Mary venerated as the new Ark of the Covenant?

I have seen many reasons why Mary means so much to Catholics, but I very rarely see this one. I heard this from Scott Hahn on EWTN many years ago and it made so much since to me. If the old Ark was worthy of reverence, how much more should we reverence the new Ark made of flesh: Mary the Mother of God. I just wonder what others think about this belief taken from the book of Revelation and do they know more about it?

Your brother in Christ

“If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.” --Saint Catherine of Siena

Edward Sri has done a EWTN series on the Blessed Mother, with part of it being about your subject. I believe it’s all available for reading also.

It was convincing to me. He presented it very well, and it made perfect sense.

Welcome my Brother in Christ: The thinking on this topic comes from the well known “types” seen in sacred scripture where something from the Old Testament can later be found revealed in the New Testament. The Arc of the Covenant was the most sacred thing our Jewish ancestors had. It was so sacred because it contained the word of God, the Torah. It was so sacred that as I recall only one Jewish high priest could go into the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place in the Temple where the Arc was kept, and only once a year. No one else went in there at any other time.

In the new covenant, The Blessed Virgin Mary, most particularly her womb, was the sacred receptical for the “Word” of God, Jesus Himself. Through her the “Word”, God Himself, entered the world as a man to redeem us.

Another biblical “Type” concerning Mary is reference to her as the “New Eve”. Just as by the power of the devil himself, evil entered the world and brought death to mankind through the original Eve, mother of us all, through the “New Eve”, the Blessed Virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit, goodness Himself, in the person of Jesus entered into the world and brought life for us, making Mary the spiritual mother of us all. That does not make her a godess, but makes her “Blessed among women” and worthy not of our worship, but of our veneration and respect.

I hope this answer is helpful, and I encourage you to search for other biblical “Types”.

God Bless You, and welcome to the forums.

A study of the ark of the covenant in Exodus (starting at chapter 25) would be helpful, too. The material God commanded it be made of, the things God commanded be put onto it, how it was to be handled, what things were to be placed within it, the dedication of it and its placement in the tabernacle, the overshadowing of it by the Glory of God, etc. are all types of Mary’s role as the Ark of the Covenant that St. John alludes to in Revelation.

We have to remember that St. John was a son of Israel who had a mystical understanding of Christ and everything to do with him, including Mary’s place within the life of her Son and of the Church. Those versed in the Law would understand what he was describing in Revelation and why.

An article to get you started: Mary the Ark of the New Covenant in the Gospel of Saint Luke.

Oh yes Mother Mary is the new arc! At Lourdes France there is a HUGE underground cathedral that is built in the shape of an upside down arc. When I did my pilgramage there I was inside it and I can say that its is VAST and it is a good metaphor for how Mother Mary is our arc and refuge in these last and difficult times.

The Queen of Heaven has been very merciful to me personally and I owe her a great deal. I hope she counts me worthy to be one of her servants.

Blue Knight

The “ark” of the Old Testament is very much resembled the tabernacles that are in every church. Since the tabernacle is the dwelling place of Our Lord, just as Our Lady was the dwelling place of the God Incarnate, therefore that is why she is considered the New Ark of the New Covenant. Is this thought relevant and in tune with the teachings of the Church?


May each of us also become a worthy ark for Our Lord’s dwelling and resting place. Our Lady of the ark of the new covenant, pray for us!

From the Eastern understanding…

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (7/98)
**November 21 **
**A Meditation **
by Mary Grace Ritchey

On the first Sunday of Lent, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the kontakion reminds us of the reason we venerate the Virgin Mary and why Icons of Christ and the saints can be used: The infinite word of God became circumscribed when He was incarnate in you, O Mother of God. He restored our corrupt image to its former beauty by joining it to the divine splendor. Wherefore we now proclaim our salvation and make it known by word and deed.
Mary was the first to be restored to the image and likeness of God and this feast points out by word (“the icon corresponds entirely to the ‘word’ of scripture”-p.10 Theology of the Icon by L. Ouspensky) and deed (the prayers of Liturgy) some explicit instances of this story.
The origin of this feast can be found in the Protevangelion of James. Mary was brought to the Temple by Joachim and Anne at the age of three to be consecrated to the service of God. Preceded by young girls with lighted candles ( often shown in this icon), she entered into the Holy of Holies. The account tells that Mary danced before the Ark of the Covenant. In Archbishop Raya’s book Theotokos (p. 96) he says: We are totally convinced that Mary’s supreme dignity as future Bearer of God merits her not only to enter the Temple but to penetrate to the most sacred place of the Temple, the “Holy of Holies.” This part of the temple is called the “Holy of Holies” because it contained the “Shekhina,” the glory of God, with the Manna, the Rod of Aaron, and the Tablets of the Ten Commandments. Mary was no mere receptacle of signs and symbols, as was the Temple. She was more sacred and holier because she was to contain Glory Himself . . . (p. 96)
The theme of the feast and the Icon of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple is that this historic event marks the end of the physical Temple of the Old testament and is the beginning of the salvation plan for all humanity. Mary is the new Temple or tabernacle of the presence of God! She is the first to be a “Temple of the Holy Spirit” and at Great Vespers the cantor chants: Today let us, the faithful, dance for joy, singing to the Lord with Psalms and hymns, venerating His hollowed Tabernacle, the living Ark, that contained the Word who cannot be contained. For she, a young child in the flesh, is offered in wondrous fashion to the Lord, and with rejoicing Zacharias the Great High Priest receives her as the dwelling of God. (P. 166 The Festal Menaion)
In the reading from Exodus (40: 1-5, 9-10, 16, 34-35) we are reminded that the Israelites were led by the Tent or Tabernacle of the presence of God which contained the Ark of the Covenant containing the Manna, the Rod of Aaron and the Ten Commandments. The cloud surrounding it during the day and the pillar of fire by night signified the presence of God with the Israelites, the people of the one, true God. This portable Temple was replaced by the Temple built by Solomon. The Temple Mary enters is the rebuilt Temple of Zorobabel which no longer contained these five things found in Solomon’s temple: "Fire from on high, the Oil of anointment, the Ark, the Holy Spirit, the Urim and the Thummin (p. 153 The Meaning of Icons by L. Ouspensky and V. Lossky)."
At Orthros (Matins) the Magnificat is replaced by these words: “Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with amazement, seeing how the Virgin entered into the Holy of Holies (p. 190 Menaion ).” No one entered the Holy of Holies except the High Priest and only once a year. Yet Zacharias does not prevent Mary from entering the Holy of Holies. This mystery of the incarnation, hidden from the angelic orders, is acknowledged by the one who is to be the father of John the Baptist, Zacharias. Mary enters into the Temple to prepare herself to later become the Temple of the body of Christ and we are led to meditate on the mystery of the Church, the Body of Christ, and the Eucharist! The Theotokos (God-bearer) prepares to receive the humanity of Christ. Mary is truly the first Christian (Christian means Christ-bearer) and our model.

The scene in the icon is the inner court of the Temple. (The Temple was divided into three courts, the court of the people which was divided into men and women, the court of the priests and the Holy of Holies.) Zacharias stands on the steps and Mary stretches her hands toward him. In some icons Mary is seen a second time in the Holy of Holies being assisted by an angel. She is to be nourished by “heavenly bread.” The virgin does not look like a child except in size because already she is a “mature” or perfect person. The background shows other temple buildings.

The kontakion of the feast states: *The All-pure Temple of the Saviour, the precious Bridal Chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of the glory of God, is led today into the house of the Lord, and with her she brings the grace of the divine Spirit. Of her God’s angels sing in praise: "She is indeed the heavenly Tabernacle." (P. 195 Menaion)*

The Epistle, Hebrews 9: 1-7, describes the Tabernacle of the old covenant. The Gospel, Luke 10: 38-42; 11: 27-28, speaks of Martha and Mary. Mary is the model of “listener” of the Word of God. It also contains the mysterious words concerning the Mother of God “Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” Thomas Hopko in Volume III, The Orthodox Faith says *“This ‘glory of the Lord’ is referred to the Mother of Christ (see also Ezekiel 43: 27-44:4) and it ‘fills’ her and all people after her who ‘hear the word of God and keep it’ as the Gospel of the festal liturgy proclaims.” (P. 143) *
All icons are meditation on and symbol of the reality of the incarnation of Christ and the consequences of His incarnation for humanity. Mary, who is “full of grace” by reason that “the Lord is with you” is Temple of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, our gift from God at Chrismation is the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit into our own senses. Mary is the example of each individual’s possible theosis. We, too, are tabernacles of the Lord.

thank you, iconography is very cool. from an icon i realized that God, the infinite and un-containable, was contained in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I sometimes wonder why an upside down arc at Lourdes would have any significance for our times.

The original arc stood right side up so that the arc could fload.

I believe this arc at Lourdes is upside down because the next fload will not be of water, but of something else, that comes from the sky.

I refer to the prophecy of the Tiaga whom saw in her golden globe black air ships that spread fire on the earth and darkness.

Mary - the Immaculate Ark of the New Covenant

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