Today’s feast, the Queenship of Mary, was fixed on the calendar by Pope Pius XII in 1954. But, of course, it has deep roots in the age of the Fathers. In the fourth century, St. Ephrem addressed the Blessed Virgin as “Queen.” In the eighth, so did St. Andrew of Crete, who called her “queen of the whole human race.” But my favorite Father on Mary’s queenship is St. John of Damascus, a contemporary of St. Andrew. In his Three Sermons on the Dormition of the Virgin, St. John imagines King David, who danced before the Ark of the Covenant, dancing as Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, arrives in heaven. Such should be our festive attitude on this great day. St. John says: “Let us dance in spirit with David; today the Ark of God is at rest. With Gabriel, the great archangel, let us exclaim, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Hail, inexhaustible ocean of grace. Hail, sole refuge in grief. Hail, cure of hearts. Hail, through whom death is expelled and life is installed.'”
If you’re so inclined, you can pick up audio of St. John’s first homily on the Dormition at the site of Maria Lectrix.