Today we Pauline sisters celebrate the Feast of Mary, Queen of Apostles, appropriately placed the Saturday before Pentecost, when Mary gathered in prayer with the apostles. It’s a very special feastday for us as communicators of the Gospel, because Mary is the ultimate Communicator of the Word of God.
Our Pauline website has an explanation of what the title means. In the images of Mary, Queen of Apostles, Mary is holding Jesus out–as if to give him away. Blessed James Alberione describes the meaning of this gesture very specifically: “In the ‘Hail, Holy Queen,’ the Church describes her [Mary] to us with very beautiful titles, but the most beautiful is the one we see portrayed in the new painting of the Queen of the Apostles, in which the Madonna does not clasp Jesus to her heart, but holds him out to the Apostles, as her most sweet fruit, in order that they, in turn, will hold him out to humanity.”
What a richly symbolic gesture–holding Jesus out for others to receive! What a great image for all baptized Christians who are called to “communicate Christ” in our lives. And what a profoundly meaningful image for those whose life work is dedicated to communicating the Gospel…always holding out Jesus Christ.
As I was praying the Novena to the Queen of Apostles this week, I was also preparing to start writing a new project. And I started to connect Mary’s motherly journey (once a mother, always a mother) with the creative journey of a new project. A conceiving, nurturing, giving birth, teaching, preparing, accompanying, and letting go (or entrusting to God) are all stages of being a mother and stages of being an artist. I am still pondering how to describe the role of the Holy Spirit in all of this–the Spirit who descends so powerfully on Mary at the Annunciation and again at Pentecost.
Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for all artists who seek to present God in our creative works and in the most important masterpiece of all–our own lives.