In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today is a very special feast day for me, as a Dominican Friar, and someone who is reading for Holy Orders. Today is the day we celebrate our special patroness, the patroness of the Dominican Order, and my personal patroness: someone I have devoted my ministry to. Our Lady has found favor with the Order of Preachers because at her core she exemplifies everything that we as Dominicans hold dear. We wear her scapular, we pray her rosary and we daily seek her intervention on our behalf every night when we close evening prayer with the Salve Regina!
Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve!
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes,
In hac lacrimarum valle.
Eja ergo, Advocata nostra,
Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
Nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende,
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished chidren of Eve, To thee do we send up our sighs, Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, o most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of mercy toward us and after this our exile Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, o loving, o sweet Virgin Mary.
I was reading a book the other day by one of my favorite Catholic Theologians, Dr. Scott Hahn, called Hail Holy Queen: the Mother of God in the Word of God, and in it Dr Hahn talks about the many Marian types in the Old Testament. He says that:
“Marian types abound in the Old Testament. We find Mary prefigured in Eve, the mother of all living; In Sarah, the wife of Abraham, who conceived her child miraculously; in the queen mother of Israel’s monarchy, who interceded with the king on behalf of the people of the land; and in many other places, in many other ways (for example, Hannah and Ester). The type addressed most explicitly in the New Testament, the ark of the covenant….as the ancient ark was made to bear the old covenant, so the Virgin Mary was created to bear the new covenant.”
It is because of this that we celebrate Our Lady today. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the God Bearer, the Theotokos, and what a responsibility it was for her to take on the role of the ark of the new covenant. Imagine with me, if you will, your life as a 13 or 14 year old: not much responsibility, school, maybe a part time job working for you family, but mostly a care free life. Then one day it all changes. Not many teenagers would be up for the challenge, and not many would willingly say “yes” to such an awesome task being placed upon their shoulders. But Mary did. She did so in faith, and she did so willingly trusting her God. She knew the stigma that would be placed on her. She knew the possibility that her fiancé would leave her, and she would be left to raise a child on her own. But she also knew that God was there by her side.
It was because of this one act of obedience that Salvation was brought to the world. It was because a young girl was willing to put aside her own will and walk in the will of God. That is what we celebrate today. We celebrate an act of obedience that changed the world. We celebrate her today: Mary, the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven, and our greatest advocate before her Son.
Each year on this day, I recommit myself to my Dominican vocation, as I recount her willingness to freely give herself to God. I too, willingly give myself to God through my vocation, so that I may be able to praise, to bless and to preach God’s message of salvation to the world.
Let us pray:
O God, you willed that the Order of Preachers be founded for the salvation of souls under the special patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that the Order be filled with her unfailing gifts. Grant to us who call upon you, protected by the aid of her whose feast we celebrate, that we may be brought to the glory of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
—Collect for the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the whole Order of Preachers