Author Topic: Pope Francis: Mary helps Christians enter heaven through the 'narrow gate'  (Read 1252 times)

evangelical catholic

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Predictably, Lutherans may have an issue with Francis' claim that the blessed virgin Mary "will help those who ask" get into heaven. Does the pope mean that by Mary's prayers for us that we can gain favor with God?  Any thoughts?

"The way to heaven is difficult and the gate to enter small, but Jesus’ mother, Mary, who herself entered through the narrow gate, will help those who ask, Pope Francis said Sunday.

Mary can be invoked under the title “Gate of Heaven,” he explained in his Angelus address Aug. 25.

“She welcomed [Jesus] with all her heart and followed him every day of her life, even when she did not understand, even when a sword pierced her soul.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary is “a gate that exactly follows the form of Jesus: the gate of the heart of Jesus, demanding, but open to all,” he said. “May the Virgin Mary help us in this.”

Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel passage from Luke, when someone asks Jesus, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”

This was a highly debated issue at the time, Francis said, and with his answer, Jesus turns the question “upside down.” Instead of focusing on the number of people who get to heaven, he speaks of the path to heaven, and how many will choose to follow it.

Using the present tense, Jesus invites people to take personal responsibility, saying, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

“With these words, Jesus makes it clear that it is not a question of numbers, there is no ‘closed number’ in Paradise! But it is a question of going through the right passage, which is there, for everyone, but it is narrow,” Francis said.

He explained that Jesus does not deceive people, he does not say that the way to heaven is a big, beautiful highway with a large door at the end, to not worry.

“No, Jesus tells us things as they are: the passage is narrow,” he said.

“In what sense? In the sense that to be saved one must love God and one’s neighbor, and this is not comfortable! It is a ‘narrow door’ because it is demanding, it requires commitment, indeed, ‘effort,’ that is a determined and persevering will to live according to the Gospel.

“For us Christians, this means that we are called to establish a true communion with Jesus, praying, going to church, approaching the Sacraments and nourishing ourselves with his Word,” he explained.

“This keeps us in faith, nourishes our hope, revives charity,” he continued. “And so, with the grace of God, we can and must spend our lives for the good of our brothers, fight against every form of evil and injustice.”

https://angelusnews.com/news/hannah-brockhaus/pope-francis-mary-helps-christians-enter-heaven-through-the-narrow-gate

Brian Stoffregen

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In support of his theory about evoking Mary to intercede for us, there is the wedding at Cana where Mary seems to pressure Jesus into working the miracle that happened there.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dave Benke

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I love the image of Mary Gate of Heaven.  And even as we are bearers of Christ - Christophers - as Mary carried and bore our Lord, we can follow the path of discipleship and love she carved for us.  The energy is all grace, and all God and all in Christ, but we've just finished a whole set of lessons from Hebrews 11 about heroes of the faith, of which Mary is at the head of the class.

Near my congregation, in the lovely named neighborhood of Ozone Park, is the Roman Catholic parish Mary Gate of Heaven.  For many, many years Joe Torre's sister, Sister Marguerite, was the principal at the neighboring school, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also in Ozone Park.  Back in the day that area had pretty much a zero crime rate, because the neighborhood was owned and operated by John Gotti.  All crime was organized.  Which is a better deal for average citizen instead of dealing with random disorganized crime.

Dave Benke

J. Thomas Shelley

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The Orthodox 6th Hour Prayer to the Theotokos conveys strong allusions to the Wedding Feast of Cana:

Quote
As there is no boldness in us because of the multitude of our sins, do thou, O Virgin Theotokos, intercede with the Son whom thou hast borne, for the entreaty of a mother has great power to win the favour of the Master. Despise not, O all-venerable Lady, the prayers of sinners, for He who took upon Himself to suffer for our sake is merciful and strong to save.

It should be noted that in the daily cycle the Sixth Hour is a reflection on Our Lord's Passion and Crucifixion, when, indeed, His hour (which, at Cana, "had not yet come") "had come"...with Mary still present...and Life-giving water and blood coming forth to supply the Eternal Wedding Feast.

He saved the best for last.
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Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

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J. Thomas Shelley

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The Orthodox First-Tone Saturday Great Vespers Theotokion:

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Let us praise Mary the Virgin, glory of all the world. Born of human parents, she gave birth to the Lord, and is the doorway to heaven. The adornment of the faithful, she is hymned by the angelic hosts. For she has been shown to be heaven and the temple of the Godhead. She is the one who, breaking down the wall of enmity, ushered in peace and threw open the Kingdom. With her as the anchor of our faith, we have a defender in the Lord, to whom she gave birth. Take courage, therefore, people of God, take courage; for He, the Almighty, will defeat your enemies.


Please note that the underlined conclusion is utterly Christocentric.
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Terry W Culler

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And people wonder why some of us do not pine for Rome
Trying to be retired but failing

Steven W Bohler

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The Orthodox First-Tone Saturday Great Vespers Theotokion:

Quote

Let us praise Mary the Virgin, glory of all the world. Born of human parents, she gave birth to the Lord, and is the doorway to heaven. The adornment of the faithful, she is hymned by the angelic hosts. For she has been shown to be heaven and the temple of the Godhead. She is the one who, breaking down the wall of enmity, ushered in peace and threw open the Kingdom. With her as the anchor of our faith, we have a defender in the Lord, to whom she gave birth. Take courage, therefore, people of God, take courage; for He, the Almighty, will defeat your enemies.


Please note that the underlined conclusion is utterly Christocentric.

I wonder.  The sentence (and highlighted portion) COULD refer to Christ as being the doorway to heaven. Or (and it seems more likely, given the sentence construction) it could refer to Mary as being the doorway.  In short, I agree with Rev. Culler.

Charles Austin

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I would rather “get to heaven” through Mary and Rome, rather than through hardline, unbending, rigid, legalistic interpretation of the Lutheran confessions.
But I don’t have to take either of those routes.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

evangelical catholic

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I would rather “get to heaven” through Mary and Rome, rather than through hardline, unbending, rigid, legalistic interpretation of the Lutheran confessions.
But I don’t have to take either of those routes.

It's all conjecture. "Queen of Heaven" per Luther. My first Marian exposure was at St Augustine"s House where they ring the Angelus daily.

This is an interesting photo of St Augustine's when Bishops Aubrey Bougher and Jeffrey Bischoff, of the International Lutheran Church, visited.   
http://www.staugustineshouse.org/
« Last Edit: August 27, 2019, 03:14:12 PM by evangelical catholic »