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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Queenship of Mary

“'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?' He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Mt 22:36-40

St Bernard of Clairvaux invites his readers to think of Mary as a Queen in a very different way. Because Mary has no secular power or even an honorary position in her society, she must be a queen of a different kind. Bernard suggests that the crown Mary wears is made up of the virtues she embodies: compassion, understanding, kindness and moral strength. Mary does the right thing for the right reason.

Afraid at first of the call from God to be the mother of his son, after the angel assures her of God's enduring support, Mary puts her fear aside and becomes Jesus' first disciple. She follows him and urges others to do so, not so much in word, but in deed. If Jesus must endure suffering, so will she. Refusing to abandon him, she accompanies Jesus on the way to Calvary and is with him as he dies.

Ignoring the taunts of those who urge him to prove his royal lineage and come down from the cross, Mary stands with her son in compassion and solidarity. The call of Jesus to love God with our whole heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves becomes her mantra, her simple path to life and hope. Mary is Queen of heaven and earth because her example empowers all to love God as Jesus did.

Today, be an example of compassion by caring for someone to whom you have no responsibility.

Who has shown you the virtue of compassion without words?

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