I remember my biggest stumbling block to joining the Catholic Church was their devotion to Mary. I didn’t get that whole “Mary thing.” I then learned the method of reading Scripture that the apostles used called typology, which illuminated my understanding of Mary. Adam was a type of Christ as shown in Romans 5:14, “Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” If Christ is the New Adam, then who is the New Eve? I learned that the early Church viewed Mary as the New Eve as well as the Church, since the Church was the new Bride of Christ and Mary was the Exemplar of the Church. Unlike Eve, who had rejected the word and will of God, Mary stands in stark contrast when she says to the angel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). When Jesus and Mary interact at the wedding feast of Cana in John 2, Jesus specifically calls Mary “woman” in a deliberate fashion, to make it obvious to John’s readers that Mary is the new “woman” at the beginning of God’s new creation in Christ.
Adam had named the “woman” Eve because she was the mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20). Mary, the New Eve, is the mother of all those born again to everlasting life. The Church is the Body of Christ, so Christ’s mother becomes our own mother. At the foot of the cross, Jesus tells John to behold his mother and John takes her into his home (John 19:27). John was the only apostle at the cross, thus representing what all true disciples ought to do, which is to follow Jesus to Calvary with Mary, behold her as our Mother, and take her into our homes.
My favorite Marian typological connection is found in Luke 1:39-45 when she visits her cousin Elizabeth and John the Baptist leaps in Elizabeth’s womb. This “leaping” is the same “leaping” that David did before the Ark of the Covenant when it was brought into Zion in 2 Samuel 6:12-15. Elizabeth’s reaction in saying, “and why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42) is the same reaction David had with the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Samuel 6:9. Just as the Ark held the law, Aaron’s priestly rod, and manna from heaven, so Mary held in her womb the New Covenant law, the new priesthood, and the new manna from heaven: Jesus. Do you remember how much the Israelites honored the old Ark of the Covenant, my son? How much more should we honor Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant?
“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, loud noises, 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” (Revelation 11:19-12:1).