power to intercede for us with Jesus your Son, for those graces which we implore with prayers and hymns."

With these resounding words in mind, we can pray once more the ancient antiphon:

"Ave Regina caelorum! Ave Domina angelorum! Salve Radix, salve porta ex qua mundo lux est orta. Gaude Virgo gloriosa, super omnes speciosa. Vale, O valde decora! Et pro nobis Christum exora."
'Welcome, O Queen of Heaven. Welcome, O Lady of Angels. Hail! thou root, hail! thou gate from whom unto the world, a light has arisen: Rejoice, O glorious Virgin, lovely beyond all others. Farewell, most beautiful maiden! And pray for us to Christ.'

The photo above is of the Virgin of Manaoag, a revered statue of Our Lady in the Philippines, holding the Child Jesus. She is depicted crowned with golden stars and robed as a Spanish queen, and holding a royal sceptre. Such images of our Lady crowned and in royal robes are very popular in the Philippines.


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