17 November 2012

"If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither" (Psalm 137:5)

As violence intensifies in the Holy Land and the threat of total war looms heavy on the horizon, we do well to turn to Our Lady, Queen of Palestine - the Patroness of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem - to implore her intercession for peace.

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title as Queen of Palestine took on greater focus when Patriarch Louis Barlassina established the shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Palestine at Deir Rafat in 1927; at the time, all of the Middle East was commonly referred to as Palestine.

The Holy See approved the liturgical celebration of this feast in 1933 to, as Patriach Michel Sabah once noted, "ask the protection from God through the intercession of our Lady daughter of this Holy Land, and who was chosen to become the mother of his eternal word incarnated, who took a body like ours in order to redeem us, and became man like us in everything not in sin."

As we watch with trepidation to violence in the land where the Prince of Peace walked among us, let us sing with King David:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May they prosper those who love you!
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers!
For my brethren and companions' sake
I will say, "Peace be within you!"
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God
I will seek your good (Psalm 122:6-9).
Let us then turn to the Queen of Palestine, Mary, the Queen of the Middle East, and implore her intercession:
O Mary Immaculate, gracious Queen of Heaven and of Earth, behold us prostrate before thy exalted throne. Full of confidence in thy goodness and in thy boundless power, we beseech thee to turn a pitying glance upon Palestine, which more than any other country belongs to thee, since thou hast graced it with thy birth, thy virtues and thy sorrows, and from there hast given the Redeemer to the world. 
Remember that there especially thou wert constituted our tender Mother, the dispenser of graces. Watch, therefore, with special protection over thy native country, scatter from it the shades of error, for it was there the Sun of Eternal Justice shone. Bring about the speedy fulfilment of the promise, which issued from the lips of Thy Divine Son, that there should be one fold and one Shepherd. 
Obtain for us all that we may serve the Lord in sanctity and justice during the days of our life, so that, by the merits of Jesus and with thy motherly aid, we may pass at last from this earthly Jerusalem to the splendours of the heavenly one. 
Our Lady, Queen of Palestine, pray for us all and all the peoples of the lands made sacred by your Son's Life, Death, and Resurrection.  Amen.

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