Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Ark of the Covenant

So, first, my apologies. It has been awhile since last blog post, but in my defense, this was my first ever experience of Finals week. Now, to the point.
Something very interesing has happened to me over the past few weeks. Earlier this December, the 8th to be exact, I consecrated my life to our Blessed Mother. (Much thanks to St. Louis DeMontfort.) Ever since then, I have grown increasingly close to Christ in my devotion to her.
But then, today, after hearing our First Reading (2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8-12, 14, 16) and the Gospel today (Luke 1:26-38), I realized the amazing connection between the Old and New Testament.
Having prayed the Psalms as part of the Liturgy of the Hours for four months now, I am growing increasingly more familiar with them and the overall theme of rescue. Salvation. Freedom from captivity. It's a common theme throughout Judaism, and for the Great Psalmist, it was the pinnacle of faith: to hope in salvation.
As Christians, we believe Jesus Christ to be the Messiah prophesied by early Judaism. Yet before Christ became the Messiah, something predated even that: Christ became man. The Incarnation. St. Gregory of Nazianzus once said of the Incarnation, "What is not assumed is not redeemed." Therefore, God had to become man in order to save man.
In Samuel, it speaks of how Samuel decides to build a temple for the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Mosaic Law (the Ten Commandments), the core of Jewish belief. In Luke, the angel Gabriel comes to the Virgin Mary and reveals to her that she will conceive the Messiah, Christ. Yet Mary is still aware of something we take for granted: choice.
Many people might consider conception to be an act of choice, their choice. And while it is one's choice to attempt conception, it is not for man to control by unnatural and immoral means. Yet Mary truly did have the choice; and she chose life.
By choosing to bear this life, she brought Christ into the world with her words, "Be it done unto me according to thy word." Thus, God was made man, and dwelt first in the womb of a woman, perhaps the most sacred and blessed realm possibly to be found in this Earthly life. The irony that it is this same sacred realm we so often violate is not lost upon me.
The womb of Mary became the New Ark of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ. Samuel wanted to build a temple made of treasure to be filled with treasure. God made a woman with a womb to bear an even greater treasure. I hope other women realize just how sacred and blessed they are for this magnificent, graceful gift, but I think all of us could afford to realize just a little more how very true those words of Elizabeth are, "Blessed are you among women."

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