24 August 2013

What does "Sub Tuum" mean?

Sub Tuum. 

"What does 'Sub Tuum' mean?" is a question I get asked from time to time. It is no surprise, as I typically write it at the top of pastoral writings and personal letters. The simple answer is that it is the first two words from the oldest extant Marian prayer, Sub Tuum Praesidium. The words of the prayer, in Latin and English, are as follows:

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.

Under thy protection we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our needs, but from all dangers
deliver us always, Virgin Glorious and Blessed.

I place the two words beginning this ancient prayer at the top of pastoral writings and letters as a dedication of whatever I am writing to God under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In a more broad sense, it serves as a reminder to seek refuge under the mantle of our Lady that we may more freely and willingly dedicate all that we do to the greater glory of God.