The photograph below is of the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in a darkened church at night, covered by an apparent phenomenal cloud of fire. Our Lady of Guadalupe brings the light that shines in the people who walk in darkness. (See Is 9:1). Our Lady mediates to us the light and grace of the Holy Trinity and brings us her greatest gift, her son Jesus, as the Ark of the New Covenant.
A cloud covered the Ark of the Old Covenant by day and a cloud of fire by night. (See Nm 9:15-16). It contained the presence of God through the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the Manna and Aaron’s rod that budded. (See Heb. 9:4). The carried the Ark in processions that brought them victories, particularly with Joshua at the Battle of Jericho when the walls came tumbling down. (See Josh 6).
The prophet Jeremiah later placed the Ark in a cave “to remain unknown until God gathers His people together again and shows them mercy.” (2 Mc 2:4-7). It has not been found since. We await His mercy obtained through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Ark of the New Covenant.
God told Moses that He would meet with him at the Mercy Seat on top of the Ark (see Ex 25:22) that was to be placed in the Dwelling of the Meeting tent. (See Ex 40:2-3). Moses did so and “then the cloud covered the Meeting tent and the glory of the Lord filled the Dwelling.” (Ex 40:34). At night fire was seen in the cloud (See Ex 40:38) as fire is seen in the cloud over the Missionary Image.
These outstanding events foreshadowed the Annunciation when God became Man in Our Lady, the Ark of the New Covenant. The Holy Spirit overshadowed her and the glory of the Lord filled her as His new Dwelling. (See Lk 1:35).
Just as the Ark of the Old Covenant contained the presence of God, so also did Our Lady as the Ark of the New Covenant. God became present to us in the pregnant womb of Our Lady. Jesus brought us the New Covenant of love and Our Lady brought us Jesus. It was through her that Jesus came as the new Mercy Seat and achieved eternal redemption through the forgiveness of our sins by shedding of His own blood. (See Heb 9:12). All of His merited graces are mediated to us through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Our Lady is intimately associated with the Ark of the Covenant. It is one of her titles in the Litany of Loreto. The Book of Revelation shows the association: “then God’s temple in heaven opened and in the temple could be seen the Ark of His Covenant…. A great sign appeared in the sky, a Woman Clothed with the Sun with the moon under her feet….” (Rev 11:19-12:2). The Woman was pregnant. This Woman is Our Lady of Guadalupe who appeared in this manner.