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.
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