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The following article is an excerpt from a chapter in the recently published Marian anthology, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Seat of Wisdom Books, A Division of Queenship, 2008. Fifteen international Mariology experts contributed to the text. The book features a foreword by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and has 17 chapters divided into four parts: 1. Mary in Scripture and the Early Church; 2. Marian Dogma; 3. Marian Doctrine; and 4. Marian Liturgy and Devotion. The book is now available from Queenship Publications. To obtain a copy, visit queenship.org.
Asst. Ed
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Introduction

 

Belief in Mary’s loving intercession was expressed in early Christian art, prayer and teaching. Whether it be in the many frescoes of the Roman catacombs depicting Mary in a prayerful position, or through early Church Fathers who portray Mary in heaven as praying for those on earth, or through other Fathers who address Mary and prayerfully seek her supplication, Mary’s intercessory role is clearly attested to in the first four centuries of the Church (1). As an example of how highly developed the understanding of Mary’s intercessory power could become in the early church, consider the prayer Sub Tuum Praesidium, which can be dated approximately to the mid-third century: “We fly to thy protection, O holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all danger, O ever glorious and blessed Virgin.” From this we see evidence of early Christians confidently turning to Mary for protection in the face of the trials and dangers in life and asking her to intercede for them. It is not surprising that the Church throughout the centuries would refer to Mary as our “Advocate,” indicating her unique power of intercession, taking petitions from God’s people on earth and presenting them before her Son in heaven.

Closely related to Mary’s advocacy is her role as Queen—another Marian title found in the early Church and developed in the Tradition throughout the centuries. In fact, many magisterial teachings will note how Mary exercises her royal office through her role as Advocate, interceding on our behalf. This article will examine Mary’s role as Advocate and Queen, first by exploring an important Biblical foundation for these two titles: the queen mother, who held a royal office in the kingdom of David, and exercised her office especially through her role as advocate, interceding for the people of the kingdom. Next, we will outline how the Church’s Tradition and magisterial teaching has developed the understanding of Mary’s advocacy and queenship throughout the centuries. And finally, some theological issues regarding Mary’s role as Advocate and Queen will be addressed.

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The following is the second part of an article that ran in the past Mother of All Peoples Bi-Monthly Issue, taken from “Advocate and Queen” in Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons (Queenship, 2008).

Advocate: Foundations in Tradition and Magisterium

 

Let us turn our attention to Mary’s advocacy role as it unfolds in Catholic Tradition. The early Church quickly perceived the important role Mary played in God’s redemptive plan. The role of Mary as New Eve beside her Son in the economy of salvation is found already in the writings of St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus of Lyons and Tertullian (and possibly other earlier sources) (34). In Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho, Eve is the virgin who “conceived the word of the serpent” and “brought forth disobedience and death”; whereas Mary is the virgin filled with faith, who through her obedience to the angel’s annunciation conceived the child who destroys the serpent and delivers from death those who believe in him (35). In Irenaeus’ Against the Heresies, Mary is described as the cause of salvation (causa salutis) whose obedience untied “the knot of Eve’s disobedience” (36). And in Tertullian’s De Carne Christi, he describes how Eve believed the serpent and conceived the Devil’s word; whereas Mary believed the angel and conceived in her womb the Word of God (37). However, it is St. Irenaeus who is the first to bestow upon Mary the title “advocate” with this Eve-Mary parallel, calling Mary the “advocate of the virgin Eve”:

 

And if the former (Eve) did disobey God, yet the latter (Mary) was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the advocate (Latin: advocata) of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it is rescued by a Virgin; virginal disobedience having been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience (38).



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