Today is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although I remain a material heretic to my friends at the University of Dallas, I will engage in thinking and reflecting on Luke 1:42-45 and of course Luke 11:27-28. Earlier in August, Pope Benedict XVI presented some thoughtful insights:
In the First Reading we heard: “God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the Ark of his Covenant was seen within his temple” (Rev 11:19). What is the meaning of the ark? What appears?For the Old Testament, it is the symbol of God’s presence in the midst of his people. However, the symbol has given way to reality. Thus the New Testament tells us that the true ark of the covenant is a living, real person: it is the Virgin Mary. God does not dwell in a piece of furniture, he dwells in a person, in a heart: Mary, the One who carried in her womb the eternal Son of God made man, Jesus our Lord and Saviour.In the ark — as we know — the two Tables of the Mosaic Law were kept. The Law expressed God’s wish to preserve the Covenant with his People, pointing out the conditions for being faithful to the pact with God in order to conform to God’s will and thereby also to our own profound truth.Mary is the Ark of the Covenant because she welcomed Jesus within her; she welcomed within her the living Word, the whole content of God's will, of God’s truth; she welcomed within her the One who is the new and eternal Covenant, which culminated in the offering of his Body and his Blood: a body and blood received through Mary.Therefore Christian piety rightly turns to Our Lady in the litanies in her honour, invoking her as Foederis Arca, that is, “the Ark of the Covenant”, the Ark of God’s presence, the Ark of the Covenant of love which God desired to establish with the whole of humanity, in Christ, once and for all.
- Pope Benedict XVI, Homily on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, Castel Gandolfo (Monday, 15 August 2011).