Angels, Patriarchs, and Prophets

This is the 13th article in a series on the Litany of Loreto. Every month, I will explain this popular prayer line by line, providing you with spiritual and theological insights.

View the previous article in this series.

By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

Queen of Angels, pray for us.

Despite what you might hear at some funerals and wakes today, the Church does not teach, nor has it ever taught, that we become angels after we die. Though humanity and angels are both created beings, angels are entirely different species than humans. In fact, the Bible says that God created humanity lower than the angels (see Ps 8:5). Knowing all this, it's a wonder how the Blessed Virgin Mary, a young Jewish woman from Nazareth, would become the Queen of Angels. But through her "yes" and through Christ's redemptive act, God made the angels subservient to her, too. How cool is that?

In fact, the angels honor Mary so much that according to Revelation, at the end of time, they fight for her. Saint Michael and his angels wage war on Satan and his minions, all in defense of the Blessed Virgin Mary:


Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child. ... Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon (Rev 12: 5-7).

Mary's queenship over the angels shows how God is uniting all of His creation to Himself, to win victory once and for all over the forces of darkness.

Queen of Patriarchs, pray for us.

In our modern culture, thanks to the rise of radical feminism, "patriarch" has almost become a bad word. Of course, we know it doesn't need to be. When it comes to our bloodline, patriarchs are simply our forefathers, whom we are called to honor and respect. When it comes to our faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants are our patriarchs. The ancient Israelites respected Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their forefathers and remembered them as national heroes. Through them, God revealed that the Israelites were His chosen people, through whom the Messiah would enter the world. Mary was a descendent of these men by faith and by blood. But since the Messiah entered the world through her cooperation, she proved herself to be even more important than these patriarchs. Just as Abraham was the father of faith in the Old Testament, so Mary, a sort of patriarch in her own right, became the mother of faith under the New Covenant. Therefore, God has made her Queen of Patriarchs.

Queen of Prophets, pray for us.

From the very beginning, Mary existed as part of the plan for salvation in God's mind. God prophesies about her when He says to Satan, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel" (Gen 3:15).

Throughout the rest of Scripture, God lifts up men and women to prepare the world for the coming of the Messiah. We call them prophets. These include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, and many others. All of them, in one way or another, foretell and prefigure the coming of Christ incarnate. In fact, some of these prophets even refer directly to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The prophet Isaiah references her when he says, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; a virgin, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel," (Is 7:14). And the prophet Micah says, "Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne. Then the rest of his kindred shall return to the children of Israel" (5:2). Since the prophets had the grace to profess the Word of God, and since God's Word was Christ incarnate, in a way, all the prophets looked forward to the coming of Our Lady and her "yes."

In the New Testament, we meet more prophets. As Mary arrives, Elizabeth recognizes her cousin as the mother of her Lord. John, whom Christ identifies as the greatest of all prophets, leaps in his mother's womb in the Blessed Virgin Mary's presence. Mary, of course, makes her own famous prophesy when she proclaims in her Magnificat, "All generations shall call me blessed" (see Lk 1:48). So it only makes sense that Mary would also have a special place as Queen of Prophets.


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