The Father William Most Collection
Kingship of Christ, Queenship of Mary in Scripture
[Published electronically for use in classes taught by Fr. Most and for private theological study.]
Far back in the dim mists of ancient times, so far back, that we are not even certain of the century, in the strange land of Egypt, which thought gods had human bodies but animal heads, there lay dying the last of the great three Patriarchs, Jacob. His son, sold into slavery by his brothers for 20 pieces of silver, had by divine inspiration risen to be Vizier, second in power in all the land. The great Pharaoh - whose name we know not - had invited him to bring his father and his kinsmen to Egypt, and that he did. But now Jacob was dying.
God made use of the state of a soul now close to departing this world: Jacob was enabled to make a great prophecy (Genesis 49:10): "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and his shall be the obedience of the peoples." Many modern Catholic scholars, beset by an inexplicable blindness, profess to be unable to see the meaning of this text clearly, although one of the greatest Jewish scholars of our time, Jacob Neusner wrote (Messiah in Context, "It is difficult to imagine how Gen 49. 10 could have been read as other than a messianic prediction." Neusner is obviously right. His view is the same as that of the ancient Jewish Targums, Aramaic versions of the Old Testament, are mostly free, and with fill-ins showing how the Jews understood these words centuries ago. The Targums probably go back before the time of Christ. Thus the Targum Neofiti, discovered in our own times in the Vatican Library, said: "Kings shall not be lacking from the house of Judah, until the time at which King Messiah will come." Even Targum Onkelos, otherwise rather sparing in seeing messianic implications, agrees. Another prominent Jewish scholar, Samson Levey (in: The Messiah: An Aramaic Interpretation, p. 8) wrote: "Other rabbinic sources, both Midrashic and Talmudic, also take this passage as Messianic."
These Jews turned out to be absolutely right. There was always some sort of ruler from the tribe of Judah until the Romans imposed on the Jews the half Arab, half Idumean Herod first as Tetrarch in 41 B.C., then as King in 37 B.C. So Jacob had spoken truly. Had the Jews not been so unfaithful to God so many times, they might have had a glorious line of Davidic kings up to that point. But at least they did have some sort of ruler from Judah, albeit under foreign overlordship, all along. As a matter of fact, there was intense messianic expectation at the time of Christ, in which this prophecy no doubt played a large part.
Centuries more passed - again, we know not how many. A new Pharaoh had come to the throne of the Two Lands "who knew not Joseph" and all he had done for the land of Egypt. This king oppressed the Israelites, until finally by many dramatic miracles, God rescued them in the Exodus, whose date is still in the mists, perhaps in the 13th or the 15th century before Christ.
After many years of infidelity in the desert, the Israelites were close to the point of entering the Promised Land. They had defeated the Amorites by God's power. So Balak, king of Moab, in fear of them, sent messengers to a seer named Balaam, asking him to come and curse the Israelites. God however spoke to Balaam, and told him to bless them instead. Balak sent messengers the second time, and God permitted Balaam to go with them, but not to curse them. Balaam went, but God put an angel in his path. Balaam did not see the angel, but his ass did. Balaam then beat the ass three times, and God caused the ass to speak, and afterwards let Balaam see the angel. After more exchanges between the Lord and Balaam, Balaam blessed the Israelites, and in doing so said (Numbers 24:7) that their king would be higher than Agag, and his kingdom would be exalted. And Balaam added in vv. 15-17: "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nearby. A star shall come out from Jacob, and a scepter will come up out of Israel. It will crush the forehead of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth." Even the Targum Onkelos, which as we said is quite sparing in seeing Messianic implications in the OT prophecies, saw that this meant the Messiah: "A king shall come from Jacob, and will be anointed the Messiah of Israel."
Still more centuries passed, until the time of the great prophet Isaiah, who spoke in the last part of the 8th century before Christ. In 9:5-6 he speaks clearly of the coming King: "A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and the government will be on his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty-God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace". The Targum identifies this child as the Messiah. He is clearly king, with the government on His shoulder, and still more, since he is called Mighty-God. The New American Bible version of God-Hero is completely indefensible. Even modern Jewish translations do not do that (They, as we would expect, have other expedients to avoid calling the Messiah God). The Hebrew phrase, el gibbor, occurs elsewhere in the Old Testament, and it always everywhere means only Mighty-God, never God-Hero. The Jews, as we might expect, would have immense difficulty in thinking the Messiah God. Modern Jews change the order of words so as to make it read, in the Targum: "His name has been called Messiah... by the Mighty God." However, Our Lady knew this prophecy, and instead of being stiff-necked, was full of grace, and so would readily see divinity in this passage.
Help in seeing divinity would come from several other Old Testament passages, such as Psalm 45:7-8: "Your throne, O God, is ever and ever.... God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of rejoicing." Even though some think the occasion for this Psalm was a royal marriage, the Targum calls it messianic. Samson Levey, whom we mentioned before, remarks that the Hebrew word for king, melech, in verses 2, 6, 12, 15 and 16 is understood as God.
In Jeremiah 23:3 God Himself says: "I myself shall gather the remnant of my sheep from all the lands to which I have driven them." But soon in verse 5: "I will raise up for David a righteous branch. "Branch" is often taken by the Targums to indicate the Messiah. So the Targum here says "Righteous Messiah" instead of "branch". It could be taken to mean the Messiah will be God. Cf. also Jeremiah 30:11 where God says: For I am with you... to save you." The Targum calls this messianic, and Levey notes this and comments that "in v. 11 the apparent anthropomorphism of God being with Israel in the physical sense is softened by the use of the word Memra". But that word is of puzzling sense; at times it seems to mean God Himself. We compare also Ezekiel 34:11: "For thus says the Lord God: "Behold I, I will search out my sheep and seek them out." The Targum does not call this line messianic, but v. 23 has "I will set one shepherd over them, my servant David."
So from Isaiah 9:5-6 , and the addition of the verses just cited, we gather the divinity of the King Messiah.
Isaiah 7:14 is most remarkable. In the version given by St. Matthew, under inspiration, it speaks of the virgin birth of Jesus. But there is a great puzzle. All scholars today admit that the child in 7:14 is the same as the King Messiah child of 9:5-6. Yet the Targum admits that 9;5-6 is messianic, but does not say that about 7:14. To compound the problem, Hillel, one of the greatest teachers of the time of Christ, did think 7:14 messianic as we learn from the Talmud (cited by Neusner, Messiah in Context, p. 173). Yet the Targum itself does not mark the line as messianic. Neusner, with admirable honesty, admits (p. 190) that later Jews, seeing Christians using the text, pulled back, and no longer wanted to say the line was messianic. To complicate matters further, Vatican II, in LG § 56, indicates that we are not certain if the human authors of Gen 3:15 and Is 7:14 saw in those verses what the Church, with the fuller light of the Holy Spirit, sees today.
We could put it all together this way: Isaiah himself probably did not see 7:14 as predicting a virgin birth. (A sign over 700 years in the future would not be much of a sign to Achaz to who Isaiah spoke; yet the image of the child in 9:5-6 is much too grandiose to describe Hezekiah, son of Achaz. Hence Isaiah used Hebrew almah, a young woman of marriageable age, who should be a virgin, instead of the more definite betulah. However, the chief Author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit, did intend more than Isaiah saw, and brought that out in the version by Isaiah , and in the words of LG §56. So we have a case of the multiple fulfillment of a prophecy, intended by the Holy Spirit.
"A king will come from the sons of Jesse, and the Messiah will be anointed from his children's children." Thus the Targum foretells the King Messiah, in commenting on Isaiah 11:1-3, which foretells a shoot coming from the stump of Jesse.... The spirit of the Lord was to rest on him, a spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and might, and of knowledge and the fear of the Lord."
There are two very remarkable things about this prophecy. First, a shoot is to come not from the tree, but from the stump of Jesse, the father of David. But Isaiah said that the line of Davidic kings was to be cut down. It did lose power from 586 BC until the time of Christ. That of course was not in sight in the day of Isaiah, who said that only a stump would be left, but from it would come the King Messiah. Not a few scholars today try to avoid the word stump, for it would mean too much supernatural vision for them. The Targum speaks of sons instead of a stump. The Hebrew word involved was geza, a rare word. Yet the Targum sees the prophecy as referring to the Messiah.
Secondly , the Messiah is to have the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Granted, Isaiah may not of known there was a Third Person of the Holy Trinity. Yet we know and see the full meaning of this prophecy, for the Holy Spirit can have more in mind than the human authors see, as Vatican II indicates in LG §56, which saw earlier.
Two of the temptations to error seen in the Patristic age were the "logos sarx" and the "logos anthropos" views. The latter spoke of the Divine Logos taking on a human person - a tendency which resulted in Nestorianism . The "logos sarx" school tended to say that the Logos did all the work that a human soul could have done so that in Christ there were just two elements, the Logos and Flesh. But the Church, guided by the same Holy Spirit, saw that Christ did indeed have a human soul, even a soul capable of suffering. The principle behind all this was well expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas (I. 19. 5. c) when he said that God, in His love of good order, likes to have one thing in place to serve as a reason for giving the second thing, even though the first thing does not, of course, move Him. So He wanted the humanity of Jesus to have not only a human soul, but fullest human complement. So it did have the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus the Gospel (Mt. 4:1) reports that the Spirit led Him into the desert, and that He (Lk 10:21) "rejoiced in the Holy Spirit." In Lk 4:18 He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me."
Centuries before Isaiah wrote, the Jews had serious problems with some prophecies. This came especially from the fact that Psalm 72, which the Targums and the Rabbis readily accepted as speaking of the Messiah, implied that the Messiah would reign forever. Of course then he would not suffer and die. Yet Isaiah in chapter 53, did predict terrible suffering and death. The Jews knew that chapter 53 was messianic, and the Targum so identified it. Hence a great difficulty. The result was that the Targum as we now have it strangely and completely distorts Isaiah 53. Instead of a meek lamb led to the slaughter, the Messiah is an arrogant conqueror. It is quite possible that this distortion came from the time of the second Jewish revolt against Rome, 132-35, when many of them thought Bar Kokhba was the Messiah and would defeat the Romans. Incidentally, the name Bar Kokhba means "son of the Star" an allusion to the prophecy of Numbers 24, and was given to him since many thought he was the one foretold in Numbers.
Although the Targums do not mark them as messianic, some other Old Testament passages refer to the sufferings of the Messiah. Psalm 22 is most dramatic, and we know it refers to Jesus since He Himself on the cross recited part of it. It also said (as the versions have it - the Hebrew is garbled),"They have pierced my hands and my feet," and "upon my garments they cast lots." Jesus also identified Zechariah 13:7 as referring to Himself when He quoted "strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed." Shortly before that in chapter 12:10 God Himself was speaking: "I will pour out a spirit of compassion and prayer on the house of David... so that when they look on me whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child." These words are most remarkable. We underlined me and him. God is surely the speaker in me, while him refers to the suffering Messiah. So the Messiah is God --most versions fear to translate these pronouns as they are in the original. But it is important to do so. We are certain this passage is messianic from the fact that Revelation 1:7 quotes it as referring to the one whom they have pierced, who is coming on the clouds," as He predicted just before His death (Mt. 26:64). The words about coming on the clouds also come from Daniel 7:13, and identify Him as the Son of Man. Yet another passage of Zechariah, 9:9, on His Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem, is quoted by the Gospel (Mt 21:5)as messianic. Mk 11:2 and Lk 19:30 that no one had ridden on the colt before. Numbers 19:2 and Dt. 21. 3 specify that the red heifer for sacrifice should never have been under the yoke.
The Jews, as we said, had trouble with Isaiah 53 speaking of the death of the Messiah. They seem not to have been sharp enough to pickup the implication of his resurrection and eternal reign in Isaiah 53: 10:"When you make his life a sin offering, he will see his descendants, and will prolong his days."
There is something very remarkable about the prophecy of Micah 5:1: "You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are little to be among the clans of Judah; from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from the days of eternity." Similarly the Targum says "Whose name was spoken from days of old, from the days of eternity." While it is not entirely clear, yet both of these could imply the eternal pre-existence of the King Messiah.
Finally, were turn back to Psalm 72, which as we said, was acknowledged to be about the King Messiah. It prays that the Messiah "may live as long as the sun lasts, as long as the moon.... Righteousness will flourish in his days... May he have rule from sea to sea." Isaiah 53:10, as we just saw, would agree.
If now we look back on the texts we have seen we can see something very special. Even earlier than these texts there is Genesis 3:15 which God addressed to the serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. He will strike at your head, you will strike at his heel." Three out of four Targums see this line as Messianic. They take it as speaking of the enmity between the offspring of the woman and that of the serpent. When the sons of the woman observe the Torah, they will aim to strike the enemies on the head, but will begin to suffer defeat if they forsake them. The Targum Neofiti makes it singular, speaking of a son, instead of sons. For that son "there will be a remedy, but for you, serpent, there will be no remedy. They will make peace in the future in the days of King Messiah."
The allegory injected clouds the picture somewhat. Yet we can see that this text does speak of a destiny for those who observe the Torah - the sons of Israel, and of a victory, even though the same Hebrew verb, shuf is use for both parties. When we recall that history was moving in a straight line for a goal, in Hebrew thought, in contrast to the cyclic picture among so many pagans, then we see that this prophecy is really messianic, Further, Vatican II said that the Church now sees more: "These primeval documents [ Gen 3:15 and Is 7:14] as they are read in the Church, and understood in the light of later and full revelation, gradually bring before us the figure of the woman the Mother of the Redeemer." In other words, even though we cannot be sure the human writer of Genesis saw as much as the Church now sees, yet the Church does see what the Chief Author, the Holy Spirit, intended here.
This destiny would be made stronger and clearer with the promise to King David of an eternal posterity which we find in Psalm 72 and 2 Sam 7:8-17. Further precisions would come from Isaiah and Micah and from other Old Testament texts.
When the last kings of Judah and Israel turned out to be so bad, and further, when the line of David failed in 586, and was not restored to the throne it would be natural for the people to look to the future for an ideal king, who would inherit the things promised to David, but not yet fulfilled. And so it was not strange that shortly before the birth of the King Messiah, there was intense messianic expectation in Israel, made all the keener by seeing a ruler fail from the line of Judah for the first time since the death of ancient Jacob, when Herod became Tetrarch in 41 BC and King in 37 BC.
The announcement by Heaven of the arrival of the King Messiah came when the Archangel told Our Lady that her son would reign over the house of Jacob forever. Not just one who was full of grace, but even an ordinary Jew could not help but grasp that this meant the long awaited king. For only the Messiah was to reign forever, to b e the one in whom the prophecy to David of an eternal dynasty would come true.
A soon as she heard thee words, all the ancient prophecies abut the King Messiah would begin to flood into her mind, so that if not at that very hour, at least in pondering in her heart she would understand the truth about her coming Son. The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 about the virgin birth was perhaps not fully clear to Isaiah himself, as we saw. But when she found it being fulfilled within her, there was no possible doubt, no obscurity at all.
But this was not a joyful mystery without alloy: there was also the terrible prophecy of Isaiah 53, supplemented by that of Zechariah 12:10 and of Psalm 22.
There was also a tremendous strain on her faith. For it had been hammered into the Jews relentlessly that "our God is one". Yet she must have seen at last somewhat that He was to be God Himself, from Isaiah 9:5-6 which spoke of Him as God the mighty, supplemented by Psalm 45 and Jeremiah 23:5 and 38:11. We today are so used to the formula that speaks of Three Persons, One God that even though we still do not really understand, yet it causes no stress within us. But to her this thought, must b beginning to burst upon her and the world, must have had a tremendous impact: Her Son was God, yet there is only one God! She could only accept in faith, in a faith that would hold on in the dark to what was beyond even the comprehension of one full of grace.
So to say her fiat, be it done to me according to your word, as freighted with a staggering content. She knew what she was agreeing to accept, to be the mother of the Man of Sorrows, who incredibly was yet divine. Yet in a bold courage sustained by her fullness of grace, she did accept, while only beginning to fathom how much it was to cost her. It was the same Holy Spirit who was to overshadow her -- using the word for the Divine Presence filling the ancient tabernacle - in the desert who made her full of grace, capable of both understanding and enduring, the Spirit who would come upon her Son as Isaiah 11 had foretold.
A such a juncture an ordinary soul would have reasoned thus: My people now for centuries have been waiting eagerly for the coming of the King. He is now here, even within me. Should I not share this joy with them, and especially should I not tell the authorities in Jerusalem, and most certainly Joseph my husband, who will not be able to do other than have the darkest suspicions about me very soon. But the Gospels show she did none of these things. Even Joseph - The Father had to send a special angel to let him in on the mystery which his spouse in her lowliness would not reveal even to him to avoid being thought a great sinner!
What was it to be to be for nine months a living throne, a tabernacle! If many Saints have been given the grace to perceive His presence in the golden tabernacles of the world, would one full of grace not be able to perceive all the more? Even Elizabeth, with a lesser grace, would hail her as the Mother of my Lord.
Some months after His birth, the Magi, probably of royal character, came to offer Him the gifts suited for a king: Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Yet after that the King would, like his Mother, be silent about His nature, and his kingship. Rather, He chose to use a very gradual revelation of who He was. Had He said on the first day of His public life: "I and the Father are One", or, "Before Abraham came to be, I AM", they would have stoned him on the spot. So He chose a gradual revelation.
One fascinating feature of this gradual revelation was His use of the title, "Son of Man." The question is asked whether or not this expression, bar (e) nasha in Aramaic might mean merely "I, or "someone like me" . But this is quite uncertain. Be that as it may, there was something else. In chapter 7 of Daniel the prophet, we see one like a son of man coming on the clouds of the sky. He is presented to the Ancient One, and receives an everlasting dominion and kingship." Commentators today debate about what this passage meant. So no wonder the original hearers might have difficulty. One prominent theory says that the whole people was to receive everlasting dominion. But this is not possible - first, Jewish thought never pictured a headless kingdom; second, the Jewish people never did and never will have an everlasting dominion. But the King Messiah - yes. He was to reign over the house of Jacob forever, as the angel said.
When He first began to teach the crowds, if we follow the time sequence of St. Mark, He seems to have taught rather clearly. But then the scribes charged He was casting out the devil by the devil. After that, He turned to parables. The three Synoptics, in somewhat varied forms, cited Isaiah here saying that He did that so that "seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand". Now of course He did not mean to blind them. Otherwise why would He have wept over Jerusalem which refused to accept the day of its visitation?
No this teaching in parables was a remarkable divine device. If we think of someone who is sinful, and become more so -- his ability to see gets less and less. This is both justice, for his sinfulness deserves to lose the light, and mercy, for the more clearly one understands at the time of sinning, the greater is his responsibility. So this one action exercises both mercy and justice - which within God are identified - and, as we could begin to see here, are identified in the providential treatment of those who sin more and more. There is as it were a spiral that feeds on itself, getting greater as it goes out. But there is also a spiral in the good direction, in which a soul that lives strenuously according to the divine truths, gains more and more light. This is in a way justice, for it is a reward. Yet, more basically, it is mercy, for no soul by its own power can generate a claim on God. So again, in one and the same action, we see both mercy and justice.
His gradual self-revelation was much like that. Some would come to understand more and more, while others would become more and more hardened.
As a result of His self-effacement before His public life, His own townspeople were scandalized at His miracles and His wisdom: "Where did He get all this?" They were on the unfortunate spiral.
Therefore, on some occasions, when a crowd was enthusiastic about a miracle, "Jesus, knowing that they would seize Him and make Him king, fled to the mountain, Himself alone (John 6:14)." This verse comes right after the multiplication of the loaves. Really, the same thing substantially, even if not always in similar wording, happened many times. For He often, after working a great miracle told the people not to tell anyone. The reason is that so many held a false notion of what the King Messiah was to be; they expected a great temporal conqueror. But He did not come to exercise earthly power. And hence to avoid them, He fled to the mountain alone.
It was not only that, as St. Paul says (Phil 2:7) that He had emptied Himself, i.e., had been obeying the policy of the Father that He should not use His power for Himself, but only for others. No, He did not want to be a temporal ruler, even though, as God, He had every right to rule over all. This emptying was to come to an end with His resurrection. But even though in Mt 28:18 He said to His Apostles "All power is given to me in heaven and on earth yet He still did not intend to exercise temporal rule. He wanted a spiritual reign, to rule over hearts. And so His vicar, the much maligned Pope Boniface VIII who declared in Unam sanctam that, "to be subject to the Roman pontiff is altogether necessary for salvation", still explained carefully in a Consistory of June 24, 1302 (Cf. introduction to DS 807) that he had no thought of taking over the temporal power of the king. For, he said, "there are two powers ordained by God," the temporal power and the spiritual power. So he was simply reaffirming that there is no salvation that doesn't come from the Church of Christ.
Jesus Himself, who in His divinity was and is the Creator of all, has the most absolute power over all, in every sphere, both temporal and spiritual. Yet it is His will and the will of the Father that He not take over earthly rule. This He Himself affirmed to the question of Pilate who asked if He was a king.
Yet we must note that Boniface VIII did assert that for salvation, all must be subject to the Pope. This, we said, is in the spiritual realm, not the temporal. But it does include this spiritual fact, that the Church has been given by Him who has all power in heaven and on earth, the right and the duty to proclaim what is the will of God in moral matters. so a state that by civil power promotes immorality is grossly failing, and the so-called Catholic politicians who vote such a way are turning inside out the words of the Apostles who in response to the order of the Jewish court not to preach Jesus said: "We must obey God rather than men." But many politicians say: I must obey men rather than God!. And, tragically, so many Catholic vote for them, in the hope of an economic advantage, caring nothing at all for most basic morality, again reversing St. Paul who told the Romans (12:2) "Be not conformed to this world."
On another wing, sadly, there are high churchmen today who insist Christ's Church has erred in marking out carefully the extent of the power and obligations of the state. They say that the promises of Christ could so far fail that a General Council, could contradict the truth. They plead that Vatican II was not speaking infallibly on religious liberty - but no matter, for a General Council, on any level at all of teaching, to contradict infallible teaching would mean there is nothing left to the promises of Christ. We spoke of contradicting infallible teachings, for if something is taught repeatedly on the nondefined level, it is to be considered as infallible. Such is the teaching of Popes Gregory XVI, Pius IX, and Leo XII which the schismatics say the Council contradicted.
Pius IX had said that the state should suppress some things whose suppression is not mandated by mere public order. Vatican II, in spite of blind schismatics who refuse to believe the promises of Christ, taught the same, even going so far as to say (DH §7) that the state must, in addition to protecting the public order, must also exercise, "due custody for public morality". And the state must also take care lest other churches indulge in "improper persuasion aimed at the less intelligent or the poor (DH §4)".
In condemning the doctrine of Leonard Feeney, the Holy Office pointed out that just as we should avoid private interpretation of Scripture, similarly we should avoid private interpretation of the documents of the Church (DS 3866).
It is tragic to behold these people who think themselves more Catholic than the Church, who think only they, a small remnant, have kept the faith, while Christ's Church no longer knows it. The Cure of Ars, when his Bishop offered him a large parish, but one in which there were many hardened Jansenists, asked to be excused, saying that it is easier to convert pagans than Jansenists. The Cure was right, very right. Sadly, today it is harder to convert those who no longer believe the Church, while claiming to be the only real Catholics, than it would be to convert pagans. They insist the Mass is invalid, or even a great sacrilege, that God damns millions upon millions without ever giving them a chance - which makes Him not a God but a monster, and that Vatican II has taught false doctrine.
The great Pius XII in his Ci riesce remarked: "Can it be that in definite circumstances, He [God] does not give to any man the mandate, does not impose the obligation, does not, finally, give any right to impede or to repress that which is erroneous or false? A look at reality give an affirmative answer." The Pope went on to appeal to the parable of the wheat and the cockle. IN it the servants wanted to pull up the weeds at once. The master told them to wait for the harvest, lest in pulling up the weeds, they might pull up the good crop too.
Pius XI, in his great Encyclical on the Kingship of Christ, told us: "When He was on earth, He completely abstained from exercising this power, and, just as He once disdained the possession and management of human affairs, so both then and today He leaves these to those who hold it [the power]. Hence there is that fine saying, 'He does not take away mortal rules, who gives heavenly rules. ' (DS 3679)"
His true power, as we said, is exercised by His love, of which Pius XII wrote so splendidly in His Encyclical on the Sacred Heart. For Christ has, as the Pope explained, a triple love - that love which He has as a Divine Person - and also the love for us found in the attitude of His human will which wills good to us - and even in the love of feeling which He had and has in His humanity.
When we turn to the Queenship of Our Lady, the teaching of the Church is very clear, especially in the Bendito seia, of Pius XII, Radiomessage to Fatima, May 13, 1946, AAS 38. 266: "Jesus is king of the Eternal Ages by nature and by right of conquest; through Him, with HIm, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest and by singular choice [of the Father]."
Can we find the same teaching in Scripture? Definitely yes. We begin by noting that out of the four titles for Queenship given by Pius XII, two are the most essential, namely, divine relationship, and by right of conquest.
The first is obvious: she is Queen because she is the Mother of the Creator, for her Son, as divine, is the Creator. So that is divine relationship.
The second title is, "by right of conquest." This means cooperation in the redemption and, further, since the Pope gave a triple expression to her subordination to and dependence on Him, we should not expect that any other limitation is left understood. So it means that, under Him, she shared in redeeming us.
Already Genesis 3:15, as we saw, was messianic, and so she was contained in it as the Mother of the Messiah - who was thought of as King. But that text of Genesis in the light of the Targums, also speaks of a victory over the serpent. This really implied cooperation in the redemption. Since the Church understands that she was contained in the text, and since Pius XII in Fulgens corona, of Sept 8, 1953 explicitly says that this text is the foundation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception - if the Church can see this, she, full of grace, saw it too, and hence since the Church sees Immaculate Conception in it, she must have seen it too. So she must have known that she was the woman who would share in the victory.
We could examine other messianic prophecies, and see her at least implied in many, but we wish to go ahead to clarify her cooperation in the redemption, even on Calvary.
Now Jeremiah 31. 31 ff foretold a New Covenant. In the old covenant, there were two features: it brought into being a people of God, and they were to get favor on condition of obedience. Probably Jeremiah did not fully see the implication, but now with hindsight we can see: the obedience was to be that of Christ, the King-Messiah, in the New Covenant.
Further, Vatican II in LG §61 told us that her cooperation in the redemption, and hence in the New Covenant, was found essentially in her obedience: "In suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls." So obedience was the essential feature of her cooperation. Vatican II expressed that fact twice earlier in LG § 56, where we read that, "by being obedient, she became a cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race," and right after that, in the context of the words of St. Irenaeus comparing all sin to a complex knot, LG §56 added, "thus then, the knot of the disobedience of Eve was untied through the obedience of Mary." In LG §3 we learn that, "by His obedience, He brought about redemption."
The reason for these words is clear: if we look on the redemption as the making of a new covenant, the covenant condition was obedience, first of all, His obedience, but also hers in dependence on Him, but joined to Him. If we look on the redemption as a sacrifice, which it surely was, the thing that gave His death its value was obedience to the Father. Had His death been done without obedience, it would have been just a tragedy, not a redemption.
But the Council said three times, she cooperated by obedience.
These words of the Council rest on Scripture. He, on entering into the world said, as Hebrews 10:5-7 said: "On entering into the world, He said: Behold, I come to do your will O God." He, still in her womb, spoke thus at the first instant of the Incarnation - He could do this since as the Church teaches, His human soul from the first instant saw the vision of God, in which He knew in horrid detail all He was to suffer. Hence He also said later: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me (Jn 4:34)." But at the same time as He pledged His obedience, she said the same too: "Be it done to me according to your word. That fiat of hers was never retracted. Rather, it continued all through His and her lives, and reached its culmination on Calvary. LG §58 speaks of her as consenting to His immolation." This was merely the further outworking of her fiat. That fiat was given in view of her clear knowledge that He was the King-Messiah. For as soon as Gabriel said He would rule over the house of
David forever, not just one full of grace, but even the most ordinary Jew would understand the King-messiah was meant. She did it further in the knowledge, gained at least in pondering in her heart, of His suffering, from Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.
To put it another way: in any soul, all spiritual perfection consists in the alignment of its will with the will of the Father. And, when one knows what the Father positively wills, it is not enough to merely remain passive, to say as it were: Let it go. No, it calls for positively willing what the Father wills. Now of course, she knew all too well - He had announced His coming death many times, and she had heard it foretold, as we said, in Isaiah 53, supplemented by Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12:10 that He had to suffer, according to the will of the Father. Therefore, to be in accord with the will of the Father at that point, she was required to positively will that He die, die then, die so horribly. And that union of will, that obedience was precisely her cooperation in the redemption, or the covenant condition, as LG §§56 and 61 tell us. So by this pondering in our hearts, we see that Scripture does indeed tell us of her cooperation on Calvary by her obedience.
At what a cost! She not only had to positively will His painful death, but had to do this in spite of her love for Him, which, without any rhetoric, we must say was beyond our comprehension. For Pius IX in Ineffabilis Deus, said that even at the start of her life, her holiness -- which amounts to her love of God -- was so great that, "None greater under God can be thought of, and only God can comprehend it." A fabulous thought! Not even the highest Cherubim and Seraphim, with their magnificent intellects, can understand her love. Only God Himself can comprehend it. Of course, He could have made a creature capable of that, but as Pius IX tells us, as a matter of fact He had not done that. So her love was then, strictly beyond our comprehension - and yet her obedient willing of His death was directly counter to it! Then the cost of her cooperation on Calvary was, strictly, beyond human comprehension.
So Scripture, with the help of a bit of reflection, does teach us that she has the title of Queen not only as Mother of the Creator, but also by right of conquest.
To return then to the teaching of Pius XII. She is Queen on chiefly two principal titles: divine relationship. Yes, she is the Mother of the Creator, inasmuch as her son, as God, is the Creator. She is Queen by right of conquest. We saw her association with Him also from Scripture. And just as He is to King for all eternity, since "all power in heaven and on earth" was given to Him, so her royal power, in union with Him, is to last forever. Her union with her King is unending, eternal. So we conclude: Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, our hope!