How many times we have heard the story of meeting St. Peter with his famous keys at the gates of Paradise, where we would hope to be let in? And how many times have we been consoled thinking that somewhere around the corner, hidden nearby, would be Mary, our good Mother, ready to sneak us in in case St. Peter had sent us away? How truthful these kinds of stories are I cannot say; however, I can tell you that the Church has long venerated Mary under the title of “Ianua Coeli” that is, “Gate of Heaven”.
Starting from Mary’s role as mediatrix of graces, as the gate from which Heaven can pour its blessings down on earth, I would like in this meditation to reflect upon how this role befits all of us, since we are all called to intercede for each other. Have you ever heard of someone “storming Heaven with prayers” when they wanted to obtain some graces from God? Lately I have been reflecting on this statement and wondering what it could really mean. I have been thinking that it doesn’t make much sense to pray hard to try to convince God to do something good… God doesn’t need to be reminded, or taught by us about what is good for the world! I have been thinking therefore that the prayers we offer are means through which God can pour down on earth the good He has inspired us to ask. They are the “Gate of Heaven”; that is, our hearts generously attentive and open to the needs of others are the means God uses to work His wonders. We should therefore believe more in the power of our prayers of intercession. They are in fact “charged” with the Holy Spirit, since they are the fruit of our cooperation with the Almighty. These prayers allow the Lord Himself to come down from Heaven and to knock at the door of another’s heart, the heart of the person we are praying for; they allow Him to stay there patiently, while we keep praying with perseverance, and to keep knocking tirelessly until that door will open. We need to believe that our prayers will obtain the effect desired if they coincide with the grace that God has in store for that person. However, we know neither when nor how God will work His miracle; He is the one in control. We need to practice detachment from wanting to see the results of our prayers and detachment from the grace that we are asking for, since it is possible that the Lord in His wisdom will grant a different one because He sees and knows what is truly best in a given situation. Our prayers will not only help God to knock at the doors of many hearts, but will leave before those doors love letters signed by the Lord Himself, which, piling up, will eventually find a way to get in and reach the heart for whom we pray.
It is the perseverance of our faith that opens wide our hearts’ doors to let the Savior and His gifts pass through, and it is the perseverance of our faith that allows the Lord to keep knocking. Mary reminds us of our vocation as channels of grace, suggesting that we are as much effective as we cultivate in ourselves the same desires of God’s heart. She also teaches us that we should never grow weary of praying because God’s love is irresistible. Sooner or later it will break in the human heart, unless there is a very evil willingness to reject it completely.
Let us pray that this Christmas Season about to end may remind us of and endow us with trust in God’s generous heart, that for us did not spare His only Son; for it was with the gift of His beloved Son that He has granted us everything else.