Queen Of All Saints
by Fr. Cornelius Joseph O’ Connell, 1914
“Be ye therefore, perfect, as also your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. V–48). God Himself, according to the words of the Evangelist, is the great model of sanctity. That we may be saints, He encourages us to imitate Him, to follow His Divine Son, Jesus Christ. “Be ye holy, because I, the Lord, your God am holy” (Levit. XIX–2). Created to the image of God and restored to His friendship through the redemption effected by the Savior, we should have God constantly before us, and aim to cultivate, as far as is in our power, His holiness.
To be a saint is to live in conformity to the will of God, for His will being one with His divine spirit, is necessarily conformable to the eternal law that governs all things and establishes the measure and rule of all sanctity. In God this conformity is infinite, hence His holiness is infinite.
Sanctity is the love of God and a close union with Him, who Himself is the plenitude of sanctity. In serving God with all the powers of mind, heart and soul we approach daily closer to Him, and become more like unto Him.
“Be ye, therefore, perfect, as also your Heavenly Father is perfect.” From the moment of the Blessed Virgin’s creation, she was possessed of greater virtues, of more intense love for God than all the saints and angels. Her holiness as far surpasses their combined sanctity as the waters of the ocean surpass those of a rivulet.
“He that is holy, let him be sanctified still” (Apoc. XXII–11). “For the lawgiver shall give a blessing; they shall go from virtue to virtue, the God of gods shall be seen in Sion” (Psal. LXXXIII–7). Who can, considering these words of the Apocalypse and of the Psalmist, fathom the sanctity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, in each moment of her long and saintly life, increased in grace and favor before God?
Who, like her, could say with the Apostle: “For me, to live is Christ” (Philip. I -21). “And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 11–20). Because of the loveliness of her soul, Christ did really tabernacle in her, for she is the most holy, the most perfect, the queen of all saints and angels.
Noe, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Josue, all the patriarchs and prophets are venerated; the Apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, holy doctors, all the saints of all times and places are held in benediction.
Of Tobias and his family, the Scripture narrates: “All his kindred and all his generation continued in good life, and in holy conversation, so that they were acceptable both to God and to men, and to all that dwelt in the land” (Tobias XIV–17). But who of all these holy men and women is as acceptable and near to God as Mary? Who among them has uttered a prophecy like unto hers: “All generations shall call me blessed?”
Saint John writes in the Apocalypse: “I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, tribes and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and in the sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: And they cried with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb. Benediction, and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, honor and power and strength to our God forever and ever” (Apoc. VII–9, 10, 12).
This acclamation of joy will not stop here. They will verify the prophecy of their Queen, “all generations shall call me blessed,” by singing her praises also and honoring her, the Mother of God, the Mother of their Savior and Redeemer, through whose merits they now enjoy the blessings of Heaven. They shall bless God because He showed the might of His arm in creating immaculate His Virgin Mother, their Queen.
“Benediction, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honor, and power, and strength to our God forever and ever,” through Jesus Christ our Lord and His holy Mother, the Queen of the Angels and the Queen of Saints.
Regina Sanctorum Omnium,
Ora pro nobis
by Abbe Edouard Barthe, 1864
The saints have illustrated the Church by splendid and admirable virtues: they have astonished the world by the heroism of their zeal, their courage, their self-devotedness, and by the prodigies of their humility, patience, and charity; they have entered into the “house of their eternity (Ecclus. xii. 5),” with an abundant harvest of merits, which the Lord has “weighed, even to the smallest, in a just balance (Job. xxxi. 6), and which He has rewarded with a recompense inappreciable (Heb. x. 35).'”
O Mary! you are their Queen: if the saints have been, among the faithful, as so many magnificent flowers which adorned the garden of the Spouse militant of Jesus Christ, in this mystical garden you shone as the Queen of flowers; you displayed conspicuously by your incomparable example,” those immense riches of grace with which you were filled–riches incomprehensible to every human mind, to every angelic spirit (St. Bernardin, Serm. 5)!”
The saints were enabled to exhibit in themselves, in a manner more or less sensible, some traits of the life of their divine Master; in each one some particular virtue shone forth, and in the heavenly “Father’s house, where there are many mansions (St. John xiv. 2),” each one receives that portion of special glory which he won during his time of probation.
O Mary! you are their Queen: all the individual merit which each one of them has had, you possessed alone, and in a supereminent degree; all the traits of Jesus, our adorable model, you expressed in yourself as faithfully as any creature could do; you practiced all the virtues, and in so high and perfect a degree, that St. Anselm has said of you, that, “next to the holiness of the Saint of saints none is, or can be conceived like to yours (De excellent Virg.).” And now, in the heavenly country, you are invested with glory in proportion to your sublime merit; all the magnificence of the crowns of all the saints form your crown. But this is not all: your glory surpasses all theirs, as much as all their virtues are inferior to yours, and as it is by the merits of Him whom you gave to the world that the grace to practice those same virtues was granted to them.
The saints have a wonderful power with God in our favor “The Lord,” says St. Leo, “is truly admirable in giving them to us not only as models, but also as protectors full of power (In Natalie S. Laurent).” Thousands of splendid facts publish throughout the world “that they reign for ever (Apoc. xxii. 5) in the city of God (Ibid. iii. 12);” and that from the height of their sublime thrones, they reign also by a mysterious influence upon earth.
O Mary! of all these powerful intercessors, of all “these immortal kings (Ibid. v. 10),” you are also the Queen. You do not pray like them, but “you, in some sense, command: for could it be possible, O Blessed Virgin! for Him who was born of you, all powerful as He is, to resist the maternal power which He has given you over Himself (St. Peter Damian, Serm. de Nat. B.V.)?” Yes, “your requests are all but commands (T. 2, in 3 part. lect. 2),” says St. Antoninus; “and what you wish,” says St. Anselm, ” is infallibly accomplished (De excell. Virg., c. 12)!”
O may this admirable Virgin, to whom all saints offer their crowns, be one day also our Queen! What is required for this? To be saints upon earth. But to be a saint is to live “the life of God (Ephes. iv. 18),” according to the magnificent sentiment of the apostle of the Gentiles; it is to possess His grace, and to labour continually to preserve and increase it within us; it is to love our Creator sincerely, “with all our mind, with our whole heart, and with all our strength (St. Luke x. 27):” for he who loves thus is united to Him in an ineffable manner; and “if he perseveres, he shall be saved (St. Matt. xxiv. 13),” he shall become eternally in heaven a “partaker of the divine nature (2 St. Peter i. 4),” of the glory and even beatitude of God. O “let us raise up our hopes,” says St. Augustin, “and direct all our desires towards this eternal possession of God, who is the sovereign good and the source of all true goods (In Ps. 102).” Let us take care not to incur the anathema reserved for those “who set at nought the desirable land, so worthy of all the aspirations of our hearts (Ps. cv. 24).”
O Mary! who united in yourself all the merits of all the saints in a manner so admirable; O you who surpassed them all in this world, by your virtues as well as by your privileges, and who in heaven are superior to them by your glory and power, with them and with all the happy dwellers in the eternal Jerusalem, we bow down before you. August Mother of our Savior, who are seated on His “right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety (Ps. xliv. 10)” truly divine! You reign over all the elect, O living “habitation of God (Ephes. ii. 22)!” as “in the top of mountains, and high above the hills (Mich. iv. 1).” If we considered only your wonderful greatness, we should not dare to lift up our eyes towards you, O heavenly Queen! but we know all your charity, all your goodness, all your mercy; and our confidence in you is unbounded: through your aid we hope to lead a holy life, and obtain a part of that kingdom of God, where we shall rejoice for all eternity for having said to you here below with tender piety, worthy of your sweet majesty:
Queen Of All Saints, Pray For us!
Regina sanctorum omnium, or a pro nobis!