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Mary as ‘Mirror of Justice’

Q. I pray the rosary and the Litany of Loreto daily for world peace and the end of abortion. What does the litany’s invocation ‘mirror of justice’ mean?

A. First, a bit of general background. This litany first appeared in a prayerbook published in 1551. Pope Sixtus V approved it in 1587 for use at the shrine of Loreto, Italy. Mary is the ‘mirror of justice’ in the sense that she reflects God’s justice or “doing the right thing.”

Every title linked to Mary makes sense only in relation to how completely she cooperated with God’s grace and how perfectly she models being a disciple of Jesus. The Litany of Loreto has roots in the Greek Church’s Akathist hymn, first translated into Latin around AD 800. A longer version appears in a 14th-century missal printed in Avignon, France, for Armenian monks. They had a house in Ancona, not far from Loreto. The invocations “Mother of the Church” and “Queen of Families” were officially added to this litany in 1980 and 1995, respectively.

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