Why is Mary called "gate of heaven" when Jesus says in John 10:7 that He is the sheepgate?


#1

I don't know if anyone can help me with this. I don't even know if this is the correct forum to place it. Please understand, I am not contesting anything, I just don't understand this seemingly contrasting issue and it sometimes bothers me.

I know that traditionally, Mary is often called "the gate of heaven". In her litany it is said as such. (also, please understand I have no problems with venerating Mary) I can understand how it can be* seen* that way, but I have concerns when I read in John 10:7 Jesus says this:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber/I]. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you,** I am the door** of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and [a]have it abundantly. "

In some interpretations, instead of "door" the word "gate" is used.   (I used the NAB for the quote posted above.)  I underlined and bolded that which makes me feel nervous about calling Mary "gate of heaven".    I was wondering if anyone could help me have more understanding as to why Mary is called "the gate of heaven".   When I hear priests and lay people say "To Jesus through Mary"... I think of what Jesus said here, and it makes me nervous.  

Apologies to anyone that this might offend.  I do not mean to do so.  I am just trying to understand better.   Thanks in advance.

#2

We can only get to the Father by going through the Son (hence Jesus is the gate), but Jesus only came to Earth to be able to deliver us by coming through Mary. Hence, she could be called the “gate of heaven”.


#3

To begin with, Mary, you, and me are in Jesus, for we are all members of the mystical body of Christ.

I invite you to learn more about the Symbol of the Apostles, specifically the part that speaks of the Communion of Saints.

That being said: the Litaniae Lauretanae refers to Our Lady as Ianua caeli, where the term “ianua” does indeed translate in the vernacular English as “door” but is fully and entirely different from the term employed by the Lord, “ostium”:

amen amen dico vobis qui non intrat per ostium in ovile ovium sed ascendit aliunde ille fur est et latro…qui autem intrat per ostium pastor est ovium… huic ostiarius aperit et oves vocem eius audiunt…amen amen dico vobis quia ego sum ostium ovium… ego sum ostium per me si quis introierit salvabitur…

The most simple explanation, of course is as follows: Mary is called the “Gate of Heaven” because it is through her that Jesus came into the world. :shrug:

Our Lady is also “the closed gate” of which speaks Ezechiel: “this gate shall be closed, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered in by it, and it shall be shut for the prince.” (Ezech. 44: 2-3)

St. Augustine said that all the children of God on earth are enclosed in the womb of Mary. If we consider what Revelation has to say on this, we can hardly argue or be nervous any further:

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head…She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was taken up to God and to his throne. [T]he great dragon…that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan…pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her…Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

We are the rest of the woman’s offspring, and the Woman is Our Lady and an image of the Church as well. Remember st. Paul: “the new Jerusalem is a free woman and she is our mother” - and Church Father Cyprian of Carthage who said: “He cannot have God for his Father who will not have the Church for his mother”. Distrust of Mary and distrust of the Church go hand in hand…do not doubt, for the Church does not err on teachings of faith!

The account of the devotion to Mary throughout history would not be complete if not for a third basic element: the exceptionality of the person of Mary. The affirmation of her “exceptionality” forms part of her mystery and is rooted in her sanctity which leads one to her so-called “privileges”. The bases of these “privileges” are founded on her Divine Motherhood and her cooperation in the work of redemption. In reality, these “privileges” are gifts endowed by God so that she can carry out her unique and universal mission. The existence of these privileges or prerogatives is not a “superfluous” doctrine nor a theological opinion. They are necessary to preserve the integrity of the Christian faith. …] Since the fourth century, together with the privileges already mentioned (ever-virgin and most holy), the affirmation of her other privileges proceeded. Concretely, themes about her Dormition or her Assumption, her preservation from all sin including original sin, her task as Mediatrix, and her Queenship were developed. Along these lines, St. Modest de Jerusalem, St. Andrew of Crete, St. German of Constantinople, St. John Damascene, and the Fathers of the last centuries of the patristic period who studied in depth these privileges merit special attention. (source)


#4

Mary came first to this world. It is through Mary that Jesus was given to us to open the Gates of Heaven! It is through her surrender to God, and humble obedience that Jesus was brought into our world. Mary is not competing against Jesus. She is 100% team Jesus! She is the gateway through which we pass to meet Jesus who opened the gates of Heaven for us!!!! :thumbsup:

God is all about community, and unity. He wants us to help in all his miraculous blessings he bestows upon us! He wants us to enter into the building up of His Kingdom. He wants us to share in the salvation of souls by our testimony, and the action of the Holy Spirit. He uses our hands & feet! He calls us all to action, to participate. This is what Mary does for Christ. She says yes to all that He asks of her!

The sheep thief cannot pass through the pen door because it is guarded. The guard would not let him in! that is why he climbs the fence. A good analogy is that Mary entered the sheep pen with Jesus. She herded the sheep towards Jesus, and they followed his voice. Mary encourages the sheep to stick close to Jesus, and always be heading in His direction. :)


#5

What I kinda wonder about is why some assume that once a metaphor is applied to God, it somehow becomes exclusive, so if Christ is the "gate", there can be no other "gate" or if he's the "morning star" then there can be no other "morning star."

I can't find any biblical principle that actually prohibits metaphors from being applied to multiple people.

Christ is a "rock". Well, so is Peter, by his very name.

Christ is the Morning Star. Sure, after all the Morning Star is a powerful symbol of light. But Mary is the Morning Star too, because the morning star is a weaker light preceding the Sun, which can be a metaphor for Christ as well.

Christ is the door or gate, because no one comes to the Father except through him. Well, Mary is a gate as well because it was through her that Christ came into the world, and by her intercession brings men to Christ.

Why should metaphors be exclusive to God? There's no law or rule that commands this.

:shrug::shrug::shrug:


#6

[quote="porthos11, post:5, topic:326761"]
What I kinda wonder about is why some assume that once a metaphor is applied to God, it somehow becomes exclusive, so if Christ is the "gate", there can be no other "gate" or if he's the "morning star" then there can be no other "morning star."

I can't find any biblical principle that actually prohibits metaphors from being applied to multiple people.

Christ is a "rock". Well, so is Peter, by his very name.

Christ is the Morning Star. Sure, after all the Morning Star is a powerful symbol of light. But Mary is the Morning Star too, because the morning star is a weaker light preceding the Sun, which can be a metaphor for Christ as well.

Christ is the door or gate, because no one comes to the Father except through him. Well, Mary is a gate as well because it was through her that Christ came into the world, and by her intercession brings men to Christ.

Why should metaphors be exclusive to God? There's no law or rule that commands this.

:shrug::shrug::shrug:

[/quote]

I agree completely.

The use of phos in the NT can cast a little light. Jesus says of Himself, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12). He also says to his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” (Mt 5:14).

The Greek word themelios means “foundation” and in the extended metaphorical sense can refer to Christ (1 Cor 3:11), the apostles (Eph 2:20), and doctrine (Heb 6:1).


#7

Thanks all,

This really helped me.   I tend to get nervous from time to time, falling back on old beliefs from the time I was a Protestant.   

That’s a good point you brought up porthos11! I guess if someone is a part of Christ’s body, then they too are a type of gate for anyone to Him as they are connected to Him? Or is that taking it too far?


#8

[quote="AnneElizabeth, post:1, topic:326761"]
I don't know if anyone can help me with this. I don't even know if this is the correct forum to place it. Please understand, I am not contesting anything, I just don't understand this seemingly contrasting issue and it sometimes bothers me.

I know that traditionally, Mary is often called "the gate of heaven". In her litany it is said as such. (also, please understand I have no problems with venerating Mary) I can understand how it can be* seen* that way, but I have concerns when I read in John 10:7 Jesus says this:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber/I]. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you,** I am the door** of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and [a]have it abundantly. "

In some interpretations, instead of "door" the word "gate" is used.   (I used the NAB for the quote posted above.)  I underlined and bolded that which makes me feel nervous about calling Mary "gate of heaven".    I was wondering if anyone could help me have more understanding as to why Mary is called "the gate of heaven".   When I hear priests and lay people say "To Jesus through Mary"... I think of what Jesus said here, and it makes me nervous.  

Apologies to anyone that this might offend.  I do not mean to do so.  I am just trying to understand better.   Thanks in advance.

Mary and the Church all act within the same function. Pope John Paul II had written that the Church has a Marian character attached to it. We come to Jesus not on our own but in and through the Church. In the same manner one can say this about Mary. Both the Church and Mary can be considered to be this "gate of heaven". I remembered someone saying to me that Jesus was the door and Mary was the key to help us open that door. Again in like manner the Church which is Marian in structure is the key to open to us this door.

[/quote]


#9

#10

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