The Coronation of Mary
Dedicated In Memory of Dominic J. Guerriero, who shone with the light of faith.
One might find it challenging to ground the Coronation of Mary, depicted in Raphael’s masterpiece, to relevance in our own earthly lives of light and shadow. How can we feel more of the impact of the fifth Glorious Mystery, this high heavenly coronation? What if were possible to attain a crown of our own through authentic and abiding devotion to Mary? St. Teresa of Avila would have us believe such a thing is possible. Today, in honor of The Coronation, I was reminded of this quote by St. Teresa of Avila on one of her visions: “I saw Christ who seemed to be receiving me with great love and placing a crown on my head and thanking me for what I did for His Mother.” With that image of a heavenly reward greater than any possible earthly accolade, we arrive at “Will there be any stars?” today’s music, sung by bluegrass Queen, Alison Krauss. Like St. Teresa, Krauss makes us believe such a thing is possible, and not just any crown, but one of celestial light!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that when he sits on his throne of glory, there will be twelve thrones for them as well, and adds, “…everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more.” What kind of metaphorical crown or throne can we earn in this life? And what might it merit in the next? It certainly paints the Christian imagination in a way that would make C.S. Lewis proud.
“The crown of literature is poetry,” said W. Somerset Maugham and for a double helping of that great statement, today’s poem is about the coronation of a queen. “The crown” was written by Carol Ann Duffy, first UK Poet Laureate for the Coronation Service held at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2014 to honor the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. A stunning poem, although it describes the coronation of an earthly queen, the final lines could easily describe the crown of the Queen of Heaven in its description of humility amidst splendor and an Annunciation-like reminder of the willingness to serve with one’s entire life: “Its jewels glow, virtues; loyalty’s ruby, blood-deep;/ sapphire’s ice resilience; emerald evergreen;/ the shy pearl, humility. My whole life, whether it be long/ or short, devoted to your service. Not lightly worn.” May our lives be crowns of service and beauty, forged from the pearls of our own devoted mysteries.