We reflect this Easter season on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.
As the Blessed Virgin Mary was near and dear to St. Francis of Assisi, he wrote a Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This prayer comes to mind when I ponder Mary’s coronation as Queen of Heaven. In the salutation, Francis uses several titles for Mary that are familiar to us, such as Mother of God. He also uses titles that may sound unfamiliar: Palace, Tabernacle, Robe.
Yet, it is not the titles of Mary that Francis uses in his salutation that help me understand Mary’s coronation. Rather, it is this line from the last stanza that strikes me: “And hail all You holy virtues which are poured into the hearts of the faithful.” These virtues, through the work of the Holy Spirit, draw us to God.
The Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a call to action: it is a movement from unbelief to belief, from faithlessness to faithfulness. When I ponder the Coronation of Mary, I think not about her holiness but my call to follow him whom she carried in her womb. I am reminded that I, too, am called to be a mother to Jesus, to carry him in the womb of my heart.
In another prayer, the Salutation of the Virtues, Francis name those virtues that move us to conversion: wisdom, simplicity, poverty, humility, charity, and obedience. These virtues crown the Queen of Heaven. The question for me as I ponder Our Lady’s coronation is, How do I live these virtues?
The short answer, I’m afraid, is that I don’t. Not really.
But I want to, and maybe that’s the important thing. It’s the desire for the virtues that leads me to look for them, and it’s in looking for them that I end up living them. In my search for wisdom, I remember that I am like a child, for God’s wisdom is much above me. In such childlike simplicity I can see my poverty and complete dependence on God. That dependence helps me understand that everything I have is God’s, and in all humility, I recognize that all I have is for God to do with what God wills. That humility enflames my heart with love of God and love of all things God created. Such a love allows me to listen to, encounter, and accompany others.
The Coronation of Mary reminds me that I am always in the process of conversion, but I am not alone. Our Lady is there to guide me to her Son, Jesus. And so too are St. Francis, St. Clare, and St. Ignatius present to guide me, as are my fellow catechists, the community of readers and contributors to Catechist’s Journey, and all the young people who have welcomed me to join them on their faith journeys.