Mary and the "Holy of Holies"

I thought I had read St. Alphonsus calling Mary the “Holy of Holies”. This makes sense to me because she is where we find Christ, our God. Is there any problem with calling Mary this? I know she is the Ark of the New Covenant.

If you get a chance, take a visit to Lancaster PA to the Biblical Tabernacle recreation. They re-created the tabernacle including the holy of holies. Once you see it and meditate on the biblical references and the way that Jesus described himself in relation to it, all will make sense (especially the tearing of the veil of the tabernacle).

So no, no problem, but a visit will help you understand why. Not everything translates into words.

Thanks for the help. I wish I could go but I’m chronically ill and homebound. But that’s okay by because I have Christ through Mary, which also cannot be translated through words :slight_smile:

I love the Blessed Mother and would defend her at every opportunity, **BUT this, I have to disagree. **

The Blessed Mother is immaculately conceived, yes. She was assumed into Heaven body and soul, yes. She is BLESSED amongst all women. She is the ark of the new covenant. Yes to all. Why? All because of Jesus Christ.

The earthly sanctuary is a copy of the true one. The Holy of Holies is a pattern of the Heavenly Sanctuary…

Mary is in Heaven, but she is NOT Heaven.

Our faith should be centered on GOD. Prayers to the Blessed Mother and saints for intercession are very helpful but Catholics must learn to pray directly to God. When I first came into the Church, I was shocked when I met many Catholics who only pray to the Blessed Mother – not fully understanding the victory of the cross and God’s LOVE for us.


I agree that Mary’s role is to bring us to God, and that she is a creature. I agree that Mary’s roles is entirely dependent on the grace of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior. My understanding of Mary is trying to be grounded in the teachings of saints like St. Alphonsus and St. Louis DeMontfort and the Catechism… I believe that Mary is our only way to Jesus. She is the Mediatrix of all Graces. As the Ark of the Covenant, she is the place where God is. And in that sense, she is Heaven, as I see it. Jesus also is the Ark of the Covenant, and the Holy of Holies–Mary-- is the place where the Ark is.

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To say that Mary is our ONLY way to Jesus is wrong.

I don’t see that. Maybe we are miscommunicating. Mary is the Gate of Heaven and is the Mediatrix of All Graces. So our relationship with Christ is mediated entirely through her.

However true that may be, it is not necessary for the believer to assent to that.

Jesus Christ, according to the Council of Trent is our sole mediator before God Almighty.

St. Aphonsus Liguouri often writes more in a devotional vein than a doctrinal one.

I know that St. Maximillian also says that the Holy Spirit’s actions and Mary’s actions are completely one. That the Holy Spirit works only through Mary. Of course all of this is based on the grace of Jesus Christ, the One Mediator between us and God the Father. St. Louis and St. Bernard say that we need a mediatrix with Christ because He also is God.

Do you have any problem with seeing Mary as the “Holy of Holies”?

The distinction I was trying to make was that the Magisterium teaches within the Church. Saints writings are often helpful, devotional and elucidating, but must not be confused with the teachings of the Magisterium as far as Church doctrine goes.

For example, the Saints going back to early Church Fathers taught the Immaculate Conception. However it was not a doctrine of the Church until fairly recently.

Right. I get that. I mean, I’m not saying that the Church teaches that Mary must be identified with the Holy of Holies. I just wanted to make sure there isn’t anything contrary to Catholic teaching in saying this. And I don’t see how there could be, since Mary is the Ark of the Covenant.

Hi, our Blessed Mother is not the gate of Heaven. Jesus Christ is. The Doctrine of the Catholic Church and/or approved private revelation/s do not contradict the Holy Scriptures.

Jn 10:9 “I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
Jn 14:6 “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”


I don’t think it’s an either/or. Everything Mary is comes from Christ. Both Mary and Jesus are the Ark of the Covenant. In the Littany of the Blessed Virgin she is called the Gate of Heaven. St. Alphonsus also calls her that I believe, and he’s a doctor of the Church. Probably St. Louis does too.

I’ll stay with the Scriptures and the Marian Dogmas. Divine Motherhood; Perpetual Virginity; Immaculate Conception, Assumption.


Please understand that the quote you have provided has Jesus describing himself by using a metaphor ( a door ). There is nothing wrong with using this same metaphor for Mary, or at least a similar one, a gate. Just because a metaphor has been used once, doesn’t meet it is exclusive.

Jews would have keenly understood the metaphor of describing Mary as the arc of the new covenant, just like we understand what a gate is.

Describing Mary as the Holy of Holies just means that she is the most holy, since the original language had no superlative. It described the most holy place - the most inner room of the tabernacle. This is the same as her being addressed as blessed amogst women. Again an awkward translation from a language without superlatives. That is essential for understanding the meaning. These are just phrases used when the language has no superlative.

Speaking metaphorically of our lady as the Holy of Holies makes perfect sense. We could say that she is the new temple, or the new tabernacle,or the new holy of holies, it all means the same thing. It is a metaphor. She has replaced the man-made temple where God chose to live. The veil has been torn and God no longer lives in the temple. He chose to live in Mary. She is not only metaphorically, but literally the place where God resided. Understanding her as a new holy of holy room, like the temple inner room, is quite fitting indeed.

To further the analogy, maybe we could say that she is the new temple and her womb is the new inner room of the temple, the holy of holies.

As I learned at the tabernacle recreation though, these words have many meanings and can be used interchangeably.

Thank you OP. It is a wonderful thing to contemplate.

I will respond to this later.

Again, this is an untrue statement.

While “Jesus as the door” seems like metaphor, Jesus is truly the door, similar to Eucharistic bread and wine that are truly His flesh and blood. In the end, Jesus takes us to Himself and delivers His kingdom to God the Father.* Jn 14:3, 1Cor 15:24*. With that said, I do believe that the Virgin Mary and the saints are powerful intercessors. But to me, titles like Holy of Holies and The Gate of Heaven are a bit of a stretch and not defined dogmas of the Catholic Church.

This brings me to the original painting of the Divine Mercy where Jesus is standing under an arched doorway.


The Temple is the body of Jesus. Jn 2:21 “he was speaking about the temple of his body.” The veil that was torn is Jesus’ flesh. Hebrews 10:20 “by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh” - which was wounded for the transgressions. Like the high priest who offered the sacrifice of blood before the mercy seat, Jesus, the High Priest offered His blood as a perpetual sacrifice.


Right and that’s fine. Likewise, to my knowledge, there is no Catholic doctrine that it is wrong to see Mary as the Gate of Heaven or the Holy of Holies.

You’re welcome. And thank you, Frankenfurter. That is beautiful and helpful and confirms what I believe. I also believe that Mary’s Immaculate Heart is the Holy of Holies, the place where Jesus lives, and where we live.

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