Stairway to heaven

Friends in Christ, in reading through the Old Testament,  you will read there about the great Patriarch Jacob, and there were two important events that happened to him. One was, that a Jacob met what seemed to be a man who wrestled with him,  but he said, ‘You have wrestled with God and man.’ It was a mysterious event, but many believe this was a foreshadowing of Christ.   
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The other event that happened to Jacob, is that one night he had a dream of a stairway or a ladder that reached up to heaven; angels were ascending and descending this stairway. It was a connection between heaven and earth.  That is where we get the idea of ‘Stairway to heaven.’  It is also called a ‘ladder,’ as in ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’   
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But on this Saturday of Our Blessed Mother, I thought we could take for our meditation today, some thoughts from St. John Damascene[i] on these events.  Speaking to Mary he says, ‘Mary, you are that ladder by which God comes down to us, assuming the weakness of our nature.’
‘If Jacob’s wrestling with a God-Man symbolizes Jesus, then he says, the Ladder symbolizes Mary, by means of which God comes down to earth.   
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He writes: ‘Through her, the long warfare waged with the Creator has been ended. Grace and peace were granted to us, so that men and angels are united in the same choir, and we have become sons of God. Mary became Mediatrix of all blessings, and in her, God became man, and man became God.’  
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There are many signs of Mary in the Old Testament; she is the Woman who will crush the head of the serpent; she is Jael and Judith who defeated the enemies of the People of God.  John Damascene back in the year 750 believed that Jacob’s Ladder anticipates this Divine Mother by whom heaven will come down to earth, that is, Jesus.  
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This Mother wishes always to bring Jesus down to us, we must only turn from our foolish sins, begin again, and put ourselves under her Motherly protection. St. John Damascene speaks for us when he says: ‘What is sweeter than the mother of my God? She has taken my mind captive; she has taken possession of my heart; she is on my mind day and night.   

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[i] Mary and the Fathers of the Church, p. 405-8

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