Mary, Ark of The New Covenant
"Then God's Temple In Heaven Was Opened And The Ark Of The Covenant Was Seen Within His Temple....And A Great Sign Appeared In Heaven, A Woman Clothed With The Sun, With The Moon Under Her Feet and On Her Head A Crown Of Twelve Stars.
(Revelation 11:19; 12:1)
Reading for The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
engraved on the ark, which is the statue's base.
August 15, 2015
Honoring Mary, Ark of The New Covenant
on The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“Statues and other iconographic images can be “windows into heaven.” When viewed in the right spirit- under the guidance of the Holy Spirit- sacred images can be glimpses into the mystery of God’s reign.”* This article is an attempt to share with the reader, an unveiling, if you will, of two new images of sacred artwork as well as a deeper contemplation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who Pope Francis states, in his Bull Of Indiction Of The Extraordinary Jubilee Of Mercy, Misericordiae, Vultus, “from the outset was prepared by the love of God to be the Ark of the Covenant between God and man.”
The statue of Mary, Ark of The New Covenant was inspired by the image of Vessel of the Preborn Jesus that my son James sketched in July 2009 and the watercolor of the same title that artist, Lea Ravotti, rendered later that year. The focus is Preborn Jesus within the womb of Mary and meditation on the pre-born aspect of Jesus’ life. Just as the umbilical cord is the lifeline between mother and child, so the rosary in the image represents the spiritual connection between Mary and Jesus and their profound relationship as mother and Son. The umbilical cord is a source of physical life and the rosary is a source of spiritual life.
As was noted in the opening paragraph, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this statue can be a “window into heaven,” most notably with the passage from Revelation 11:19; 12:1 engraved on the Ark of the Covenant, which is the statue’s base- "Then God's Temple In Heaven Was Opened And The Ark Of The Covenant Was Seen Within His Temple...And A Great Sign Appeared In Heaven, A Woman Clothed With The Sun, With The Moon Under Her Feet and On Her Head A Crown Of Twelve Stars.” This is the reading for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Combining the image of Vessel of the Preborn Jesus with features from the images ofOur Lady of Guadalupe and the Miraculous Medal, and placing Mary atop the ark, which is the base of the statue, through the grace of God, the new statue of Mary, Ark of The New Covenant was carved and, recently, through the Fiat company, replicated in custom made and painted resin, available as “The Original, Mary, Ark of The New Covenant” statue.
The new statue has traveled to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for the Defending the Faith and St. John Bosco Conferences and to the new Mary, Ark of the Covenant Monastery, in Toronto, Ohio, to name a few visits. On October 10, the statue is invited to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the 23rd International Week of Prayer and Fasting.
Accompanying the statue, more recently, has been a sacred icon commissioned by Jesus - The Divine Mercy Foundation which, providentially, was completed on Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope Francis released his Bull of Indiction for the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy. The inspiration for the icon unfolded with the intention for veneration during the Family Eucharistic Holy Hours as another “window into heaven.” Upon seeing the icon, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, M.I.C., entitled it, The Virgin Mary of Nazareth, Ark of The New Covenant, Throne of The Divine Mercy Incarnate and provided a teaching for the world.
To give all glory to God as a humble sacrifice to Him, may these new pieces of artwork help us to contemplate the preborn aspect of the life of Jesus and inspire us to visualize what the Early Church Fathers mean when they speak of the womb of Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant. Drawing on St. Augustine's teaching that, "The New Testament...lies hidden in the Old," and St. Luke's underlying suggestion in his infancy narrative that those who know the Old Testament compare Mary to the Ark of the Covenant, one can begin to contemplate how Mary was uniquely prepared to be the dwelling place of God. She is beloved Daughter of God the Father, Divine Mother of Jesus and inseparable Bride of the Holy Spirit. "No man may enter the sanctuary thus consecrated to God." (Ezek. 44:1-3)
In the Old Testament, there was no object so sacred and holy as the Ark of the Covenant. God gave specific directions to Moses on how to build the chest, or ark, to house the Ten Commandments, the tablets of the Covenant, and which later housed the manna from the desert and the priestly rod of Aaron. Let us also recall that this Ark was overshadowed by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. (Exodus 40:34) When the Israelites fled from Egypt, "the Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to give them light so that they might travel by day and night." (Exodus 13: 21-22) The same Spirit hovered over the womb of Mary, initiating the new covenant in Christ. Dr. Courtenay Bartholomew; A Scientist Researches Mary, Ark of the Covenant
Further scriptural parallels in a comparison chart may be obtained at Preborn Jesus Ministry.
Like the Israelites during the Battle of Jericho, today the battle is the Lord’s. Do you have The Ark? (Contact email@example.com)
*The 1987 publication of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Celebrating the Marian Year (CMY) and the Ceremonial of Bishops, Part VI, 18, include the order for crowning an image of the Blessed Virgin.
Family Eucharistic Holy Hour