Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Testimony of the Ark's Repetition-Compulsion: A Case Report

Dr. Freud (yes, that rascally Sigmund fellow) said it:  “We may assume that as soon as a given state of affairs is upset, there arises an instinct to recreate it, and phenomena appear which we may call 'repetition-compulsion' (quote from "New Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis," chap. 4). " In essence, the idea is that the unconscious mind is veritably compelled to revisit an earlier affective relationship of great significance, through means of an analogous relationship belonging to the present.   Among us poor miserable sinners, the repetition-compulsion could represent an attempt to assert a psychic mastery over a situation we had once found threatening to body and peace of mind.  We try it all over again, neurotically using our unwitting acquaintances as bit players ... or our convenient punching bags ... in our pathetic effort to re-run life.  "THIS time we'll get it right."    We lie.  Usually, we undermine ourselves  in some perverse way, so as to make absolutely certain that we don't "get it right."   We're actually quite comfortable with flagellating ourselves; or maybe better said, we're absolutely comfortable with the security to be found in the oh-so-familiar, no matter how ghastly the familiar might be.   Chances are great, though, that we're especially comfortable with blind-siding and punishing the bit-players caught up in our expertly produced soap-operas.  Misery loves company, after all.  Then, too, the womanly reshaping of yet ANOTHER alcoholic and violent boyfriend, each possessing that mesmerizing dimple and dazzling grin of the dad who abused us as a child, is no easy task.  So we can point to our self-righteousness in all this, assumed through our raggedly dismal  failures at total control:  "Well, at least we TRIED."  Then we move on to the next cleft chin.  But bumbling Adam is no less susceptible to the delusional game, than Eve.

But folks, more grandly and far more Truth-full, the repetition-compulsion is God faithfully fulfilling His Scripture in the life of His dear Son, Jesus our Lord.  After all, the Incarnate One was exceedingly clear and jealously firm about it:  The Scriptures speak about Him (“And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in ALL THE SCRIPTURES the things concerning Himself.”  Lk 24:27, Authorized Version; emphasis supplied).   For all the prophets’ (and the Word’s!) testimony to be validated, there would have to be a lot of repetition to be found, in the narrative of Lord Christ come to earth.

The psychoanalytic concept of repetition-compulsion is elaborated in some detail in Freud’s study entitled “The ‘Uncanny’” (Collected Papers, Vol. IV).  The Polycarpian sees the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Ark holding the Incarnate Holy God; and it turns out that a joyous event in St. Mary’s life bears a remarkably uncanny testimony to the past, to the Ark of olden days where God could be found, where God promised to be among His people.

In 2 Sam 6:2, we find the Ark of the Lord in the process of being transported to the high country of Judea.  In order to accomplish this, it is set on a new cart, evidently one fresh and unused … a most interesting detail, that thing about the new (2 Sam 6:3).  Why is the newness of the vehicle stressed, by the Holy Ghost?  In Lk 1:39, St. Mary rises to venture into “the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah (AV).”  Earlier in this chapter, we are informed by Luke that Mary is a virgin (v.27), a detail of no little importance to our God-won salvation.  She is "new" ... unused and pure, from the standpoint of sexual knowing (Lk 1:34).

In 2 Sam 6:9, David blurts out, in holy fear of his Savior-Lord, “How then shall the Ark of the Lord come to me?”  In Lk 1:41 Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, cries out loudly in perplexed holy wonder and with hauntingly similar phrasing: “And why is it granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
In 2 Sam 6:11, the Ark of God rests for 3 months at the home of Obed-edom (derivative: “servant of the ruddy, or the earthly”), before it is brought to its permanent residence; in Lk 1:56, Mary stays with Elizabeth and her husband three months, before the Virgin returns to her “own house” (AV).  Elizabeth and Zacharias not only sheltered St. Mary for a time, but were the loving and servantly caretakers of their own “miracle-child,” one who “grew and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his appearing unto Israel (Lk 1:80).”  In such climes, the Baptizer could have assumed a ruddy appearance much like that of Isaac’s Esau, whose “nickname” was … lo and behold …“Edom.”                                   
In 2 Sam 6:14,16, David leaps for joy at his encounter with God’s Ark and His Presence; in Lk 1:44, the gestating Forerunner of Christ also leaps for joy upon hearing Mary’s Good News salutation, confirming God’s miraculously conceived Presence safely sheltered within her womb.
Holy Scripture:  It ALL points to our Lord and Savior.    It's why Marcion, who despised the Old Testament as something hateful and uninspired, was a heretic fiercely opposed by the early Church of our fathers.   Why, even the pre-Christmas narratives of St. Mary in action ...  a virginal cart/body carrying the Ark/womb, which in turn holds the Testimony of the Eternal God (Num 4:5)  ... honor and recall the Old Testament's pointing unerringly to the Messiah and Rescuer of all men:  the Testimony (Word) of God, now enfleshed (Jn 1).

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