MARY, OUR MOTHER

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mary, Queen of Apostles:

Written by Rosalie Marie Levy   

The following article, "Mary, Queen of  Apostles," is the title chapter excerpted from the book of the same name written by Rosalie Marie Levy. Here also is the preface from that book. -  Asst. Ed.

Preface

After God, the Blessed Virgin Mary occupies first place in the universe. In Heaven she is Queen of angels, archan gels, and all the other glorious hierarchies. On earth she is Queen of patriarchs and prophets, Queen of apostles and martyrs, Queen of confessors and virgins, Queen of all saints. The Church of Christ has always proclaimed her praises. After the devotion to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there is none more dear to truly Christian hearts than that to His Mother.

The central devotion to Mary is the Divine Maternity, which is the source of her ineffable dignity and fullness of grace. The privileges of her Immaculate Conception, her freedom from all sin, her perpetual virginity, her assump tion into Heaven, her special mediatorship between the Re deemer and the redeemed, and her exclusive right to an exaltation of honor and love above that which may be of fered to anyone other than her Son, arise in that maternity, because of the Divinity of her Son, Jesus Christ.

We must always remember that devotion to the Mother of God was publicly proclaimed byJesus Himself when, nailed to the Cross, He pronounced the words: "Son, be hold thy Mother; Mother, behold thy Son". It is a bequest of His will and testament; one which He consecrated with His Blood.

Just as Mary stood at the foot of the Cross on the day our redemption was wrought, so has she continued to stand by the Church which Jesus established. Just as she prayed those ten days with the Apostles and was with them when they received the Holy Ghost, so has she always prayed with the Church. And through the centuries Mary has been regarded as the Queen of Apostles, the Help of Christians, the Tower of David.

Since Jesus came to us through Mary, she cannot be dissociated from Him; she cannot be ignored by those who profess to follow Christ. Therefore, Catholics venerate and honor the Blessed Virgin Mary because the Creator of all mankind honored and blessed her by choosing her to be the Mother of mankind's Savior.

Prior to the so-called "Reformation" in the sixteenth century all Christians honored Mary. Since that time it has been charged that Catholics adore the Mother of Christ as they adore God; that they insult the Son by honoring His Mother. We honor Mary because she was honored by Him. We do not adore Mary, because adoration is due to God a-lone, but we do honor her. We cannot honor her too much, since she is the one whom God honored and blessed above all other creatures. However, let us keep the language of the early Church: "Let her be honored and esteemed; let Him be worshipped and adored".

No mortal is able to portray, worthily and accurately the virtues of the Virgin Mary. Her majesty is too glorious; her virtues too grand.

Therefore, humbly prostrate at your feet, dear Mother, we acknowledge the inability of our intellect, and our incapacity to appreciate your greatness and your sanctity. We implore your motherly assistance in the stupendous task undertaken.

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Mary was not only the Mother, the inspiration, the consoler, the help of the first Apostles; she was their Queen. For thirty years she had lived with Jesus, and like a clear crystal she was filled with His light and holiness. Her very presence and example edified all who had the happiness to approach her. No one could converse with her or gaze upon her without feeling near to God. As she was helpful in the life of the Savior, so was she helpful in that of the Apostles during the public life of Christ and after His Ascension. She encouraged them in their efforts to spread the truths Jesus had taught and commanded them to preach in order to win souls for Him and His Kingdom.

Whilst the Apostles preached Jesus, the Light of the World, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, it was Mary who brought Him forth. She is His Mother. But for Mary there would be no Gospel for the Apostles to preach; but for Mary there would be no Christ, Who sent the Apostles; but for Mary the world would never have seen any Apostle nor heard the words of salvation. How much greater then is Mary than the Apostles! The Apostles labored for the conversion of nations by word and deed; Mary encour aged them in their work and assisted them by her prayers, which obtained for them God's blessings. Yet, Mary was more important than the Apostles; she never intruded between them and her Divine Son. She was a gentle, humble Queen. In the same manner, as during Christ's earthly life, she remained with the Apostles, always present, yet in the background.

It is the opinion of the most renowned Fathers of the Church that Mary is ever zealous to enkindle the light of faith in the hearts of all who sit "in darkness and in the shadow of death", and to save their souls from perdition. St. Augustine and St. Ambrose praise Mary as the teacher of nations; St. Cyril says that through her the Gentiles were rescued from idolatry, and the Church herself ex claims: "Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, who alone hast destroy ed all heresies throughout the world". Many countries, such as Poland, Hungary, France, and the United States, owe the gift of Faith especially to the Blessed Virgin, and she is venerated as their Patroness. Thus Mary is the Queen of Apostles on account of her Apostolic zeal.

Mary is also Queen of Apostles because, beginning with the Apostles themselves, all apostolic men have loved and honored her as their Queen. After the Ascension of Jesus Mary became Queen of the Apostles, their "stay and their prop". She encouraged them in their Apostolic labors, and comforted them in their persecutions and sufferings.

St. Jerome writes: "Mary remained for a time on earth after the Ascension of her Son, with the Apostles, that she might instruct them more fully, since she had seen and handled things more familiarly, and was therefore better able to express them. For things that we better know we better utter". Yes, truly could Mary relate the facts of the early life of Jesus and say: "I have seen Gabriel, who call ed Him Lord, and the aged Simeon, who held Him in his arms. I have seen the Magi when they bowed down, and I know how troubled Herod was that the King had come". St. Eusebius adds, that "Mary being most wise preserved in her heart all the words of Jesus Christ, and kept them for us, and caused them to be registered, in order that according to her instruction their recital and dictation should be published and preached throughout the world and given us to read".

Mary's help, however, was not confined to words. According to St. Ignatius of Antioch she led a life of very active charity. St. Ambrose says: "In the one Virgin how many glorious examples do shine forth! Hers was the hid den treasure of modesty, hers the high standard of faith, hers the self-sacrifice of earnestness... her toil unceasing".

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