Saturday, May 5, 2012

Devotion for today: crown her as queen of heaven and earth

Why do Catholics have May Crowning?

The queen symbol was attributed to Mary because she is a perfect follower of Christ, who is the absolute 'crown' of creation. As the Order of Crowning states:

She is the Mother of the Son of God, who is the messianic King. Mary is the Mother of Christ, the Word incarnate. ... "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." [Luke 1:32-33] ... Elizabeth greeted the Blessed Virgin, pregnant with Jesus, as "the Mother of my Lord." [Luke 1:41-43] She is the perfect follower of Christ. The maid of Nazareth consented to God's plan; she journeyed on the pilgrimage of faith; she listened to God's word and kept it in her heart; she remained steadfastly in close union with her Son, all the way to the foot of the cross; she persevered in prayer with the Church. Thus in an eminent way she won the "crown of righteousness," [See 2 Timothy 4:8] the "crown of life," [See James 1:12; Revelation 2:10] the "crown of glory" [See 1 Peter 5:4] that is promised to those who follow Christ. In the United States, a custom developed that grew in popularity prior to the Vatican II council. In parishes, at Marian shrines, and at grottos, someone was chosen to place a wreath of flowers on Mary's image. This ceremony usually took place in May and often in the context of a Benediction, a special Rosary celebration, and sometimes at the closing of Mass. The practice continues in many parishes throughout the United States. Many parishes have found innovative ways to express their reverence for the dignity of Mary, the Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin (detail), by Van Eyck

Catholics honor Mary at home, too, crowning the true "May Queen's" statue with flowers at their family altars, and leaving roses (especially red and/or white) at her feet, for the entire month of May. If you don't have a statue of Our Lady, you can place flowers around a picture of her.  

And here is a beautiful astronomical coincidence for this time of year. If you go outside early in May, face east, and look directly up overhead, you will see a relatively faint "L" in the sky (assuming the sky is clear enough). This is the constellation Coma Berenices, a constellation, whether mythically or not, that was named after a Queen (actually, a Queen's hair, but that's another story). Anyway, the second brightest star in this constellation is called "Diadem" -- crown of royalty. So take your children outside, point out the star Diadem to them, and think of Our Lady, crowned in Heaven -- our Queen Mother who wants nothing more than for us to love her Son...

Regina Caeli
From 1743, this twelfth-century antiphon has replaced the Angelus in the Easter Season.

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
The Son you merited to bear, alleluia,
has risen as He said, alleluia.
Pray to God for us, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
God of life, you have given joy to the world by the resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through the prayers of His mother, the Virgin Mary, bring us to the happiness of eternal life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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