DAY 6: ADVOCATA NOSTRA
It seems that the tradition of singing the 'Salve Regina' each night while processing to an image of Our Lady after Compline was begun by the Dominicans in 1221. The Second Master of the Dominican Order, Blessed Jordan of Saxony mandated it in response to diabolical disturbances experienced by some of the friars, and as soon as they began to implore Our Lady's help, the attacks stopped. As such, the 'Salve Regina' with the blessing with holy water is recommended every night, and it has an exorcistic and protective effect.
Of particular note is the invocation of Mary as "advocata nostra", our advocate, our helper. According to the oldest stories from the foundation of the Dominican Order, it was at these words that Our Lady was seen in a vision to turn and kneel before her Son, interceding for those who called for her help. Another story recounts that St Dominic once saw three radiant women walking among the brothers asleep in the dormitory and blessing them. Astonished, he knelt before them and, looking towards the most beautiful woman in the middle, asked her who she was. Mary replied: "I am she whom you invoke every evening, and when you say, ‘Eia ergo advocata nostra,' I prostrate before my Son for the preservation of this Order." The other two women were identified as St Cecilia and St Catherine of Alexandria.
The tradition of calling upon Our Lady for help obviously predates the Dominicans. Indeed, the oldest prayer to Our Lady, in which the Christian places himself under Mary's protection, dates to at least the 3rd-century:
we take refuge,
Mother of God! Our
prayers, do not despise
but from the danger
In all our necessities, therefore, we can turn to Mary, our advocate, and be confident that she intercedes for us, and asks her Son to have mercy and deliver us and protect us. In these times, when we can feel imperiled and assaulted on so many fronts, we need to place ourselves under Mary's protection and claim her as our advocate and Mother. In 1531, St Juan Diego, heard these comforting words from Our Lady:
Hear me and understand well, my little son, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.
For Mary is our advocate; she intercedes for us in our neccessities. We see this in the Gospel of St John (2:1-12) when Jesus and Mary are at a wedding in Cana. When the wine runs out at the wedding feast, the wine steward goes to Mary and informs her, and she immediately intercedes with her Son, and he grants her request. Christ thus performs his first miracle, turning water into wine at Cana in Galilee.
Each of us will know situations when the wine has run out. In the psalms, wine is described as God's gift to cheer our hearts. So, when the joy has run out of our lives; when we feel despondent, empty, drained, let us turn to Mary and ask her to be our advocate. We ask her to restore to us our joy! With humble trust in Our Lady and placing ourselves under her patronage, we can be sure that the Lord Jesus will turn the water of our lives into wine.
Let us, therefore, pray with joy to Mary, our Advocate, resolving to be her true children sheltered under the mantle of her protection!
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6