August is the month we dedicate to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned Queen of heaven and earth. The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 and the Queenship of Mary, memorial, on August 22. The dogma of the Assumption was declared in 1950 and emphasizes that our belief that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven without suffering death's bodily corruption, has been a part of the deposit of faith since the time of the apostles. As Catholics, we are bound to believe those teachings that are proclaimed dogma. Mary died, but her death was gentle and sweet and she was immediately caught up to be welcomed into her true home in heaven. There she never tires of tending to the needs and welfare of each of us, her subjects.
St. Alphonsus Liguori, whose feast we celebrate on the first day of August, is author of a rich and beautiful classic book called The Glories of Mary. This is a must read if one wants to learn of the basis of devotion to Mary. Drawing from quotes of the Church Fathers and Doctors, St. Alphonsus explains why one must have a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother, and how to develop that devotion. While we in this modern era no longer understand the language of royalty, Liguori explains how we can view Mary as a most merciful Queen, who can be counted on in every instance to bestow the graces of mercy and kindness given to her. As Jesus, Whose dazzling Transfiguration is celebrated on August 6, is King of Kings, it follows that His Mother is bestowed with the title and the prerogatives of Queen of angels and of men.
One modern saint, Maximilian Kolbe, was devoted to the Queenship of Mary. Best known for his offer to give his life in exchange for the condemned life of a fellow inmate at Auschwitz, St. Maximilian Kolbe was only able to make that offer because of his life of devotion to his "Warrior Queen." As a Franciscan Friar, he founded the "Militia Immaculatae" about the same time as Our Lady was appearing in Fatima. The members were to live a total consecration to Our Lady. Later, he began a publication called The Knight of the Immaculata. St. Maximilian explained that it would be only through the Immaculate Virgin that evil would be thwarted. He said, "Modern times are dominated by Satan and will be more so in the future. The conflict with Hell cannot be engaged by men, even the most clever. The Immaculata alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan." Through his work to spread devotion to the Blessed Mother, Maximilian sought to save souls. His work flourished, spread across the world and even to the Far East, where he established his Militia Immaculatae in Japan.
St. Maximilian Kolbe was granted visions of Our Lady. She presented to him a choice of two crowns when he was a child: the white crown of purity, or the red crown of martyrdom. The boy chose both. Shortly before the Nazi scourge descended upon them, Maximilian shared with his Brothers that he had been promised Heaven. The "Apostle of Consecration to Mary" died a martyr for love, on the vigil of the Assumption of Mary. We celebrate this great saint's feast on August 14. It is fitting that a novena beginning on the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe concludes on the memorial of the Queenship of Mary. (Find more information on St. Maximilian Kolbe and his Militia Immaculatae at http://www.consecration.com/default.aspx?id=8)
To Jesus, through Mary!
July 17, 2014