THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY; THE GATE OF HEAVEN (PART TWO)
To continue with, the crux of this work is to elucidate on the Blessed Virgin Mary as the ‘Gate of Heaven’ and as well clarify some misconception raised against the teachings of the Catholic Church and enlighten Christians on the need to embrace the free gift God offers.
The church teaches that there are three types of honor that are due to those who are holy; the first one has to do with “Latria” which is an act of adoration or worship due to God the Holy Trinity: father, son, and the Holy Spirit alone.
The next one is termed “Hyperdulia”, an act of respect and veneration given to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The final one is termed “Dulia”, an act of respect and veneration given to all saints in heaven.
To better understand this, we should be mindful on the key terms used in explaining each term.
Always remember, Catholic do not worship Mary.
Repeat: Catholics do not worship Mary; we rather accord her with the necessary respect due her.
What make the Catholic Church exclusively different from the Protestants are its traditions and the bible, rendering it Prima Scriptura, which holds that besides canonical scriptures, there are other guides for what we believe, and how he or she should live, unlike the Sola Scriptura which centers on scriptures alone.
This is my faith and it is the faith of the church, so you either accept it or maintain it as it is.
The Blessed Mary is our Gate of Heaven. She is the key to the gates of Heaven. In the gospel according to John 10:9; Jesus Christ said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved”. Jesus is heaven’s only gate. Through him alone we can enter the house of God. Quite literary, Mary is the ‘gate’ through which Christ enters the world.
This title is one that is actually applied to her in scriptures. Ezekiel 44:1-3 records that, “then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary facing the east, but it was closed. The lord said to me: this gate must be remained closed; it must not be opened, and no one should come through it, because the Lord, the God of Israel came through it must remain closed. Only the prince may sit in it and to eat the meal in the presence of the Lord; he must enter through the vestibule of the gate and leave the same way”.
What was the holy gate through which the lord entered and which must remain closed? Who else could it be than the Virgin Mary who remained closed after giving birth to Jesus Christ. Church fathers like St, Ambrose and St, Augustine and more contemporary authorities like St. Louis de Montfort and Blessed John Henry Newman all draw the obvious inference from this text. As the Lord came to us through Mary, so must we go to Him through her.
We must think of the status “Gate of Heaven” not only for us, for the church militant but the church suffering, the poor souls in purgatory who cannot help themselves. Through her prayers many a soul at this moment will be passing through the Gate of Heaven. There is nothing our lady so much wants as our prayers and acts of virtues to enable her be the Gate of heaven and intercede for the poor souls in purgatory. So let us daily offer her petitions, indulgenced prayer and acts of self-denial, that by her aid she may deliver poor suffering souls and bring them to heaven, and then we shall find the ‘Gate of Heaven ‘ opened and the redeemed souls ready and waiting to do same good to us.
I have always considered Christianity as a “Cosseted Religion” in the sense that all that has to be provided for our salvation is made available at our beck and call. But then, the knowledge we lack and the reluctance to make use of available knowledge hinders man from this gift God offers us. Consider a scenario of an intimate relationship mothers have with their children, such moments when children share ideas and thoughts are always branded euphoric ambience and as a result bear fruit to the beneficiaries in cases when the matters concerns themselves or loved ones. What is of interest to the mother inevitably interests the son.
There are times when children are hesitant to do certain acts due to candid reasons, but at the moment when their mothers confront them to act otherwise, they do so willingly. This defines the cordial relationship mothers have with their children. So great was Mary’s charity on earth that she helped the needy without even being asked. This was in the case at the marriage feast at Cana, when she told her son that’s family’s distress. “They have no wine” (John 2:3), and asked him to work miracle. How much more you, whom Christ entrusted to her when on the cross, Jesus said into his mother, Woman, behold your son! Then said to the disciple, there is your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his house (Jn.19:26-27)” entrusting the human generation to his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. And I am convinced we become spiritually motherless when we reject the offer from Christ. St. Bonaventure applies these words to Mary. “Mary so loved the world as to give her only begotten son” the question most people asks is, has this love of Mary diminished? Absolutely NO!!! Because she is now in heaven and the love has increased; and the joy is she sees better the miseries of mankind.
Human beings are themselves standing blocks even when our mother willingly wants to become our gate to success, achievement, triumph and heaven at large. We only need to accept her consistent proposals in our heart (by doing works of charity), acknowledge her as your mother, go to her and speak to her, because she is only woman who best understands you.
Whoever you are, in this world you are tossed about on a stormy and tempestuous sea. You do not walk on solid ground. In the midst of the storm, look to the brightest star, call upon Mary. In dangers, in difficulties, in doubts, remember Mary, call upon Mary, said by St, Bernard.
If Mary supports you, you cannot fail, imploring her, you will not sink into despair, following her, you will certainly not go astray and you will not wonder after seeing her.
HAIL MARY, FULL OF GRACE, THE LORD IS WITH YOU; BLESSED ARE AMONG WOMEN, AND BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF YOUR WOMB JESUS. HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, PRAY FOR US SINNERS, NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH. AMEN!!!
BY: HILARY SAMUEL GRAVES.