During my childhood I used to recite the rosary and other prayers daily with my family. One of the prayers was the litany of Mary, which consist of a long series of invocations to Mary under different titles, and to which we responded, ‘Ora pro nobis’ (pray for us). Some of the Marian titles include the following:
- Gate of heaven.
- Morning star.
- Health of the sick.
- Refuge of sinners.
- Comforter of the afflicted.
- Help of Christians.
What an exalted view of Mary! It is no wonder that as a young Catholic I looked up to her for my physical and spiritual needs, as countless millions of Catholics do. She is the gate, and I hoped that after death I would enter heaven through her. St Louis de Montfort says that ‘through her, Jesus came to us; through her we should go to him.’
In the Scriptures we discover a different picture. All those titles really belong to someone else. They are all titles of the Lord Jesus.
- Gate of heaven: Jesus said, ‘I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved’ (John 10:9).
- Morning star: ‘I, Jesus ... I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star’ (Revelation 22:16)
- Health of the sick: ‘I am the LORD, your healer’ (Exodus 15:26).
- Refuge of sinners: ‘On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God’ (Psalm 62:7).
- Comforter of the afflicted, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me’ (Psalm 23:4).
- Help of Christians: ‘Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life’ (Psalm 54:4).
The Scriptures point to the Lord Jesus as the gate, the morning star, healer, refuge, comforter and helper. Mary entered into heaven through him. We must do likewise. There is no other way to enter heaven.