A week ago today, we celebrated the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother into heaven. Today, on the “octave day” of the Assumption as it is called in church computation, we celebrate the logical sequence of that feast: the Queenship of Mary.
We Dominicans have for centuries had a special relationship with the Rosary; we even wear the Rosary of Our Lady on our belts as part of our religious habit. For most of those centuries there have been three sets of mysteries that we meditated on while reciting the Rosary. They were the joyful, the sorrowful, and the glorious mysteries. Our holy father Pope John Paul II gave us another set of mysteries to contemplate as we pray the Rosary. He called them the luminous mysteries.
In any case, the Rosary celebrates the great drama of the incarnation and the redemption: the fact that God became man, and that as man, he suffered and died in atonement for our sins and thus reopened the gates of heaven to humankind. The Rosary is oriented toward Heaven, as all things in our holy religion are, and so the last two mysteries celebrate the fact that after Our Lord’s sufferings, death, and resurrection, he ascended into heaven “to prepare a place for us” as he told us before his ascension. Then, in God’s good time, Our Lady ended her life on this earth, and was taken into heaven. The devotion of the faithful has always tried to imagine the joy, the festivity, the celebration of Mary’s arrival in heaven, and her reception there by her eternal Father, her divine Son, and the Holy Spirit. Many artists have painted pictures or carved images of the moment when Our Lady was welcomed into heaven as its queen, because she is the Mother of its King. And we are deeply devoted to her as our Queen: “Hail, Holy Queen . . . O Queen of Heaven, rejoice . . . etc.”
So today we come to the last of the mysteries of the Rosary, and it reminds us that as Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us, so has his immaculate mother gone there where she makes intercession for us: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Pray for us now. And above all, pray for us at the hour of our death. Open to us the gates of salvation, the gates of eternal joy. We wish to dwell eternally in the kingdom of Jesus your Son, with you presiding graciously over that kingdom as its Queen and the greatest of all its saints. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.