It appears that my friend Abby Fuhrmann has something in common with the late screen legend Maureen O’Hara: they both found (and find) spiritual consolation in saying the “Hail Mary” before going to bed.
On this day, Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Abby reflects on the reasons for this in a blog post at “United in Love.”
Here is a brief excerpt:
This Holy Day of Obligation* commemorates that the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
If you look at the readings for the Vigil Mass and Mass during the day, you will notice a repetitive theme—the Ark of the Covenant. Why do we read about the Ark of the Covenant on the day we celebrate Mary’s Assumption into heaven?
The Church, as our mother is always teaching us, always guiding us toward deeper truths about who God is and what God does. The readings for the Feast of the Assumption seek to tell us something about Mary and her unique position as the Christ Bearer—the Theotokos in Greek.Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. She is the living tabernacle who carries the Eucharist as Christ Jesus in her womb and in her heart.
We know this by reading the Bible with the astute eyes of an early Christian. There are numerous parallels between the Ark of the Old Covenant and Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant—the one who brings Christ into the world, the one who bears our Savior. Let’s take a look at a few of these instances.
First, we should ask: what’s locked inside the Ark of the Old Covenant? The rod of Aaron who was the first high priest; the stone tablets with the 10 commandments inscribed by God; and a gold jar filled with manna, the bread from heaven (cf. Heb 9:4). Priest, word, bread.
How does this compare with what Mary carries within her womb as the Ark of the New Covenant? Jesus who is the High Priest (Heb 4:14), the Word made flesh (Jn 1:14), and the “living bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51). Priest, word, bread.
Read the whole thing for more on the theological background of this holy day.
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