"The Eastern Gates Of The Temple"

As I've already mentioned in an earlier image, The Eastern Gates of the Temple remained shut to everyone but "the Prince", for the glory of God had entered thereby, but between these two East Gates (outer and inner) the people would stand to worship Him (Ezekiel 46:1-3). This places the worshipper (in this superimposed image) at the foot of the Cross of Jesus the Messianic Prince of Peace.

There may also be a symbolic reference here to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who stood at the foot of the Cross with John, the beloved disciple, and with a few other faithful women. Let me explain, since I'm sure many of you are saying, "That's way too much of a stretch! How typical for a Catholic to have to bring Mary into the picture." Just bear with me for a minute, and I think it will become clear for you. Listen to what God says to Ezekiel about this wonderfully mysterious Outer Eastern Gate:

Ezekiel 44: 1-3
"Then He brought me back
to the outer gate of the Sanctuary,
which faces East;
and it was shut.
And He said to me,
"This gate shall remain shut;
it shall not be opened,
and no one shall enter by it;
for the Lord, the God of Israel,
has entered by it;
therefore it shall remain shut.
Only the Prince may sit in it
to eat bread before the Lord;
He shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate,
and shall go out the same way."

This passage symbolically points to the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ and His Incarnation through the perpetually virginal womb of the Holy Mother of God, who ever remained inviolate. For it was through Blessed Mary that God the Son, the Second Person of the Glorious Trinity, took on human flesh and entered the world to reveal the wonders of His love. It was in her womb, most blessed, that the Prince of Peace sat and "ate the bread" (so to speak) of Mary's human nature, being nourished through her umbilical cord; and it was in her womb, overshadowed by God Himself, that the God-Man was knitted together out of the immaculate stuff of Mary's DNA. And where was Jesus born, finally issuing forth from His Blessed Mother's "Vestibule"? In Bethlehem, of course, which in Hebrew means "House of Bread".

Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan, wrote in 391 AD, "Who is this gate (Ezekiel 44:1-4), if not Mary? Is it not closed because she is a virgin? Mary is the gate through which Christ entered this world, when He was brought forth in the virginal birth and the manner of His birth did not break the seals of virginity."

Similarly, Saint Augustine wrote in about 430 AD, "It is written (Ezekiel 44, 2): ‘This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it. Because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it...’ What means this closed gate in the house of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that ‘no man shall pass through it,’ save that Joseph shall not know her? And what is this - ‘The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by it,’ except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of Angels shall be born of her? And what means this - ‘It shall be shut for evermore,’ but that Mary is a Virgin before His birth, a Virgin in His birth, and a Virgin after His birth."

Protestants (among whom I used to stand) may find it a bit unnerving to learn it is precisely here, between the two Eastern Gates, where the worshippers of God are to congregate before the Altar, according to Ezekiel 46:1-3. From the Altar of the Cross, Jesus says to us all, with the beloved disciple standing in our place, "Son, behold Your Mother." Will you join your Blessed Mother at the foot of the cross in adoration of her Crucified Son? For He alone is worthy of all worship, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God In Three Persons for ever!

For those who struggle with the Catholic Church's teaching about the Blessed Mother of our Lord, erroneously thinking we worship Mary as if she was a deity, I have written a booklet, entitled "How I Came To Call Her Blessed." You may download the booklet freely as a PDF here.

Let me show you how I, as a former Protestant minister, overcame my objections and found Blessed Mary to be all the Church teaches that she is. She will help you to grow closer to Christ in unimaginable ways, as she teaches you to stay ever near the foot of His holy Cross, and to treasure the events of His Passion, Death and Resurrection in your heart and mind.

One final word about the above image is in order. This iconic representation of Mary is taken from the miraculous cloth of our Lady of Guadalupe. I chose this particular image, because it bears something in common with the Shroud of Turin; both are images made without the intervention of human hands. To read more about this image of our Lady of Guadalupe, visit the following site...

www.ourladyofguadalupe.org/

Come, let us worship the Lord;
let us assemble
between the Eastern Gates.
And may we, as children,
learn from our Blessed Mother
to adore Christ our Lord
at the foot of His Cross,
treasuring always the remembrance
of His saving wounds of Love.

Amen.

 

 
   

 

 

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