Page 6, 25th May 1962

25th May 1962
Page 6
Page 6, 25th May 1962 — T HIS twelfth century illuminetion of grave beauty is reproduced here
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Organisations: Council of Ephesus
People: Jesus Christ
Locations: Worcester

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T HIS twelfth century illuminetion of grave beauty is reproduced here

for the feast of the Qucenship of Mary, May 31— one of the youngest feasts in the calendar. Preserved in the British Museum, it illustrates a Psalter that once belonged to Saint Swithun's Priory, Worcester, and later to the nuns of Shaftesbury.

Like most manuscript decoration of the period the picture's inspiration is Byzantine, but it has a grace and tenderness contributed by its western artist.

The most striking feature is the gesture of our Lady's hands— generosity, protection, and prayer. In small lettering at the top is written in French: HERE SHE IS MADE QUEEN OF HEAVEN.

* *

THE new feast, complementary to our Lord's title of Christ the King; in October, was instituted by Pope Pius XII in September, 1954, when he announced it in an Encyclical Ad Coedi Reginam. The following All Saints Day the Holy Father affixed crowns of gold and jewels to an ancient, and traditionally miraculous, painting of Our Lady and her Divine Child in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, and proclaimed her "Queen of Heaven and Earth and all Mankind" (not just Catholics). The choice of All SaintsDay for this significant action explains the title we commonly give to the fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven and the Glory of all the Saints. Mary's Queenship is the first fruit of that glory which belongs to all Christians as citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

* T* Mary HE choice of Saint Ma Major was appropriate. too. It is one of the earliest churches dedicated to Mary, traditionally in 352, certainly rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III after the Council of Ephesus, which in 431 confirmed her title "Mother of God". A fragment from a twelfth century restoration is inscribed : "Re our Way, our Life, our Salvation, Glory of all the World!"—praise which, of course, we can only understand in terms of Mary's obedient co-operation in the work of our Redemption. In the apse thirteenth century mosaics represent our Lord crowning his Mother Queen of Heaven.

S. G. Luff




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