IS THERE A QUEEN IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

REFLECTION FOR THE DAY (22-08-16):

IS THERE A QUEEN IN THE KINGDOM
OF HEAVEN
?

Holy
Mother Church celebrates today, the feast of the “Queenship of the Blessed
Virgin Mary”. This doctrine has equally faced oppositions alongside the
Assumption of Mary (which I explained last week) by many non-Catholics who misunderstand
it. Many tend to condemn the Catholic Church and charge us for “pagan worship”
averring to the claim that the title “Queen of Heaven comes
from an old pagan idolatrous cult condemned in the Bible (cf. Jer. 7:18). Dear
friends, this is ABSOLUTELY WRONG and has no connection with honouring the Blessed
Virgin Mary as the Queen of heaven. The aim of this post is to refute this
erroneous claim, and illustrate concrete scriptural explanations on the
understanding of the term “Queen of Heaven” as it applies to the Blessed Virgin
Mary.
By
referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Queen of Heaven, what do we mean? Does
this belief have anything to do with the pagan worship condemned by Jeremiah?
NO, ABSOLUTELY NO. This has nothing to do with that passage of the scripture.
Let me briefly explain that context. In that passage, the prophet Jeremiah
talks about alien gods and condemns its worship. He says: “The children collect
the wood, the fathers light the fire, the women knead the dough, to make cakes
for the Queen of heaven, and to spite me, they pour libations to alien gods…” (The
New Jerusalem Bible; Jer. 7:18). This contextual “queen of heaven” is referred
to Ishtar (Astarte), goddess of fertility in the Mesopotamian pantheon; she was
identified with the planet Venus. The Hebrew word “shamayim”
(םיִשָׁמַ֫) is translated to mean “sky”or “heaven” in English. Many a times, when the Jews want to
refer to the sky, they equally use the same word “shamayim”;
although we know that sky and heaven are related, but don’t really mean the
same thing. For instance, in some of our African Traditional worship, some deities
are represented as “goddess of the sky”, “goddess of rain”, “goddess of the sea”
etc. This was just the similar issue Jeremiah condemned in his time; thus, this
has nothing to do with the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen-mother of Jesus
Christ, King of kings who reigns on earth and in the Kingdom of heaven.
Therefore,
Jeremiah here condemns the adoration of the Mesopotamian goddess Astarte; she
is in no way related to Mary. In fact, the goddess did not and does not exist
in reality. Mary, on the other hand, was a real historical person who was—and
is—a queen by virtue of the fact that her son was—and is—the King. Many of the
Protestants believe that the mere fact of Jeremiah condemning the pagan worship
of Ishtar (Astarte), goddess of fertility which was referred to
as the queen of the sky, eliminates the possibility of Mary being
the true Queen of Heaven. This simply does not follow. The existence of a
counterfeit queen does not mean there can’t be an authentic one. This
reasoning followed to its logical end would lead to abandoning the entire
Christian Faith! Does it mean we could not call Jesus “Son of God” because
Zeus (the pagan god) and Hera had Apollo as a son? Does it mean we could not
have a Bible because Hinduism, Islam, and many other religions have their “holy
books?” The fact that there was a false “queen of heaven/sky” worshipped
in ancient Mesopotamia does not negate the reality of the true queen who
is honored as such in the kingdom of God.
As
per offering sacrifices to the “queen of heaven” which Jeremiah later condemns
in chapter 44:17-25. The Catholic Church does not teach “offering of sacrifices”
to any other being apart from God, not even to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Offering sacrifice is tantamount to the adoration that is due God alone. And
this is precisely what Jeremiah was condemning. The Catholic Church does not
teach—and has never taught—that we should adore Mary (see CCC 2110-2114; Lumen
Gentium
66-67; CCC 971). Catholics offer sacrificial worship exclusively to
God, and this is known as the Holy Mass (the true Sacrifice of the body and
blood of Christ, which He commanded us to do in memory of Him. Lk. 22:19, 1Cor.
11:23-27 – St. Paul adds, whenever we do this, we are proclaiming the Lord’s
death {sacrifice} until he comes again).
Having said all these, it is pertinent to understand the
Catholic representation of the Blessed Mary as the Queen of Heaven. When we
refer to Mary as the Queen of Heaven what do we mean? Does her title “Queen of
heaven” diminish the “Kingship” authority of Jesus Christ? ABSOLUTELY NO. The Queen has absolutely
no authority whatsoever,
 except the quiet whisper in the king’s
ear to influence a decision. This we see in her maternal role at the wedding
feast at Cana. In the end, Mary asked them to do whatever Jesus tells them; and
Jesus had to obey his mother even as he said that “his hour had not yet come”.
That is a simple and humble role of the Queen, subjecting to the will of the
King. (Jn 2:1-12).
Similarly,
in the Old Testament monarchy, the Queen of the Davidic Kingdom was the Queen
Mother. The Kings, for reasons of state and human weakness, had many wives,
none of whom fittingly could be called Queen. That honor was reserved for the
mother of the King, whose authority far surpassed the many women married to the
king. We see this is the role Bathsheba played with respect to King Solomon and
the occasions when the Queen Mother acted as regent on behalf of juvenile
successors to the throne. The role of the Queen Mother, therefore, is a
prophetic type of the Kingdom role of Mary, just as the role of the Davidic
King is a prophetic type of the Kingdom role of Jesus. Jesus inherited the Kingdom
promised to David, who was told that one of his descendants would rule forever.
The angel Gabriel revealed this fact to Mary at her Annunciation: “Behold, you
will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He
will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will
give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of
Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33).

Aside from the
prophetic types present in the Kingdom of Judah, The Psalmist, when speaking
about the Kingdom of God, also speaks of the Queen: “Your throne, O God,
shall endure forever. A scepter of justice is the scepter of your kingdom. Your
love is for justice; your hatred for evil…From the ivory palace you are greeted
with music, the daughters of kings are among your loved ones. On your right
stands the QUEEN in gold of Ophir” (garments of gold). (Ps. 45)

Above
all, Revelation chapter 12 says: “A
great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon
under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was
crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then the dragon stood
before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her
child as soon as it was born.  And she
gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with an iron
rod, and the Child was taken up to God and his throne…”
Dearest
friends, this
passage is talking about the woman that gave birth to the Saviour. She has a
Crown. The passage also clearly shows Mary as an active participant in the war
against the devil. The Passage presents Jesus on his rightful throne. Psalm 2:9 says “with an iron rod you shall shepherd them”. In the New
Testament, the passage that introduces Mary as the Queen with 12 stars for a
crown (Rev 12:1) describes her as “the woman” who brings forth a male
child who will rule the nations with an iron rod.
 Therefore, we believe Jesus chose Mary
to be the Queen Mother in his Kingdom. Besides, all the faithful will be given “crowns”
(1 Pt 5:4, Rev 2:10, 2 TIm 2:11-12, 2 Tim 4:7-8) How much more would Mary, his
mother, receive the crown as Queen?
Therefore,
on this day we pray that our Blessed Mother, the Queen of Heaven would continue
to exercise her Queenship role by interceding for us to Christ her Son, just as
she did at the wedding feast at Cana, and by honouring her as the Queen of
heaven, we may come to a perfect and intimate friendship with Christ her Son.
Amen.
Mary,
Queen of Heaven, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Shalom!

Leave a Reply