The Gebirah: Our Advocating Queen Mother



This article will begin by examining the titles of Queen Mother and Advocate found in the Old Testament Scriptures and most importantly, the Kingdom of David. It will then focus on the Queen in the words of God’s messengers. Next we will examine her roles in relation to the New Covenant and our final goal will be to demonstrate her Queenship and Advocacy in light of Sacred Tradition and the magisterial documents. I wish to begin with a statement from an encyclical of Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginam: Already from the earliest centuries of the Catholic Church, the Christian people have addressed suppliant prayers and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven, both when they had reason to rejoice and particularly when they were beset by serious troubles. The hope placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ, has never failed. There has never been a weakening of that faith by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with her maternal heart over the entire world, just as she is crowned with the diadem of royal glory in heavenly blessedness. {footnote} Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginam, p. 1 {/footnote} The Queen Mother in the Old Covenant The Queenship of Mary finds its origins in the Old Testament scripture passage of Genesis 3:15, the Protoevangelium (first gospel). Mary, Our Queen, is understood to be in close association with Christ in the redemption of mankind after the Fall of Adam and Eve. Under and through the title of Co-Redemptrix: Mediatrix of All Grace, she shares subordinately with Christ his everlasting Kingship. Our Lord through his redemption receives his title of King and through this title he and Mary overcome the sin of Adam and Eve and transformed humanity’s conquering of sin and death. William G. Most best summarizes this in his article, Queen of the Universe, when he states, Jesus is the King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest; through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen of Grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice. (William G. Most, Queen of the Universe, p. 179) J.B. Carol states that a few other passages in the Old Testament scriptures that have often been connected with the Queenship of Mary, however, these are not to be used for biblical arguments but only as renderings (side note: Carol says this because at the time when his book was published, 1956, the Holy Ghost had not yet conveyed Mary’s Queenship through these passages). With that being said, we should look at these since they do make perfect sense for the Queenship of Mary. The first passage is Psalm 45:10, which states, “Here, O Daughter, consider, and incline you ear; forget your people and your father’s house…” The daughter is making reference to the queen. Eventually Mary is known as the Daughter of Zion. The next two passages come from the Book of Esther – 2:17 and 5:3. Esther 2:17 states, “…the king loved Esther more than all the woman, and she found grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” We know that Esther is one of the women from the Old Testament that represents Mary for she too is a Queen Mother. This passage though is packed full of Marian language when it says that she was loved more than all other woman and is found with grace and favor. These are nearly the identical words when the Angel Gabriel comes to Mary at the Annunciation. Esther 5:3 states, “And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you, even to the half of my kingdom.” This passage relates to Queen Esther and her intercession for the Israelites. Mary is Our Queen Mother who goes before the King to intercede for us. With this being said, let us turn our direction and understand where Mary’s Queenship and Advocacy originates in the Davidic Kingdom. The Advocating Queen Mother In a region long known for its many nations and peoples, Israel’s monarchy grew alongside those other Near East kingdoms where a human king ruled. The Israelites seeing these gentile kingdoms with their kings as head wished to be like them. God’s original plan for his people was that he would be their king (1 Samuel 8:7), but the people of Israel begged, pleaded, and cried out for a human king to rule them. “We will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:19-20). God in his infinite hesed (covenant love) allowed the people to have their king. However, God allows the kingdom for his glory and the glory that would come when he would send his Son to them. Allegorically, the kingdom of Israel would lead to the kingdom of God. (Scott Hahn, Hail, Holy Queen, p. 78-79.) Most of the gentile cultures of the time practiced polygamy so it was difficult for a king to pick which wife would rule with him. Instead of a wife as queen, he chose his mother to be queen. Within the kingdom of ancient Israel, the king’s mother was given dominion over the king’s wives. The title the Queen Mother was given was the – Gebirah – or “Great Lady.” She ruled over the kingdom as queen. (Edward Sri, S.T.D, Advocate and Queen, p. 468.) There are many texts throughout the Old Testament scriptures that refer to the queen mother. Some of these include: 1 Kings 2:19, Jeremiah 13:18, and Proverbs 31. The queen mother played an important role all the time, but most of all in times of transition from one king to the next. As queen mother she had a great influence. (ibid, p. 469.) In 1 Kings 2:19, the queen (Bathsheba) sits at the right hand of the king (Solomon) on a seat (throne – royalty) which is brought to her. Before the seat is brought to her, the king stands to greet her and bows down showing respect for his mother and queen. “She served as an advocate, taking petitions from the people and presenting them to the people.” (Ibid, p. 471.) In Jeremiah 13:18, the queen mother is mentioned along side of the king – “say to the king and the queen mother: Take a lowly seat, for your beautiful crown has come down from your head.” Jeremiah is prophesying that both the king and queen would eventually lose their thrones for the way they treated the people of God. It was the primary mission of the king and queen mother to serve the people and to see to their needs. Throughout the history of Israel that was not always the case. (Ibid, p. 470.) In Proverbs 31, we see the Esheth Yahil (woman of valor). This woman is also a queen mother, who gives advice and direction to her kingly son. The queen mother was not just a “figurehead”, but guided the king on a variety of issues he would have to face on a daily basis – serving the poor, finding a wife, and even in the field of politics. The queen mother had dominion over her son’s kingdom. (ibid, p. 469, 471.) So as we have seen the queen mother holds an executive status in the kingdom where she helps her son rule. She is venerated, coroneted, and acts as the intercessory for the people, just as Mary today for the Church. As Hahn says, “As a political adviser and even strategist, as an advocate for the people, and as a subject who could be counted on for frankness, the queen mother was unique in her relationship to the king. (Hahn, p. 82) Furthermore, Marie-Michel Philipon, O.P. says, Mary, then, is queen, but queen in the way of a mother, serving all her children, guiding them in their most personal and intimate life, not so much by law and precept as by kindly prompting and persuasion, with an affectionate smile on her countenance as she goes about bestowing a mother’s tender care on all her children, on the lowliest no less than on the more fortunate. In fact, the more humble and lowly her children, the more mother she is to them. And the more we put ourselves in Mary’s guiding care, the more quickly she leads us up to God. In union with Christ, Mary guides the entire Church militant on the road to the City of God. But Mary’s rule is marked, above all, by the supreme grace of her motherhood. She rules and directs souls with the power of a mother’s smile and the irresistible attraction of a mother’s sweetness. With a mother’s intuition