Mary, Ark of the Covenant | Reflections from Dr. Edward Sri on the Visitation
by Teri Tolpa
As we near the celebration of the Feast of the Visitation, here is an excerpt from The New Rosary in Scripture: Biblical Insights for Praying the 20 Mysteries by Dr. Edward Sri (published by Servant Books).
Mary, Ark of the Covenant
This joy-filled reception of Mary and Jesus in the Visitation is reminiscent of the way the ark of the covenant was welcomed in the Old Testament. As Israel’s most important religious vessel, the ark carried three sacred items: the Ten Commandments; the staff of Aaron (the first high priest); and a jar containing manna (the heavenly bread that fed the Israelites for forty years in the desert (see Heb 9:4). Yet what made the ark most holy was God’s presence, which overshadowed it in the form of a cloud that filled the sanctuary…
Just as God’s presence once overshadowed the sanctuary, which housed the ark, so does the Holy Spirit now overshadow Mary (see Ex 40:34-35; Lk 1:35). As the ark carried the Ten Commandments, so does Mary carry in her womb the one who has come to fulfill the Law (see Mat 5:17). As the ark carried the staff of the first high priest, so does Mary carry within her the last and true high priest, who will offer the perfect sacrifice to redeem the world (se Heb 8:1-7). As the ark carried the heavenly bread called manna, so does Mary bear Jesus who will call himself the true Bread of Life come down from heaven (see Jn 6:48-51).
Most of all, as the ark of old bore God’s presence to Israel, Mary bears the presence of God become man to the whole world. And as the new ark of the covenant, she continues her role of bringing Christ into the world today through her powerful intercession for our lives.
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