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June 30th, 2012

Why is Mary called The Ark of The Covenant?

Mary The Ark of The Covenant

Though many titles have been bestowed on the Blessed Mother, the one title that evolves itself as we journey from the Old testament to the New testament is – The Ark of the Covenant.

The Israelites held The Ark of the Covenant in high esteem. So sacred was it considered that the Lord God set up a separate tribe to carry it. Duetronomy 10:8 – “At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day.”

Of the many verses which tell us about the Ark of God’s covenant let us focus on what St. Paul in his letter to the Hebrews says about the Ark of the Covenant and the contents inside it. This is what he says in Hebrews chapter 9 verse 4. “Having the golden altar of incense and the Ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant”.

To sum up therefore the Ark of the covenant of the old testament was house to the manna that the Israelites were fed with in their days of wandering in the desert apart from Aaron’s rod and the tables (the book of laws) of the covenant.

Why is Mary the Ark of New Covenant?

When we recite the litany of Our Lady we acknowledge the Mother as being the Ark of the Covenant. Why is this so? The manna, Aaron’s rod and the tables of the covenant all point to a single person and that is Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is (a) the Bread of life that came down from heaven, (b) the High Priest who offered his holy blood for the atonement of the sins of humankind and (c) the fulfilment of all the laws. Therefore the Blessed Mother who carried Jesus in her womb is the Ark of God’s New Covenant with mankind, the covenant which is sealed with the blood of Christ.

Verses showing Mary as the Ark of Covenant

Some verses which support the claim that the Blessed Virgin Mother is indeed the Ark of the New Covenant are 2 Chronicles 6 :41 and Psalms 132:8 “And now arise, O LORD God, and go to thy resting place, thou and the Ark of thy might.” These verses clearly indicate how Jesus the Son of God and the Son of Mary would honour his mother – the Ark. He intended to honour her by taking her to heaven in much the same way as he himself went. Another verse that supports this claim is the Revelation given to St. John the Apostle whom the Mother adopted as her son at the foot of the Cross.

Revelations 11:19 “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the Ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.” Since the Ark of the Covenant was a sign and a very important one at that, Revelations 12:1 “ And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars, refers to the Ark of the Covenant and the 12 tribes of Israel.

Joshua 4: 9 reveals an incident which when read along with verses from the Acts shows us the connection between the Mother and the Ark of the Covenant “ And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the Ark of the covenant had stood.” Acts 1: 13-14 “And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.

All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place”.Now we all know that when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan the Father let the Holy Spirit descend on him.Therefore the Jordan in the verse above symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit and when does the Holy Spirit descend? when the twelve priests and the Ark of the covenant are together. i.e. when the twelve apostles and the Blessed Mother are together.

Read Mary’s Faith: A Model For The Church

The Bible shows us two distinct sets of people and their experiences concerning the Ark of the Covenant . 1 Samuel 3:3-4:- The lamp of God had not yet gone and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the Ark of God was . 4. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” 2 Samuel 6:12 It was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of O’bed’dom and all that belongs to him because of the Ark of God.”

The above passages from the old testament testify the fact that God blessed all those who were in close proximity to the Ark of the Covenant and revered it. When we meditate on the glorious mysteries of the Rosary we meditate on the Pentecost. The message conveyed by the Pentecost is very simple – all those who maintain close proximity with the Blessed Mother and revere her will be blessed.

Punishment for disrespecting The Ark of Covenant

Now let us examine what happened to those who dealt disrespectfully with the Ark of God. 1 Samuel 5:1-2,6. When the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the Ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod and he terrified and struck them with tumors, both in Ashdod and in its territory.

Here Dagon the God of the Philistines symbolizes Satan. If God were to deal so severely with people who dared to capture and place his Ark (made of earthly materials) alongside the unholy Dagon and thereby insult it, how much more severely would he deal with those who dare to insult the Blessed Mother (The Ark of the New Covenant) made by him in his own image and likeness and chosen to be a part of the divine plan of redemption.

1 Samuel 5:4 makes interesting reading “But when they rose early on the next morning, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the Ark of the Lord and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off upon the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him.If Satan is not able to stand his ground against the Ark of the Old Covenant how much more will his feet not stagger in the presence of the Ark of the New Covenant.

The Blessed Virgin Mother has been given to us as a powerful advocate against Satan. She is someone before whom the power and weapons of Satan pale. Let us seek her assistance sincerely in our fight against the enemy, for she has been given to us as help and protection against the forces of evil.

– – – written by Lajan Miranda

June 16th, 2012

Prayer To The Immaculate Heart Of Mary

Prayer To The Immaculate Heart Of Mary

Today, 16th of June, 2012 is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Heavenly beauty and splendor of the Father,
You are the most valued Heavenly treasure.

New Eve, immaculate in soul, spirit and body,
Created of the godly seed by the Spirit of God,
You are the spiritual Mother of mankind.

Pure Virgin, full of grace then and now,
Your whole being was raised Heavenly in full glory,
To be elevated above all the hosts within the Kingdom of God.

O Heavenly Mother, Queen of Heaven and earth,
I recognize the glory of your highest title,
The Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Loving Mother, dispenser of endless blessings,
You who continuously intercedes on our behalf,
Please present my need before your loving Son Jesus.

(In your own words, make your special request here. Do not just mention a word. Speak to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as you would speak to another person, begging your Heavenly Mother to plea to Jesus on your behalf, that you be granted this special request.)

O Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I know that you are now presenting my need before Jesus,
For you have never turned away those in dire need.

Mother dearest, I await your favorable answer,
Submitting myself to the Divine will of the Lord,
For all glories are His forever and ever.
Amen!

June 14th, 2012

How To Imitate Mary

How to imitate Mary

Mary is not only a mediator for us but also a model to be imitated in our life.

The greatest gift Jesus has given us is the gift of the Holy Spirit. No doubt, the second greatest gift is His own mother. He has not simply recommended His mother for helping us, but in his great generosity we were elevated to the status of her dear children. Therefore, as her children we can freely approach her for all our needs. That is why we pray to mother Mary.

Imitating Mary

To imitate Mary’s love we best contemplate the activity of the Holy Spirit within her:

1. By Understanding she understood God’s holiness and loved Him as a Father. May the light and joy of the Daughter of the Father also motivate us to praise and glorify God supremely.

2. By Wisdom, Mary the Virgin consecrated herself unconditionally to God in the service of the Kingdom and became the Mother of God. Let us also desire the coming of the Kingdom and surrender ourselves wholeheartedly to divine providence.

3. By Counsel Mary, the Handmaid of the Lord discovered her vocation and obediently accepted to become the Mother of the Redeemer. May she, our Mother, help us discern and love the will of God as it becomes manifest in our vocation and daily life.

4. By Science, Mary, Jesus’ first disciple, accepted whole-heartedly the Gospel of the Cross. May her self-renunciation in following Christ enlighten us concerning the necessity of the Cross and sacrifice as the only way to salvation.

5. By Fortitude, the Sorrowful Mother stood courageously beneath the Cross and prayed for us. May her example inspire us to be true friends and helpers to those in need.

6. By the Fear of the Lord Mary was most solicitous to please God in all things. May her loving example teach us to love the Law of God, and see in it less a restraint of freedom than a simple but profound way to express our reverent love and docility before God.

7. By Godliness Mary, the Bride of Christ, lived a perpetual union of hearts with Christ as the Temple of the Holy Spirit. May her love warm our hearts to dare to aspire to such a union of love with Christ that we might become one with Him, even as He is one with the Father (cf. Jn 17:21-22).

Mother Mary: The Co-Redemptorist

We have to recognize and honour Mary for her role as co-redemptorist in our salvation. While seeking her blessings, have we ever bothered to know what Mother Mary has to say to us? We expect that our prayers be answered but when there is delay or no response to our prayers we should try to examine why it is so.

In fact without even approaching her, our dear mother intervenes in our problem as we see her at the wedding feast at Cana. The hosts there did not approach Mary to solve the problem. She herself sensed it and acted accordingly. What did Mary tell the servants there? “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn. 2:5). That’s all she said. In order that our prayers are answered, we should also do whatever Mary’s son tell us to do. In other words, we must become His true disciples and obey his commands. “And now, I give you a new commandment; love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples” (Jn. 13:34).

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (Jn. 15:10). Jesus also told that; “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me” (Jn. 15:5). He also taught us as to how we should pray, fast, judge others, love one another and a host of other behaviours in our daily life, to become perfect like him. “You must be perfect just as your father in heaven is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).

We have to control all our emotions by the love of God and fellow beings as taught by St. Paul in Ephesians 5:2, “Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God.” Our dependence on God must be total as that alone will help us and give us strength to carry our little crosses.

We should also be humble and meek like the Lord, as “the Lord resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Prov. 3:34). Let us therefore, pray to our dear mother Mary to help us to respond to God, like her, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it happen to me as you have said” (Lk. 1:38) and lead a humble life of faith.

– – – written by N. A. Thomas, Chennai

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