She was utterly innocent, untainted by sin, though acquainted with sorrow. The ancient Enemy pursued her, but he could not hold on to her (see Rev 12:13-16). For she was full of grace, and God preserved her from sin (see Lk 1:28).
Her name was Mary. She was the new Eve. Her obedience to God would be the mighty sword that cut the tangled know once tied by the disobedience of the first Eve.
Millennia had passed since the primal tragedy in paradise. The Serpent’s head was not yet crushed, and his venom had spread throughout the earth. Millions of the descendants of Eden’s exiles had been taken prisoner, and many had become traitors and collaborators, joining the ranks of their evil conqueror.
However, over the centuries, God had slowly revealed his battle plan. His stirring call went out for warriors who would remain brave and loyal in the fray, even when they were weak and wounded. His call was answered by some in every generation.
It was two thousand years ago that one of the angels still loyal to God appeared to Mary to call her to war. It was not a call simply to defensive measures – to resist the Devil’s temptations. No, the grace-filled virtues of her soul provided her an armor that he was never able to penetrate that way.
Instead, she was called to storm the gates of hell. This humble, unassuming young maiden would take her place on the front lines of the battle. She would face off with the Prince of Darkness himself as she stood shining in the radiant power of the Almighty, the Most High God (see Lk 1:35). How would Mary be able to fulfill such a destiny? She was summoned to become the Mother of God so that her divine Son might bring to pass the ancient prophecy. Taking her flesh to become a Man, He could fight and conquer the Enemy on behalf of mankind. But His divine Father first sought her consent to take that singular, and singularly costly, role.
She humbly embraced the message: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be to me according to Your word” (Lk 1:14). Jesus Christ was conceived, the Commander in Chief of a new, invincible army. In a daring act of humility beyond all imagination, of love beyond the telling, the Son of God pitched His tent on the battlefield of the miserable planet – knowing that the price of victory would be His very lifeblood.
Before long, the ancient Serpent sprang into action. He could not fully predict his Adversary’s strategy, but, he knew enough to realise that this woman’s Child would ‘rule…with a rod of iron’ (RV 12:5), and the rod was meant to crush his own diabolical head.
If he could not temp the mother, then he would murder her Child. His first brutal attempt, the slaughter of the innocents of Bethlehem, failed. So, the ancient serpent made long-term plans for a future assault. But in the meantime, he turned his fury upon Mary. She would never be a sinful mother, but he would make sure she would be a sorrowful mother.
Despite her torment, she remained steadfast, a tower of ivory. Her soul was a hidden garden where she communed with her Lord and drew from His strength.
At last, the hour came for the Prince of Darkness to have his murderous way (see Lk 22:53). He slithers around her feet at the foot of her Son’s cross. “I have conquered. His mission, and your mission, have failed. He will be food for the worms.”
It seems that all is lost. But Mary is a queen, and a warrior queen. She wears ‘the whole armor of God…to stand against the wiles of the Devil” (Eph 6:11). The truth about her Son and his mission is firmly fastened around her waist. Her righteousness is a breastplate to protect her heart. The shield of her enduring faith quenches all the darts of the Evil One. The firm conviction that God is her Savior (see Lk 1:47) is a helmet that protects her mind from the Enemy’s lies (see Eph 6:14-17). Her feet are shod with the gospel of peace soaked by the precious blood of Jesus that has trickled down upon them from the Cross, the eternal Sacrifice that will finally reconcile the world to God.
As her Son shouts His final war cry – ‘it is finished!’ – the Serpent rears up his ugly head from the stony ground in one last attempt to terrorise her.
She looks him in the eye, lifts up her blood-stained foot, and crushes his head.
In the days that followed Mary’s faith and fortitude were royally rewarded – Her Son rose from the dead and ascended to His heavenly throne.
When the time came at last for her reunion with her Son, He refused to take her soul alone but carried her body as well to a place at Hs side. There she received, from both the angels and the redeemed souls, the honor and praise fitting for the Queen Mother of the King of the Universe.
Even with that, she could not forget the plight of her children still on earth. The children Jesus had given her while He was dying (see Jn 19:26-27). Just as He was interceding for them at the Father’s right hand (see Rom 8:34), she would intercede for the at her Son’s right hand. As the angels were now under her command, she would dispatch them to enter the fray on earth on behalf of those who sought her assistance.
The demons learned to tremble her name. As one of her great devotees, Saint Bonaventure, would one day observe, ‘Men do not fear a powerful, hostile army as much as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.’
The Queen of Angels had become the bane of devils.