Mary, Queen of Prophets
Posted by catholicus on September 20, 2006
“Queen of prophets” is one of the titles of our Lady in the Litany of Loreto. For many Catholics calling Mary “queen of prophets” is a reminder that the prophets of the Old Testament looked ahead to the Mother of the Messiah as well as the Messiah himself. In early Christian understanding, however, our Lady was herself also regarded as a prophet. There had been no prophets in Israel for some centuries before Christ, and the revival of prophecy was expected as a sign of the coming of messianic times. The gift of prophecy was given Mary of Nazareth in her role of preparing for the Messiah; that she is a prophet is part of the Gospel portrait of the Virgin Mother of Jesus.
The famous early author, St. Irenaeus, born in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), who became bishop of Lyons in France (died about 202) wrote that in her Magnificat Mary prophesied in the name of the Church. The word St. Irenaeus used for ‘prophesied’ is the same word used in the New Testament for ‘crying out in the power of the Holy Spirit’, as in St. Paul’s letters to the Romans (8,15) and to the Galatians (4, 6: ‘we cry out in the Spirit, Abba, Father’).
Other early writers considered Mary along with the Old Testament prophets; she was the greatest of the prophets because she prophesied the Savior, that is, she proclaimed the mystery of God’s becoming man. A friend of St. Ambrose, St. Gaudentius of Brescia (d. ab. 406) said that at Cana Mary asked for wine in the name of the Church, in the name of all mankind. The abundant wine Jesus provided for the wedding feast at Mary’s request, the best saved till the last, is a sign of the superabundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the young Church, the first Christians, at Pentecost. ‘Mary, queen of prophets, pray for us.’
Rev. Eamon R. Carroll, O. Carm. – Our Lady’s Digest, March-April 1978