Consolatrix Afflictorum
Comforter of the Afflicted

Mary is the solace, consolation and comforter of our life.  This is the meaning of the caption borrowed from the book of Tobit (chapter 10).  Her portrait is enclosed in the disk of the moon.  The contrast between Mary’s constancy, fidelity and unwavering faith and the changing status of the waxing and waning moon heightens Mary’s reliability as consoler and comforter.   In antiquity, the moon was guide and protector of charioteers. Similarly, Mary’s comfort forbids mere indulgence; she gives direction and points the way.  She is leading the erring pilgrim (lower right) who sees in her the comforter of affliction (Psalm 119).  In the storms of life (see ship lower left) Mary dispenses solace to those who remain faithful to the Holy One (Job 6:10).  The banquet scene in the lower half is an illustration of the lemma: “I beg you for my people” (Esther 7:3).  Queen Esther in her fight against Haman begs the king, during the second banquet, to spare her life and that of her people. Esther is a well-known symbol or type of Mary.  Both women are known for their attitude of prayer and intercessory power.  Thus, Mary is comforter of the afflicted because she is both mother of and intercessor with Christ.

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