by guest contributor, Postulant Orianne
Depending on my mood on a given day, the word “Queen” might inspire loyal admiration at the thought of the valor, benevolence, and compassionate charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, or it might bring on a frown at the thought of a callous tyrant (there were many such historical queens). But I had to start rethinking about the word Queen when I discovered our Founder’s devotion to Mary as “Queen of the Apostles.” Her queenship surpasses even the best connotation that may have sprung to my mind in the past.
Blessed James Alberione often referred to Mary as “Mother, Teacher, and Queen,” but passed on to his Pauline Family the title “Queen of Apostles” very intentionally. In his own words:
“Mary was an example to the Apostles… Mary was the counselor and light of the Apostles… Mary was the confidante of the Apostles.” –Bl. James Alberione
So—the Royal Family Twitter account notwithstanding—what do queens have to do with social communication? And why “Queen of Apostles”?
Apostle First, Fully, Forever
“Mary is the one chosen by God to give Jesus Christ to the world… In a certain measure, we too participate in her apostolate.” – Bl. James Alberione
What is an apostle, anyway? Father Alberione is sometimes referring to the original twelve Apostles, but usually he is also referring to anyone who participates in the mission of spreading the Gospel of Christ. Since all Christians are called to share in the mission of Christ, we are all “apostles” of Christ’s truth and love to the world, through our specific vocation.
Someone who is called an “apostle” is someone who has been sent. Mary was the very first apostle of Jesus Christ. She was the first person to be sent into the world to share Jesus with others. The entire mission of her life was “to give Jesus Christ… she brought Jesus to the world in general and to each soul in particular.” (Alberione)
She did it first.
As a postulant with the Daughters of St. Paul, my greatest desire is for Christ to live in me, and to give Christ to others. Who could be a better model of this than Mary? As the first apostle, she brought her Son to so many – she shared him with Joseph and Elizabeth and John the Baptist; she presented him to the shepherds and the Magi at the Nativity; she brought him to foreign lands and back home again; she shared all about him with the disciples; she gave him to each and every one of us… and she gave him to the Father, in the Temple, at the foot of the Cross, and each and every day of his life. Mary gave Jesus fully, as she lived for him fully.
She did it fully.
And after Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, Mary continued to give Jesus to the Apostles and disciples: she gathered them together and prayed with them; she told them stories about him and provided for them, nurtured them, encouraged and counseled them. And just as she guided the first Apostles—even by her example, prayers, and love—so she does for us. She never stopped being the apostle she was created to be. She still presents Jesus to the world. She still guides the apostles that her Son sends today: protecting, loving, looking out for all of us—and for me, too.
She did it first. She did it fully. She does it forever.
That’s why we call Mary Queen of the Apostles. That’s why we seek to have a heart like hers.
I’d like to close with a couple of excerpts of one of our Founder’s beautiful prayers to Mary. (Note that the term “apostolate” refers to the work of an apostle: proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world.)
Consecration to the Apostolate
by Blessed James Alberione (excerpts only)
Hail Mary, Mother, Teacher and Queen of every apostolate.
In heaven you are enthroned
as the Queen of angels and patriarchs, of apostles and martyrs, of confessors and virgins.
You look down upon the earth, upon the just and the erring,
ever concerned about the salvation of all.
You remember that Jesus, when dying on the cross,
assigned you as our Mother,
and inflamed your heart with universal love and care.
Therefore, continue to inspire, comfort and form holy vocations in every apostolate
for the kingdom of your divine Son.
And we, called to the holy apostolate of… [insert here the particular aspect of the mission of the Church that you take part in.
The original prayer has: "of the media of social communication"],
today dedicate to you all our undertakings and the fatigue of daily work.
Above all, we consecrate to you
ourselves, our strength, our intelligence, our will, our heart;
we are all yours, and all that we possess we offer to Jesus through you, dear Mother.
Obtain for us an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
as you did for the first apostles.
Enlighten our mind to understand our sublime vocation;
fortify our will; inflame our heart….
Grant that we may listen to, follow, and love Jesus Christ the Divine Master!