The Dwelling Place of God
In recent articles I wrote about the Litany of Our Lady of Loreto. In this litany we address many titles of prayer to Our Lady, one of which is “Ark of the Covenant.” As we know from Exodus 25:10, God requested Moses to build an ark and sanctuary where he would place his presence in the midst of Israel.
At the annunciation, Mary became the “New Ark of the Covenant,” the dwelling place of the Incarnate Word of God. For centuries, Christians have assigned her the title of “Ark of the Covenant.” In her acceptance of the message of the angel, her womb was filled with the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Word made flesh, thus she became the new ark of God’s presence in the world.
In the imagery of the symbol of “The Ark” we contemplate the mystery of Mary in the Church. She is that place where we encounter the presence of God. True devotion to Mary is about how we find, in the image of Mary, the mystery of Jesus Christ.
In our prayer to Mary we do not stop with her, but rather we allow her to take us into the place of the mystery of God. Devotion to Mary alone does not accomplish anything. She is always the one who points to Jesus.
Another title in Mary’s litany is “Star of the Sea,” a light which guides us through the difficulties of life, to the safe harbor of divine love.
As we gaze upon the image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, we see the star on her veil. It gives evidence of her role in the mystery of Christ and the Church as one who guides. Her light and radiance are the light which has its origin in the one Light. She is always radiating the holy light of the Eternal One.
In her many apparitions over the centuries, Mary is preceded by light, surrounded by light, and sheds light upon everything around her. This is demonstrated in the description Juan Diego gave of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She was surrounded by light as bright as the sun and all the foliage around her was ablaze in radiant light.
Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help is a type of ark. She holds in her arms the Light of the world. As we look on her image, let us ask her to make us spiritual vessels filled with the light and energy of God’s merciful love.
Mary, Ark of the Covenant, pray for us who have recourse to you!