History’s Queen: Mike Aquilina does it again!
In a fascinating, inspiring and entertaining new book, Mike Aquilina has hit the target once again with a look at the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout history. The title is History’s Queen: Exploring Mary’s Pivotal Role from Age to Age. Mike’s treatment of his subject is light and even breezy at times, but that just means this spiritually deep book is meant to be read, not stored on a book shelf.
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In eleven concise chapters, Aquilina (who is in many ways a Catholic polymath) particularizes his theme that Mary is the mother of all humanity, insofar as she is an active presence in history striving to win all men and women to her Divine Son, to become her adopted children. After exploring Mary’s role in God’s plan as recorded in Scripture, the author touches on the interplay between faith and Marian intervention at key moments of the Christian era. He explores her position in the writings of the Fathers of the Church; her protection of the Byzantine Empire; and her strong presence in the Celtic infusion of Catholicism during the Dark Ages.
Continuing into later centuries, Mike describes Mary’s role in the art, architecture and apparitions which did so much to strengthen the Faith during the age of Islamic assault on the West; her presence and consolation during the Black Death; her protection of Europe through the Rosary at Lepanto and her launching of massive conversions in the Americas; the initiatives and apparitions by which she strove to heal France after its Godless Revolution; and her miracles and prophecies at Fatima—so clearly designed to reawaken our faith and sustain us through what we are pleased to call modernity.
Throughout the text, Aquilina draws inspiring and fascinating spiritual connections from one age to the next. One of the most intriguing of these, certainly, is his account of an image of the Virgin Mary attributed to St. Luke, which was saved from the invading Moors through burial in the Spanish wilderness, only to be rediscovered hundreds of years later in a field along Spain’s Guadalupe River, thereby creating a link to the astonishing apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego in Mexico. Indeed, many things that Mike describes in History’s Queen are of the “truth is stranger than fiction” variety. Like the Gospel itself, such occurrences cry out to be ascribed to the supernatural for the simple reason that human beings could never have made them up.
It is precisely the breathtaking character of Mary’s involvement in our history which makes History’s Queen such a delightfully deep account of one of the great truths of human life: That Mary really is the daughter of the Father, the mother of the Son, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit—and, therefore, the Mother of the Church and our spiritual mother as well. Her maternal love overflows on every page, as it has overflowed in every century. That is why anyone, from those possessed of a childlike simplicity to the most esteemed scholars, can take up this book and enjoy it.
But few, I think, will fail to keep it at hand until they have read the very last page.
Note: Mike discusses this book, along with many other musical and literary activities, in his interview with Thomas V. Mirus on the Catholic Culture Podcast: Episode 89: Mary and the Blues.
Purchase: Mike Aquilina, History’s Queen: Exploring Mary’s Pivotal Role from Age to Age, Ave Maria Press 2020. 190pp. Paper $16.95.
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