26 September 2009

Scriptural Typology and Our Blessed Lady

God’s harmony in creating the universe mysteriously foresaw the need for a Redeemer and His helper, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sacred Scripture prefigures her in many occurrences. Here are some of those examples:

God said to Abraham: Sarai your wife you shall not call Sarai, but Sarah. And I will bless her, and from her I will give you a son, whom I will bless, and he shall become nations, and kings of people shall spring from him. ~ Genesis 17:15-16
In this passage Sarah symbolizes motherhood by means of divine interposition. Sarah was beyond the age of childbirth according to the natural law and Mary was a Virgin. Both circumstances make pregnancy unforeseen; thus, both circumstances required that the Creator of the natural law would step in and do something supernatural.

So Jael, Heber's wife, took a nail of the tent, and taking also a hammer: and going in softly, and with silence, she put the nail upon the temples of his head, and striking it with the hammer, drove it through his brain fast into the ground: and so passing from deep sleep to death, he fainted away and died. ~ Judges 4:21
By the power given to her by her Son, our Blessed Mother, the new Jael, will crush the head of the evil one prefigured in this scriptural verse by Sisera.

The canticle of Judith in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Judith gives all the glory to God for her victory. This prefigures our Lady and most especially her words in the Magnificat.

In the First Book of Samuel, chapter 25, Abigail falls at the feet of David and begs him to look past the sins of Nabal. This clearly is a look into the New and Everlasting Covenant in which our Blessed Mother pleads to our Savior on our behalf and also her mission of reconciling sinners to her Son.

There are a couple of situations in the First Book of Kings, chapter 1, which prefigure Mary. First, and very briefly, Abishag the Sunamite is ministering to the king – certainly a role that would be humbly accepted by our Lady and foretold elsewhere in Sacred Scripture: “… et in habitatione sancta coram ipso ministravi” – “… and in the holy dwelling-place I have ministered before Him” (Ecclesiasticus 24:14 & Vespers of Our Lady). Second, Bathsheba bows to the face of the earth and worships the king. Certainly our Holy Mother is no stranger to approaching the Throne and the King of kings.

In the second chapter of the Book of Esther, Esther is brought before the king and as the verse reads, “she pleased him and found favor in his sight” (Esther 2:9). Our Blessed Lady is without stain and humbly submits to the will of her Creator; therefore she is always pleasing in the sight of the King of kings – she is His masterpiece.

Denys the Carthusian wrote in his Works: “Many women have gathered together great spiritual treasures, but you, O Virgin most admirable, have surpassed them all. For if, according to Saint Jerome, no one is good when compared to God, in like manner no virgin is perfect in comparison with you.”

Mary is also prefigured by some terms used in both the Old and New Testaments like, Mount Zion (cf. Isaiah 8:18), the Chosen City (cf. 1 Kings 8:44), the Temple of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16), the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Testament (cf. Hebrews 9:3-4).

The prophet Ezekiel says something that surely turns ones reflections towards Mary when he speaks of a gate that only the Lord may enter which looks to the east (cf. Ezekiel 43:4).

She is also the Rod of Aaron that blossomed (cf. Hebrews 9:4).

The Blessed Virgin is also prefigured in the fleece of Gideon which on dry ground was moistened by heavenly dew (cf. Judges 6:37-38).

Mary is also the rod which comes forth out of the root of Jesse as prophesied by Isaiah (cf. 11:1).

She is a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up (cf. Canticles 4:12).

Beyond Scripture, surely Mary is visible to us in the works of nature. Isn’t she the Dawn preceding the Sun? She is the Star which brightens the night sky. She is the most beautiful of all flowers. She is a sweet-smelling fragrance.

A Carthusian writer exclaims that our Lady is “scattered by God throughout His creation! With a little recollection and goodwill, how easy the life of faith can become. Everything that our eyes light upon has the power to raise our hearts to Mary and, reminding us of all that is attractive in her, can inflame our souls with heavenly desires.”

In the midst of so much beauty and all that is pleasing to the contemplative way, we must, as Lanspergius the Carthusian wrote, “desire intensely to eradicate from [our] soul all that displeases [our] heavenly Mother, and to obtain from God through her intercession all that will be pleasing to her.”