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Tower of David

"Thy neck is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks:
a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men"
Song of Songs 4:4

 

Litany of Loreto ~ Tower of David ~ Rosary

This is a massive, powerful rosary!  The Aves, vintage 9mm terracotta cubes with picasso finish, are the bricks of the tower.  These beads have amazing subtleties of color;  too many of them are reflecting the camera's flash, but all of them have the aged mottled appearance apparent in a few beads.  The Paters, 30mm carved jade, evoke a towering shape, and are richly carved, suitable for a king!  The rosary is joined with a bronze Virgo Regina centerpiece, and completed with 3" bronze  Ethiopian cross. 

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Your rosary will be packaged in an elegant hinged jewelry box, 
with pamphlet describing the provenance and prayers


Litany of Loreto Rosaries


Mary is the "Turris Davidica," the Tower of David
by Cardinal Newman

TOWER in its simplest idea is a fabric for defense against enemies. David, King of Israel, built for this purpose a notable tower; and as he is a figure or type of our Lord, so is his tower a figure denoting our Lord's Virgin Mother.

She is called the Tower of David because she had so signally fulfilled the office of defending her Divine Son from the assaults of His foes. It is customary with those who are not Catholics to fancy that the honors we pay to her interfere with the supreme worship which we pay to Him; that in Catholic teaching she eclipses Him. But this is the very reverse of the truth.

For if Mary's glory is so very great, how cannot His be greater still who is the Lord and God of Mary? He is infinitely above His Mother; and all that grace which filled her is but the overflowings and superfluities of His incomprehensible Sanctity. And history teaches us the same lesson. Look at  the Protestant countries which threw off all devotion to her three centuries ago, under the notion that to put her from their thoughts would be exalting the praises of her Son. Has that consequence really followed from their profane conduct towards her? Just the reverse—the countries, Germany, Switzerland, England, which so acted, have in great measure ceased to worship Him, and have given up their belief in His Divinity while the Catholic Church, wherever she is to be found, adores Christ as true God and true Man, as firmly as ever she did; and strange indeed would it be, if it ever happened otherwise. Thus Mary is the "Tower of David."


Our Lady, Tower of David  

"The Ave Maria"
A Magazine Devoted to the Honor of the Blessed Virgin
+ Henceforth All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed +

VOL. XLVII. NOTRE DAME, INDIANA JULY 23, 1898 NO. 4
[Published every Saturday. Copyright: Rev. D.E. Hudson, C.S.C.]


Among the millions of her clients who daily invoke the Blessed Virgin under the multiplied titles of Loreto's Litany, not all perhaps have any more than a vague idea of the fitness and aptitude of these titles to the Holy Mother of God. Some, it may be, take it for granted that in the wealth of eulogistic epithets applied to her, only comparatively few have any special congruity or suggest more than the faintest resemblance between the attributes of Our Lady and the characteristics of the secondary object to which she is compared. Yet a studious examination of each separate epithet will make it manifest that none have been applied in an arbitrary or haphazard fashion; that, on the contrary, all embody a special symbolism which is as interesting to the intellect as it is consolatory to the heart of a true servant of Mary. 

Beyond the general notion that, as a tower implies strength and incidental protection, she whom we invoke as Tower of David is appealed to that her clients may be protected from the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the devil, it is quite possible that the great mass of Catholics are cognizant of no specific reason why this title may claim especial appropriateness. A brief account of the historic structure whose name is thus introduced into the Litany may therefore possess interest for many of our readers.

Between the hill of Acra and Mt. Moriah, the most vulnerable point of the olden city of Jerusalem, King David caused a very strong tower to be built, with redoubts and entrenchments capable of resisting the most violent attacks of an enemy. All around it were suspended bucklers and shields, the defensive armor of the most valiant warriors. It is not strange that this tower should be looked upon as a figure of Mary, who is the fortress, rampart, and redoubt of the Church, and a fortress built by the true David--the Christ.

Mary is the Tower of David, because in her the divine Warrior born at Bethlehem took the arms necessary for the combat which He desired to sustain; that is to say, His body and blood. Ancient kings were accustomed to hang from certain lofty towers bucklers, quivers, bolts and diverse other instruments of war, for the purpose of inspiring their foes with terror. God has followed this custom with respect to the Blessed Virgin. He has adorned her with the examples of the most heroic virtues, under which aspect she will be "terrible as an army set in array";* her very appearance will disperse the besiegers.
St. Thomas says, in connection with this subject: "The thousand bucklers are the thousand remedies against every species of danger from which Mary 


can preserve us." Mary is a veritable armory. In her are to be found the faith of the patriarchs, the hope of the prophets, the fervor of the apostles, the fortitude of the martyrs, the wisdom of the doctors, the justice of the confessors, the chastity of the virgins, the combined virtues of all the saints.*
It is significant that, from the historic tower erected by David, there were suspended no swords, lances, arrows, or other offensive arms, but merely shields or bucklers. Truly typical of Our Lady, who knows no offensive arms, who attacks and wounds none; but who is thus fittingly supplied with defensive armor alone. For a similar reason, Mary is compared to the plane-tree. "As a plane-tree by the water in the streets was I exalted."** The leaves of this species of tree are shaped like the ancient shield; the tree is thus surrounded by as many miniature bucklers as it has leaves. He who, in the shade of the Heart of Mary, seeks a refuge from adversity, is safe from every danger, from every stroke and dart and arrow. A thousand bucklers protect him.

Entering Jerusalem by the Jaffa gate, the tourist observes to his right the citadel El-Kal'ah, the ancient castle of the Pisans in the Middle Ages. Four towers meet his gaze, that forming the western portion of the citadel being our Tower of David. Its lower part is composed of great, time-worn stones, arranged in bossage work, and measuring from three to twelve feet in length by four and a half feet in width. This lower part is thought to be of Jebusite construction.*** There is no break or opening in its whole surface. It rises some forty feet from the base of the fosse, or moat; is more than sixty-five feet long, and some fifty-two or fifty-three in width.

In the upper portion of the tower is a window of what is known as David's Oratory. This word awakens reflections both sorrowful and consoling. On the terrace surmounting the tower which was his royal residence, David, while walking about one day, allowed his glance to rest upon a spectacle that seduced his heart; and to this day the guides point out to the interested traveler the site of the house of Urias. That valiant soldier was given up to certain death in order that his royal master's passion might have free scope.

To the King thus miserably fallen, however, the Lord sent His prophet Nathan; and these walls of the tower were the first to hear that touching allegory of the poor man's lamb, which so many centuries have delighted to repeat, and over which so many stricken sinners have shed tears of repentance:*
"There were two men in one city,--the one rich and the other poor.

"The rich man had exceeding many sheep and oxen.
"But the poor man had nothing at all but one little ewe-lamb, which he had bought and nourished up; and which had grown up in his house together with his children, eating of his bread, and drinking of his cup, and sleeping in his bosom: and it was unto him as a daughter.

"And when a certain stranger was come to the rich man, he spared to take of his own sheep and oxen, to make a feast for that stranger who was come to him; but took the poor man's ewe and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
"And David's anger being exceedingly kindled against that man, he said to Nathan: As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this is a child of death. "He shall restore the ewe fourfold; because he did this thing and had no pity.

"And Nathan said to David: Thou art the man."
This memory of a grievous fault is not incongruous to this Tower sung by the Church in her Litany. Mary sits enthroned on the theater of one of the most deplorable falls recorded in history; giving us to understand that if her heart is like a tower wherein the Christian may in the hour of combat find defense and shelter, it is also a compassionate refuge for him whose weakness has caused him to fall. "Tower of David! Refuge of Sinners! pray for us!"

Antiochus Epiphanes forever sullied these monuments by his ignoble cruelties. To punish mothers who were faithful to the divine law, he had them precipitated from the height of these walls, with their children hanging about their necks. Simon Machabeus in his day purified the citadel, and entered within the walls to the sound of harp and cymbals.

Never did any of the conquerors whom successful war led as far as Jerusalem attempt to take the city by assault on the side of the Tower of David. Strategy recognized the futility of all efforts against such means of resistance. When Titus became master of the deicide city, it was the upper town--the quarter in which was situated the tower--that fell last into his hands twenty days after the burning of the temple. "About eleven hundred years after its foundation," writes Mgr. Mislin, "Jerusalem was to perish on the summit of this same rock of Sion [David Tower], upon the tomb of this founder."**

Herod the Great, desirous of the celebrity accruing to the builder of sumptuous edifices, dowered Jerusalem with several towers which were built near that of David. The first bore the name of Phasaël, in memory of his father, who died in an expedition against the Parthians; the second he called Marianine, after a woman whom he loved frantically, and whom through jealousy he put to death; while the third, in honor of one of his friends, was styled Hippicos.

It is true that, having become master of Jerusalem, Titus, according to the vigorous expression of that day, ran the ploughshare through its ruins, but he suffered the towers to remain standing. The vanquisher desired to make of them a trophy to future generations of the valor of the Romans, capable of capturing cities thus strongly fortified. At the same time they would serve for the defense of his conquest. In 1129 El-Moadham, prince of Damas, demolished all the towers save that of David alone. In the sixteenth century Selim and Soliman raised the three Herodian towers on their original foundations, and probably with the same materials.

The servant of Mary feels a peculiar gratification in greeting her by this apposite title when, a fascinated traveler in the Holy Land, he views the Tower of David standing in the midst of ruins--an impregnable fortress which neither the hand of man nor the power of time itself has been competent to destroy.

Transcriber's Notes

Bossage 1. (Arch) A stone in a building, left rough and projecting, to be afterward carved into shape.
2. (Arch) Rustic work, consisting of stones which seem to advance beyond the level of the building, by reason of indentures or channels left in the joinings. 





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