The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary As Set Forth in Her Litany – Tower of David

In the Canticle of Canticles we have a recital of the blessed union which exists between Christ and His spouse, the Church.

The great mysteries spoken of in the Canticle have special reference to the more perfect souls and especially to the most privileged of all, the immaculate blessed Virgin Mary. Of her Christ says: “Thy neck is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks: a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men” (Canticle 4:4 ). It is not of the strength of her body, nor of her prowess in deeds of chivalry, nor yet her exploits midst melee of clashing forces that Christ speaks of her as the tower of David, on which hang a thousand bucklers, but rather of her power over the enemies of God, in thwarting their evil designs against souls redeemed by the precious blood of her Divine Son.

It is said of her in Genesis, when God spoke to the serpent: “She shall crush thy head” (Luke 3:15). Referring to Mary, the psalmist exclaims: “Thou hast broken the heads of the dragon: thou hast given him to be meat for the people of the Ethiopians” (Psalm 70:3-14).

In the Canticle, she is spoken of: “Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array” (6:9).

Commenting upon these words, Saint Bernard remarks, that the enemies whom we see fear less a great army in battle array than the demons dread the name, the patronage or the example of Mary. Whenever they find her frequently invoked they withdraw from their attack, and disappear as the mist before the rising sun.

These words of the Book of Wisdom are applied to Mary: “And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself the same, she renews all things, and through nations, conveys herself into holy souls, she makes the friends of God and prophets” (Wisdom 7:27).

Saint Bernardine, of Sienna, writing on the glories of Mary, says: “All creatures are the servants of Mary, as they are of the Blessed Trinity; for whatever be their rank, whether spiritual like the angels, or human as man, or the elements, whether elect or reprobate even the demons, all that is subject to God is under the power of the glorious Virgin.”

In the book of Judges it is said of Debbora: “The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel: until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel” (Judith 5:7). She is a figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the world, weakness had taken the place of strength. The valiant woman appears in the person of Mary, and through her the human race recovered its lost strength. The mother most pure of Jesus, arose in Israel and the demons are put to flight, vices are overcome, Heaven, that was shut against man, is reopened, and his hope is revived in the redemption of the world through Jesus, the Son of Mary, Virgin and Mother.

Her power did not cease at her entrance into the kingdom of her Divine Son, but now we may liken her to Bethsabee, the mother of King Solomon: “Then Bethsabee came to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonias: and the king arose to meet her, and sat down upon his throne: and a throne was set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right hand. And the king said to her: “My mother ask: for I must not turn away thy face” (3 Kings 2:19-20). Jesus has prepared a throne at His right hand and placed His Mother upon it, where she reigns with Him, the “valiant woman” spoken of in Holy Scripture, “strong with the strength of the King of Heaven, her Son, Jesus.”

Another type of Mary, “Tower of David,” a veritable impregnable bulwark, is found in Queen Esther. When King Assuerus saw Queen Esther standing near him, the Scriptures relate that, “she pleased his eyes, and he held out toward her the golden sceptre, which he held in his hand: and she drew near and kissed the top of his sceptre. And the king said to her: What wilt thou Queen Esther? What is thy request? If thou should ask even one half of the kingdom, it shall be given to thee” (Esther 5:2-3).

In like manner does God, King of Heaven and earth, deal with Mary, the Queen of Heaven and the Queen of earth. She pleases Him: He divides the scepter of His power with her: He refuses no request of hers. She is the most powerful of all God’s creatures. She is our defense with Him, our comfort in affliction, and our bulwark against the attacks of the wicked one. She opens up to us the treasures of divine clemency, and Jesus, our Redeemer, is pleased to dispense His graces to us through the prayer of His Virgin Mother, Mary.