Pontiff Explains the Ark: God's Dwelling in a Heart

Reflects on Scriptural Image for Feast of Assumption

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that Mary as the true ark of the covenant really is the cause of our joy, since she brings the Savior to be present among us.

The Pope reflected on the image of the ark of the covenant during his homily for Monday’s feast of the Assumption.

He celebrated Mass at the Castel Gandolfo parish of St. Thomas of Villanova, which unveiled for the occasion a restored facade, returned to the original colors desired by Bernini.

The Holy Father drew from the readings from Revelation and St. Luke to offer his explanation of the Marian title «ark of the covenant.»

«What is the significance of the ark? What does it appear to be? For the Old Testament, it is the symbol of the presence of God in the midst of his people. But now the symbol has given way to reality. Thus the New Testament tells us that the true ark of the covenant is a living and concrete person: it is the Virgin Mary. God does not dwell in a piece of furniture, God dwells in a person, in a heart: Mary, she who bore in her womb the Eternal Son of God made man, Jesus Our Lord and Savior,» he said.

In the ark of the Old Testament, the Holy Father explained, the tablets of the Ten Commandments were kept, which «manifested the will of God to maintain the covenant with his people, indicating to them the conditions to be faithful to God’s pact, to conform themselves to the will of God and thus also to our most profound truth.»

But Mary as the ark, he said, received Jesus in herself: «the whole content of the will of God, of the truth of God; she received in herself him who is the new and eternal covenant.»

Little «arks»

The Bishop of Rome reflected that we are also called to become «in our modest way, an ‘ark’ in which the Word of God is present, which is transformed and vivified by his presence, a place of God’s presence.»

Further, the Pope said, we are also recipients of that «immense love» that God reserved for Mary, though she received it in an «absolutely unique and unrepeatable way.»

Mary «opens us to hope, to a future full of joy and teaches us the way to reach it: to receive her Son in faith; never to lose our friendship with him, but to allow ourselves to be illumined and guided by his word; to follow him every day, even in the moments in which we feel that our crosses are heavy,» he said.

The Holy Father stated that Mary as the ark of the covenant «in the sanctuary of heaven» shows us «that we are on the way to our true Home, to communion of joy and peace with God.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33198?l=english

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