Mary, more than just the mother of Christians, is our stalwart defense against the forces which oppose the will of God. To this end, she is often called the Tower of David. It is a powerful title that echoes her lineage from David. But it also has strong Biblical roots.
According to the Lay Dominicans of Our Lady of the Rosary;
“Thy neck is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks.” (Canticles 4:4) This where the name originates, but imagery of Mary’s protection is echoed throughout the Bible. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower,” (Proverbs 18:10) says the inspired author of the book of Proverbs. Mary is called the “Tower of David,” because as Mother of the Redeemer, the son of David, she is to men a tower of refuge from the face of the enemy. If the invocation of the sacred name of Jesus be sufficient to put our enemies to flight, we ought to remember that we cannot pronounce this saving name, in a manner pleasing to God, unless assisted by his grace. We ought, then, to dread our own unworthiness; and seek to secure for ourselves the saving influence of this holy name, by the intercession of her, whose “neck is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks: a thousand bucklers hang from it, all the armor of valiant men.” The enemy of our soul flies at the mention of her name; because she has crushed his head, and because he despairs of wounding any one whom she defends, by opposing her buckler to his fiery darts. Hence, she is called by a writer, not liable to the suspicion of exaggerated piety: “the terror of hell, the hope of Christians, and our sure protection.” (Erasmus, Orat ad Virginum) Hence St. Bonaventure, addressing her, says “Thou art our sure protection, 0 most Sacred Virgin. Under the wings of thy clemency do we flee: save and protect us.” The intercession of Mary will obtain for us strength to resist every evil suggestion, every foul temptation, however violent it may be. Aided by such a powerful protectress, although we should walk in the midst of the valley of death—that is, although we should find ourselves every instant exposed to danger, and see around us the bodies of our fallen brethren —we shall fear no evil, because she will be with us. To her, after God, we will gratefully ascribe the triumph we shall have gained over our enemies, and say to her: “Thou hast been tower of strength against the face of the enemy.” (Psalm 60:4.)
According to Mariologists, the “Tower of David” is a symbol of victory. She is victorious in giving refuge to the sick and afflicted. She is victorious in defending her Church against evil oppressors. She is victorious in housing a warrior clan of believers against the devil’s armies.
As we meditate on the Rosary, she will train us to fight the principalities and powers of the dark. Her hymns and devotions are the bucklers we wear in wartime. Her novenas are stairways that elevate faith. Mary, full of grace, is the display of the trophies and victories of the Spirit. Through her, we will receive His gifts and fruits. Like Mother, like Son. Through her, we will emerge victorious. The soldiers in her infantry are all heroes of war. As the Tower of David, Mary has emerged infallible against the test of time and tide. As the Tower of David, she is strategically placed on the highest point in Heaven, only below God. In this role of Tower of David, she reminds us of the guard she was to the baby, Jesus, and the guard she is to us. Blessed John Henry Newman explains Tower of David is another title of the Virgin Mary that is not self-evident. its meaning to us. King David is a type of Our Lord, and thus the Tower of David is a defense of Our Lord. And Mary is just that defense because all the veneration that she receives reinforces truths about his divinity. She does not eclipse Him; “He is infinitely above His Mother; and all that grace which filled her is but the overflowing and superfluities of His incomprehensible Sanctity.” Newman argues that countries which pay veneration to the Mother of Jesus keep faith in her Son’s Divinity and Humanity.
The devotion began on the northern slope of the Alban Mountains, about fifteen miles from Rome, lies the little town of Frascati, which has been privileged beyond most cities in the enjoyment of Our Lady’s special protection. The church bears engraved on its facade the appropriate motto: Tu nos ab hoste protege. “Do Thou protect us from the enemy”. The miraculous picture of Our Lady of Capocroce is Frascati’s greatest treasure, but the early history of this picture in unknown. It had been there as long as the oldest citizens could remember, when in 1527 it first attained celebrity.
The infuriated and licentious soldiers of Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, ravaged the Eternal City, and betook themselves to Frascati. Their approach was visible from afar to the inhabitants of this mountain city, and preparations were made for such defense as they could offer, while the women and children fled to the church to beg Our Lady’s help. But just as the army of mercenaries arrived within sight of the vineyard wall, whereon the picture at that time was, the lips of the painted Virgin opened, and a voice of irresistible majesty spoke: "Back, soldiers! This land is Mine!" The effect was instantaneous; the soldiers turned and fled in confusion, with frightened shrieks of "Back! Back!"
Frequently during succeeding centuries, Our Lady has shown Her maternal protection toward Frascati, and on one occasion the town was entirely preserved from the cholera which devastated the neighborhood. After the miraculous deliverance of 1527, a chapel was built, and the picture placed therein. In 1611, a second miracle led to the building of a more magnificent church. A pious and wealthy Roman priest was celebrating Mass at the altar of the miraculous picture. Just after the Consecration the Host left his hands, trembling with apprehension he examined his conscience, but finding nothing to reproach himself with, he turned to the picture, and besought Our Lady to aid him. He then heard a voice saying: "Jerome, you are rich in this world’s goods. Look at this lowly chapel. Is it worthy of the Queen of Heaven?" He at once made a vow to build a large and magnificent church. Then the Host returned to him. The present spacious church was consequently built. Many are the graces obtained there by Mary’s clients. Let us trust that at our last hour, if we have faithfully served Mary, in the final assault of Satan and his legions, we may see them routed by Our Mother’s command: "Back, demons! This soul is mine!"