Litany of Loreto – Ark of the Covenant
These words from St. Gregory Thaumaturgus in the third century reflect an understanding of Our Lady that goes right back to the beginning of Christianity. In Luke’s Gospel, there are clear parallels between Our Lady and the ark of the covenant. In the hill country of Judea, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of her cousin Mary, the babe leapt in her womb. Elizabeth exclaimed ‘why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’ and Mary remained with Elizabeth for three months before returning home (Luke 1). Compare this with the account of King David and the ark (2 Samuel 6). When he manages to retrieve the ark after its capture by the Philistines, he leaps and dances before it. He says “how can the ark of the Lord come to me?” and he takes the ark to Abu Ghosh, a village in the hill country of Judea and the ark remains there for three months.
The relationship between Our Lady and the ark is also seen in the book of Revelation:
“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child” (Revelation 11:19–12:2)