Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pope's Reflection on the Feast of Mary's Assumption

While studying Mariology, one very scriptural teaching about Mary that I found really impressive, convincing and intriguing was Mary as the "new Ark of Covenant."

Some of you may be aware that the Ark is a very sacred and amazing object in the Old Testament. This is not the place to go into a full-blown discussion about the Ark. Suffice to say that its related scriptural passages, both in the Old and New Testaments, are numerous and highly fascinating. One main reason to see Mary as the New Ark is that in the Ark "were the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant" (Hebrews 9:4), which signify the Body of Christ, Jesus as the eternal High Priest, and Jesus as the Word of God respectively. In other words, the Ark is considered a prefiguration of Mary, whose sacred womb holds the incarnated body of God, Jesus. Like Mary, the Ark was venerated as sacred and untouchable by Israel and was left in the most sacred place in the Temple of Jerusalem - the Holies of Holy.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit to understand the holiness of Mary, Luke described Mary using the same descriptions of the Ark that 2 Samuel used in its narration of David's effort to bring the Ark into the City of David. Let me just give you a couple of examples here:

1. "During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah" (Luke 1:39). In 2 Samuel 6:3 the Ark also appeared in the background of "hill country".

2. "Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, 'Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb'" (Luke 1:41-42).In 2 Samuel 6:15, David also greeted the Ark "with shouts of joy."

In reflecting on the Feast of the Assumption yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI mentioned one more example:

When Elizabeth exclaims, "look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy," St. Luke uses the term “skirtan” which translates to “bounce.” This, the Pope explained, is the same term used to describe the holy dance of King David in front of the Ark of the Covenant when it was returned to Israel in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel. "John the Baptist in the womb is dancing before the ark, like David,” he said. “Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant, before which the heart leaps for joy at the Mother of God in the world”.....

For the complete article on the Holy Father's reflection, please read:


It is, therefore, no coincidence that the first reading of the Feast of the Assumption yesterday was from Revelation 11:19, "Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple;” followed by the famous Marian passage of Revelation 12 in which Our Lady, the New Ark of Covenant, appears in her assumed body in heavenly glory: "A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth."

Devotion to Mary, my dear brothers and sisters, is not a "superstitious thing invented by the Catholic Church," as some evangelical, bible Christians have erroneously claimed. It is in fact a very scriptural thing!

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