Mary, The Ark of the Covenant
A covenant is often defined as a binding contract. Many use contract and covenant interchangeably. However, a contract is a legal document which clearly outlines the terms of agreement and the penalties if they are breached. Some view marriage as a legal document that can be easily broken with little consequence. That is inaccurate from the Catholic perspective, but I’m not going there now. From the religious perspective a covenant is sacred and its breach has consequences to the soul and in eternity. Marriage in most religions is a sacred covenant not a legal contract.
In biblical history there were five important covenants between God and his people. The first was with Noah and the promise to never again destroy the world by flood. Next came the covenant with Abraham that despite his barren state he would become the father of many nations. The covenant with Moses outlined the ten commandments as a guide for a moral way of life. King David was promised that the Messiah would be from his bloodline. Jeremiah described a covenant that would emerge with the arrival of Messiah, Jesus.
Noah was directed by God to build an Ark to save the righteous and again in the days of Moses, Moses was ordered by God to build an Ark to store the tablets of the commandments. It was to be made of acacia wood, covered inside and out with gold. On the top were two angels facing each other with an open space between them. This space was known as the “mercy seat”, the place from which God spoke and the priests sprinkled it with the blood of a sacrificial lamb to atone for sin. Within the ark were not only the tablets of the law but a jar of manna (the bread fromHeaven) and the rod of Aaron which symbolized the leadership of the priesthood.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is often referred to as the Ark of the Covenant. The original ark has been lost for thousands of years, but Mary is the New Ark. From within her being was born the Messiah, son of God, descendent of David, who speaks with the physical body that she gave Him. His blood, from her blood was sprinkled on her as she stood at the foot of the cross and received his broken body into her arms. He is the sacrificial lamb who atones for our sins and saves the righteous. In the Eucharist, her son is manna to all who are prepared to receive him. He is our eternal high priest who continues in every Mass to be offered again and again in atonement for sin. In every way she reflects the original Ark.
No more worthy vessel could be created to contain the sacrificial Lamb of God. The first ark was made by human hands. Mary was created by the hand of God. At her conception she was preserved from all stain of sin in order to the receive the Holy One into her womb. She is a living tabernacle containing God Himself. Often the Father allows this pure Ark to speak on His behalf to draw souls to her Son that they may access his mercy through repentance. Mary, the Ark, is the Mercy Seat through which God can dispense his mercy to all who seek it.
Jesus gave his sinless mother to us on calvary. Always thinking of us, he gave us into her care that she might guide us to God’s mercy seat. For the Divine Trinity has no greater desire than to draw all his children into his heart.
Mary, Ark of the Covenant, still brings to us her Jesus and his mercy. Well does she merit being drawn into the bosom of the Trinity on the day of her Assumption.