Hail, Holy Queen

In the papal bull Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), Pope Francis asked us to pray the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen) during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. As spiritual director of the Thirteenth of the Month Club, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, is sharing reflections and insights on this great prayer. We begin with the first line: Hail, Holy Queen.

What we hear first is not "Mother," but "Hail, Holy Queen!" It reminds us of the Hail Mary in a certain sense, but it's also a prayer from a time of knighthood, the time the Crusades were starting. Traditionally, the prayer itself has been attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) from the 12th century. There was a renewal going on in Marian devotion during that time, especially in monasteries.

Our Queen is the Queen Mother, just like in the Old Testament. For the kings of Judaism, it was their mother who was gebirah, the queen, rather than their spouse. Her role was this: The king was preoccupied with many things. He left his mother to be the one that the people could go to so that she could get the king's attention on important matters. And what son is ever going to refuse his mother?

That's why many of the saints will say her requests are not so much taken by her Son and King to be requests, so much as they are commands, because when she asks for something, she's asking her Son. He's moved. "My mother is asking me to do this; I'm going to do it."

She's not just important to the average Christian for her power as an intercessor, though. The kingdom of God is a family, as Jesus said (see Mt 12:48-50; Mk 3:33-35; Lk 8:21; see also Eph 2:19-20; 1 Tim 3:15). As our Queen Mother, she has a necessary role, not because we mistakenly think she's God, but because she helps us to fully be conformed to the image of her firstborn Son. We have to become like the Child to whom she physically gave birth. We're not going to be able to do that if we don't have the same mother, if she doesn't spiritually birth us into being sons and daughters of God.

The extent of her kingdom is that which is subject to her Son: everything. All of creation is under the lordship of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. That kingdom includes the three dimensions of the Church: the Church in glory, in Heaven; the Church here on earth, the Church Militant; and the Church in Purgatory, the suffering souls. When artists have painted images of her as Queen of Heaven, it's a celestial scene where all the members of the Church are honoring her as she shelters them with her cape as our Queen Mother. That's why many of the saints, including St. Faustina, will talk about how Mary assists the souls in Purgatory, interceding for them and taking our sacrifices and penances before the throne of God on their behalf. Here on earth, she is the one who helps the Church Militant to win the battle because, ultimately, it's the foot of our Queen Mother that crushes the darkness, since God lives inside her, both in a special way through her spousal union with the Holy Spirit and through the divine indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in her who never lost sanctifying grace.

Share the Hail, Holy Queen with your family, friends, and community with our prayercard. To order, visit ShopMercy.org or call 1-800-462-7426.

You might also like...

Father Dan Cambra, MIC, digs deeply into the 14th century to tell the story of St. Rita of Cascia, the miracle worker whose feast day is May 22.

Saint Charles reformed the Church of his time, but he began by reforming himself. Are you willing to do the same, to make every act of yours an act of love?

One of the principal intentions of the personal prayers of St. Francis of Assisi (feast day: Oct. 4) should sound familiar to Divine Mercy apostles. This is no surprise.