Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Queenship of Mary - The Church - The Ongoing Engendering of the "Alter Christus"

The key text for today is Apoc. 12, 1- 6: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And being child, she cried out in her travail and was in the anguish of delivery. And another sign was heaven, and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and upon seen in his heads seven diadems. And his tail was dragging along the third part of the stars of heaven. And it dashed them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, that when she had brought forth he might devour her son. And she brought forth a male child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her a thousand two hundred and sixty days.”

St. Pius X, whose feast was yesterday, commented:

“Everyone knows that the great woman of Revelation represents the Virgin Mary, who without blemish give birth to our Head. But the Apostle continues: `Being with child, she cried travailing in birth and was in pain to be delivered.’ John therefore saw the holy Mother of God, who indeed already possessed eternal beatitude, nevertheless in pain at a mysterious birth. What birth was this? It was indeed our own birth, for we are still in exile and in a state of being born for the perfect love of God and for everlasting happiness. And the woman’s pain also symbolizes the Virgin’s love, because of which she labours with unceasing prayer from her place in heaven, to fill up the number of the elect.” [1]

Our Lady is the Church:

Hugo Rahner, S.J. commented: “Thus we can begin to penetrate the impenetrable mystery of the Church that is at once glorious and suffering, through understanding the position of Mary. The Church here is still surrounded by dangers from Satan, and these dangers we have often seen with our own eyes. Yet she is already glorified, and every day her members enter the glory of Christ and His mother. And in her life on earth she is daily fulfilling the mystery of the Incarnation, since Christ our Lord was at one and the same time walking the earth and in possession of the vision of God.”[2]

“The Queen Mother” as Old Testament “Type:”
(Edward Sri: "Queem Mother, A Biblical Theology of Mary's Queenship")

Summary Conclusions: “We have examined how the gehirah tradition lends biblical support to the doctrine of Mary’s Queenship which has emerged over the centuries.
While our goal has not been to prove the Queenship as a truth revealed explicitly in Scripture, we have demonstrated how the queen-mother theme can shed important biblical light on why the mother of Jesus might be considered a queen in God’s kingdom…. In the Davidic kingdom, it was the king’s mother who ruled as queen, not the king’s wife. She held an official position in the royal court, serving as an advocate for the people and as an influential counsellor to the king. She also shared in the king’s rule over the kingdom and, in fact, was one of the most powerful persons int he kingdom under her royal son…."[3]

Queen Mother: An Official Position in the Royal Court:

"Just like her Near Eastern neighbors, Israel bestowed great honor upon the mother of the ruling king. Roland De Vaux notes how the queen mother was given a special preeminence over all the women in the kingdom of Judah, even the king's wife. He highlights the fact that although one particular woman from the royal harem usually held the king's preference, `the king's favor was not enough to give this wife official title and rank.' This is seen in the fact that throughout the entire Old Testament, the word queen (feminine form of melek, or `king') is used only once in association with Israel, and even there it is used primarily petically. On the other hand, the prestigious title gebirah was used often in the Old Testament to odescribe the mother of the king. Meaning `mistress,' `great lady,' or `queen,' gebirah is the feminine form of gebhir (`lord' or `master'). De Vaux notes how the term corresponds to adon (Lord), the feminine of which is not used in Hebrew. In the Old Testament, gebirah is often used as a title for the mother of the king, but it is never used to describe the wife of an Israelite king.

"By examining various Old Testament passages involving the mother of the Davidic kind, we can see that the queen mother held an official position in the royal court of Judeah. Her power in the kingdom was not based simply on a mother's influence over a son; the queen mother actually `held a significant official political position superseded only by that of the king himself."

The Queen Mother's Influence in the Kingdom

"How much influence did the queen mother wield in the kingdom?" Sri develops three sections: Royal Authority; Advocate; and Counselor. He concludes: "In sum, we have seen how the queen mother held an important office in the kingdom due to her unique relationship with the king and her role in dynastic succession. This position seems to have been second only to the king himself in the royal court. In her office, the queen mother served as an intercessor for the people and a counselor to her royal son. All this serves as background for understanding two key Old Testament texts that took on messianic significance, and that involve a royal mother figure and her son" (53).

Sri concludes his chapter on the Old Testament queen-mother as "type" of Mary as queen: "With all this background in mind, we are now prepared to examine how Mary, the mother of the Davidic King par excellence int he New Testament, can be understood in light of this queen-mother tradition of the Old Testament" (66)

[1] Hugo Rahner, S.J., “Our Lady and the Church,” Zacchaeus Press (2004) 130.
[2] Ibid. 131
[3] Edward Sri,, “Queen Mother, A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship,” Emmaus Road, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, (2005) 105.

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