Queen Of All Saints
After a long list of titles in the Litany of Loreto, we invoke Our Lady as “Queen of All Saints”. It is a kind of summing up, including them all, the martyrs and confessors, virgins – all the battalions of Heaven swing past, each claiming Mary as its leader, then we take them all as one great army and we call upon Mary as their Queen – “Saint of Saints”. Why? Whatever it is that makes a saint, she possessed it in a pre-eminent degree.
But what does make a saint? What do we mean when we say that anyone is “holy”, when we say that Mary is the “holiest” of them all?
We find holiness first of all in God Himself. It is a perfection of God. Two men have seen the heavens open and they told us what they saw. Hundreds of years separated us from John and Isais, but each has the same tale to tell. Each saw God in His glory, heard the choirs of angels praising Him. His mercy? No. Justice? Power? No, none of these things – His Holiness: “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus!” is the song of the angels. “Holy, Holy, Holy” into this world.
Then, how can we call Mary Immaculate, Holy; holiness is a perfection of God Himsef! Hers is the holiness of a creature – a reflection of God’s Holiness; it is composed of a double element – a kind of “plus” and “minus”. The “minus” is the separation from sin; the “plus” is union with god. We find these two in every man, woman and child who deserves the name of “Saint”, the adjective “holy”. We find them most clearly in Mary.
The Immaculate Conception is the embodiment of living purity! Of absolute removal from sin, from stain! That is the “minus” of Mary’s holiness – surely she has the crown of saintliness for all time! And the “plus”? THE COMPLIMENTS OF GOD – They made a strange group – he, Gabriel, a very prince of heaven, was on his knees before this unknown girl in her early “teens”. He had a message from God. “Hail! Full of Grace! The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women!” God Himself had proclaimed her union with Him, had named her “blessed”.
“Full of Grace!” “Grace” is the life of God Himself by which we are made His children. To possess it means to live by His life. “The Lord is with thee!” – here was the core of the mystery beginning at that instant – incarnation; God with us, man’s union with God; his God, holiness. Here at the over-shadowing of the Holy Spirit, the life of God and the life of Mary, of humanity, are bound together in one Person in her womb.
Mary, first of the First Communicants received her God. She was united to God as no one else ever can be and that union never ends. It continued through the months when she was the living tabernacle of the Most High; to Bethlehem where the shepherds “found the Child with Mary, His Mother”; to Nazareth where “He was subject to her”; to Calvary, where the tragic silhouette of pain included Mary’s bent head by the bleeding feet of God – even to her own death; where there was no separation, but body and soul, she is, high in Heaven.
That is what makes Mary, Queen, greatest of Saints. It is her holiness and because hers is the holiness of a creature, it becomes, with its “plus” and “minus” the model of our holiness. Our holiness? Yes, it is the purpose, the meaning of human life to reflect the perfection of god. “This is the will of God, your holiness” – mine! He has made us that our life might write a brief word to His glory across the pages of time. “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus!”