When I was praying the Rosary this evening I was really struck by the final mystery, the Coronation of Mary. Raised up to Heaven, as we all hope to be some day, she received her crown - "Well done good and faithful servant."
In a strict sense though, what had Mary done to warrant a crown? She did exactly what God had asked of her. But didn't she owe Him that, as a creature to her Creator? Yes, in strict justice she did. But this is where we see the abundant, and utterly gratuitous Love of God. He freely chose to raise up that humble creature, and to count her as his partner in redemption! And as a loving, cooperative partner and daughter, He lavishes honors upon her!
And that is what is awaiting us too! As Paul said, "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).