Crowning Mary with a garland of flowers while singing songs and celebrating a special Mass was a favorite tradition in my Catholic school.
It’s from this simple act repeated every year for 12 years that made Mary queen of my heart. Mary’s queenship is a direct result of the doctrine of her Assumption, naturally flowing to when she was crowned Queen of Heaven.
The old saying, “more is caught than taught,” was the motto of the nuns. They didn’t assign encyclicals about Mary or long theology books. Instead, they celebrated May Crowning. Queens are the only women who wear crowns and Mary’s crown was always beautiful, made of flowers with small pearls intertwined. We witnessed Mary being honored as queen and learned the virtues of this Queen of Heaven from the nuns who tried to imitate those same virtues of patience, love, and a deep reverence of the Eucharist. The nuns never said we must love her. They showed us they loved her. They never told us Mary was the Queen of Heaven, that I can remember, but the songs at Mass and the May Crowing communicated that to us.
We crown Mary in the month of May, but we celebrate her queenship in August. Mary gets a lot of feast days and the ones leading to today’s feast paves the way to make her queen of our hearts. This Marian feast day helps us understand her Assumption better. It helps us understand why the Church said she was crowned Queen of Heaven after her death. It shows us why millions throughout the centuries have prayed for her intercession. We can’t go wrong asking a queen to intercede with a King she knows so well. Shrine after shrine across the world has been erected to her because of answered prayers and deep devotion to this heavenly queen.
Mary began her queenship in a little house. She didn’t live in a palace, have any money, or any subjects to command when the Angel Gabriel came to her. Gabriel, who beheld the face of God, knelt to this Virgin in homage. He told Mary that she would be a queen because the baby that was to be born of her would sit on the throne of David. In Jewish terms, the woman who sat on the throne beside a king was always his mother.
The Holy Spirit came over Mary that day and made her the greatest queen who ever lived. Her first act as queen was one of solicitude and service to another. Gabriel said Elizabeth was with child and Mary set out. Mary was insignificant in the eyes of the world but her soul magnified God’s in such a way as no other queen ever could.
Mary’s queenship makes Jesus King of our hearts. St. Louis de Montfort said we cannot love Mary too much and that our love for her never takes away from Jesus. A true devotion to Mary means a true to devotion to Jesus. She points to Him, by her pregnancy, giving birth to Him, and standing with Him at the foot of the cross. She asks us to accompany her on every step she took with Christ, so that we can become His disciples. We cry to her and she listens. She sets out with us to wherever we must go to meet her Son through the circumstances of our lives. She walks with us and shows us the one true way to get where we are going and what we need to sustain us through all the trials of this life: the path of Christ. Let us hail this holy queen who is our life, our sweetness, and our hope.