The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary As Set Forth in Her Litany – Gate of Heaven

In the disobedience of Adam, mankind suffered a most serious loss. Adam, and through him all men and nations, was driven out of the Garden of Eden, whilst the gate of the heavenly paradise was closed against him. Though created for Heaven, he sacrificed his claim to it by transgressing the command of his Creator when he ate of the forbidden fruit. His posterity was condemned to the same punishment, and all the generations of men found the gate to the kingdom of Heaven shut against them.

Ere God expelled man from the garden of paradise, he gave him the promise of a Redeemer who would reinstate him in the rights to his heavenly home, would bring back blessing to earth accursed in his sin, and would reconcile him to his Creator in the shedding of His blood.

The Saviour promised by the Almighty was to be the seed of the woman. God spoke thus to the serpent: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Genesis 3:15).

A woman was to be the mother of the Redeemer. No one could enter into the celestial paradise until the Saviour should come. On conquering sin and death, He would return triumphant into heaven, from whence He descended, in order to reopen it to the children of Adam, who would avail themselves of His proffered redemption by loving and serving God faithfully. But what privileged woman was to be the Mother of Him who would liberate mankind? Since, by sin, Heaven was lost, it can be recovered by perfect innocence only, and an adequate atonement made to the justice of of an outraged God.

Heaven alone can bestow the Saviour, while the earth must open the way, be the gate, so to speak, through which He may come to earth in the fullness of time according to the secret designs of God.

That blessed among women was none other than the Immaculate Mary, the Mother of Jesus. By a special dispensation of Divine Providence she was preserved from the original stain of Adam through the anticipated merits of the passion and death of her Divine Son, the promised Redeemer. She is verily the gate by which Christ Jesus entered into the world, to do the will of His Father, to whom He had said from all eternity, “behold I come.”

Jacob, the son of Isaac, having received his aged father’s blessing went into Mesopotamia of Syria. On his way he rested and slumbered. In his sleep he saw a ladder which rested upon the earth, while the top of it reached the heavens. Angels of God came down and returned upon it. And he heard the Lord God of Abraham say to him: “In thee and thy seed all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 28:14). On awakening, Jacob said: “This is no other but the gate of Heaven” (28:17).

Not in sleep, but while in sublime contemplation of God, did Mary see descending an angel from Heaven, who told her that she was found pleasing to the Lord her God because she was full of grace, and that she was chosen of all women to be the Mother of One through Whom all the peoples of the earth are to be blessed.

Her consent is awaited. She must open the way and allow the Just One to come into the world, for she is “no other than the gate of Heaven.” Speak! Oh Mary, speak the word and let the gate of Heaven stand wide open! She spoke it: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word,” the gate was opened and the Emmanuel came unto us.

Arising from prayer, she hied herself to the home of her cousin, Saint Elizabeth, who greeted her as she entered under her roof: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” Jesus, “and whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42-43). Then it was that Mary burst forth in that sublime inspired anthem: “My soul doth magnify the Lord,” and “all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:46,48). Truly all the generations of men and all the choirs of angels will proclaim her blessed, who is “no other than the gate of Heaven,” the Virgin of Virgins, the Mother immaculate of the promised Redeemer.