More on the Litany of Loreto

This is the tenth 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

Tower of David, pray for us.
Tower of Ivory, pray for us.

These two titles of Mary work together. On the one hand, "Tower of David," a reference familiar in the Old Testament, brings to mind soldiers in armor going out to battle, fighting against invasion. Describing the beloved in the Song of Songs, it says, "Like a tower of David, your neck, built in courses, [a] thousand shields hanging upon it, all the armor of warriors" (Song 4:4). Like the Tower of David, Mary defends us in battle against our spiritual enemies.

"Tower of Ivory," on the other hand, has little to do with battle. Elsewhere in the Song of Songs, it says, "Your neck [is] like a tower of ivory" (Song 7:5). An ivory tower is white, pure, and dazzling. This means Mary lives in luxury and extravagance. Not the extravagance of the world, but the extravagance of God's grace. She provides us a place of repose amidst the battles of this world.

House of Gold, pray for us.

If Mary is the House of Gold, she's the spiritual Fort Knox. She has everything of value, and we can become spiritually wealthy by being close to her. Of course, gold has more intrinsic value than just about any substance on earth. In the same way, Mary has more worth than any other creature because she received more grace from God than anyone else. Therefore, metaphorically, nothing less than an entire house of gold would do to represent the Mother of God.

Ark of the Covenant, pray for us.

Through Scripture, we learn that there are two Arks of the Covenant. For the first Ark of the Covenant, God gave Moses intricate details on how to construct it. After all, He Himself would dwell there, so it needed to be created just right. It was crafted from acacia wood covered entirely with gold. It would hold a jar of manna, Aaron's rod, and of course, the Ten Commandments.

In the second Ark of the Covenant, God Himself would dwell there, too. This Ark also needed to be just right. This New Ark of the Covenant, of course, is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was conceived without original sin. She carried within herself not manna but the Bread of Life; not Aaron's rod, but the High Priest Himself; not the Ten Commandments, but the Word made Flesh.


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