God willing, I shall be confirmed a Catholic at the Vigil of Easter. In preparation since September, I have (among other things) read and studied the Catechism. It’s been edifying to have the Faith completely spelled out, at least in outline. I’ve learned that as a traditional Anglican, the orthodox theology to which I have long adhered is thoroughly Catholic – at least with respect to those doctrines of the Faith that I had yet tried to understand.
One domain of doctrine I had not ever much thought about or understood concerns Mary. Anglicans venerate Mary, of course, but are not as fascinated with her as Catholics. So I’ve been studying up a bit on Mary. I’ve not been concerned so much with this or that controversial Marian dogma, as with far more general questions of how we ought to think about her – e.g., what is her function in the plan of salvation, what is her status in the economy of Heaven (including this little cosmos), and so forth. I figured that if I understood that, then the rest of Mariology would fall into place without too much fuss.
Not that I have been much troubled by the Marian dogmas so widely controverted among Protestants. Their logic opened to me as soon as I grappled with them. The Immaculate Conception, for example, is the Marian doctrine most difficult for Protestants to take on board. Given that the whole of the Divine Providential plan of creation and salvation, and the whole of its implementation, are present to God from all eternity, it seems relatively straightforward to me. If God vouchsafed to his human mother the first fruits of the Atonement at an ontological locus prior in the order of time to the locus of the Passion, why then that’s his prerogative. Certainly there’s no ontological difficulty about his having done so, any more than there is a difficulty about his having redeemed Elijah or Moses after their deaths and before his own, so that they could appear with him glorified in their resurrection bodies on the Mount of Transfiguration.
God could make the conception of any woman immaculate; he could conceive a son in any woman he wanted. So, Mary is not remarkable because these things happened to her in particular, but rather because these particular things happened to her. This is so even of her sinlessness. There is nothing in our nature that makes it ontologically impossible for humans to live sinlessly – indeed, ex hypothesi, we are designed to live that way (if we weren’t, sin would not be sinful). That we do not is an accident of our inheritance from history. It is that accident that Jesus cures by the Atonement, repairing our being so that it can conform to its true nature. Mary was furnished with that cure at her conception, so that she would start her earthly career uninfected by Original Sin, and could then make her way through life “unspotted by the world,” so to as be capable of her total, perfect assent to the proposal of Gabriel, with all that it entailed for her subsequent adventures. But God could have bestowed at any time, upon any woman, the redeemed perfection of human nature that Mary enjoyed ab initio. To be himself borne by unspotted matter, he needed an unspotted mater. He had to choose someone, and he chose Mary – just as he had chosen her forefather Abraham and his seed Israel forever.
So, again: Mary did not become Queen of Heaven because she was special; she is special because she is the Queen of Heaven.
And it is just that which puzzled me. What does it mean to say of Mary – or of any woman who might according to the accidents of history have taken her part – that she is Queen of Heaven? I.e., quite apart from her historical instantiation as Mary, who is the Queen of Heaven?
Shortly after I began thinking and reading about Mary, a working hypothesis suggested itself to me, and so far it has borne up: the Queen of Heaven is the archetypal, perfect, palmary and primordial Creature. She is the radix of creatureliness, the first among creatures both in the order of Creation and in the order of honor; for all other creatures take the form of creatureliness she first and supremely exemplifies. The Queen of Heaven subsists in perfect concord with the Divine Will. She is therefore, with all other perfected creatures that like her are faithful, the Image and likeness of the Logos.
Is there a creature anywhere? Then is there, first, the Queen of Heaven. Wherever the Logos is expressed in a creature, it is in and by way of an instance of the Heavenly Queen. As the primordial and archetypal Creature, the model and form of creatureliness, the Queen of Heaven is the matrix of creation, the Receptacle of the logos spermatikos, the Prime Matter, without whom creatura is formless and void – i.e., is not. She is everywhere the place in which the Logos makes his dwelling and is incorporated.
So it is that the Theotokos is called Bride, Mother, Throne, Tabernacle, Tree, Lampstand, Altar, Burning Bush, Cloud, Sun, Chariot, Incense, Manna, Tower, Temple, Ark, Fortress, Mountain, Cave, Garden, Sea, Rock, Pillar, Fount, Veil, Vesture, Body, Firmament, Vessel, Heaven, Church, City, People, Door, Gate, Chalice, Treasury, Ship, Kingdom, Glory.
Mary in her complete fiat mihi is the Immaculate human implementation of that Queen and her perfect concord between creature and Creator.
Here we see the Queen of Heaven as Burning Bush (or Christmas Tree, perhaps – either way, the Tree of Lights, the Menorah (one of the lights has taken his traditional angelic appearance)), Throne, Cave, Spring of Living Water, and of course Mother. In many versions of this icon, the bush sits atop a mountain amidst a cloud; YHWH’s hand reaches from the cloud and hands Moses the Law.
 I feel serene also about Perpetual Virginity, and its corollary in the tradition that, as exempt from Original Sin, Mary gave birth to Jesus painlessly. Resurrection bodies – human bodies as they were meant and designed to operate – can do amazing things. I see no reason why Jesus could not have tunneled out of the womb the same way he tunneled through the wall of the Upper Room after his death, or walked on water before it.
 These two choices, disparate in the order of time, are aspects of one single choice in eternity.
 And, thanks to the circumincession of the three Persons, likewise of the Godhead. This is why Augustine says somewhere that the Heavenly Sophia is the creaturely mirror of the uncreate Wisdom of the Godhead.