Windows of Salvation – Maria Regina
One of the first things you see as you enter St. Michael’s church from the parking lot entrance is the votive candle stand next to the altar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Most of the time, you have to squeeze past someone lighting a candle just to get into church! Just across the aisle from that stand is our first stained glass window, which, incidentally, is related!
It might be hard to recognize the letters, but the symbol on the window is an interlocking “M” and “R,” standing for the Latin words Maria Regina. Not only is that a great name choice for you next child or grandchild, but the Maria Reginasymbol is a monogram for “Mary, Queen.” The Maria Reginawas a popular monogram and abbreviation in the church, tracing its origins as far back as the 11thcentury. It would be carved on altars or on the ends of pews, sometimes with a crown topping the two letters as a reminder that Mary truly is our Queen.
In the Old Testament, the Queen of the Kingdom was actually the Queen Mother. Often, the Kings of Israel would have many wives, sometimes due to political maneuvering and marrying to build alliances with other nations, and sometimes due to personal weakness. Many of us remember King David and his wife Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11:3 for thatstory), but King David was also married to Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacha, Haggith, Abital, and Eglah. For Israel then, the honor of “Queen” was reserved for the mother of the King, and even though he was clearly the ruler of the Kingdom, his mother far outranked all those married to the King. A great example is the aforementioned Bathsheba, who as Queen, ruled in place of Solomon before he was old enough to rule himself.
We know that the Archangel Gabriel foretold to Mary that Jesus would “rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end,” (Luke 1:33) so Mary, as the humble handmaid and willing servant of God who became his mother, now rules with her son as Queen of Heaven. As Psalm 45 puts it, “The Queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold!” As Catholics, we don’t pray toMary or believe that she herself would give us grace, but even as in ancient times, we bring our needs to the Queen that she might beg her Son on our behalf.
This beautiful Maria Reginasymbol and window in our church remind us that Mary is Queen of Heaven, but also Queen of St. Michael the Archangel Parish! So many parishioners exercise such great devotion to Mary through praying the Rosary on Saturday at 4:30 pm before Mass, at different times in adoration, or in our parish school. Others pray the prayers of devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help every Tuesday after Mass. So many others quietly unite their prayers with Mary’s and bring them before Jesus by lighting a candle for their loved ones and friends.
Mary our Queen, walk with us on the path of our Salvation. Help us to know your loving Son as you did, help us to love Him as you do.