Get to Heaven with the Help of Our Lady, St. Joseph and the Holy Eucharist

To give life is the greatest of all gifts; to save one is the next. Mary gave Jesus life; St. Joseph saved him.

Andrés López, “The Trinities of Heaven and Earth,” 17th century
Andrés López, “The Trinities of Heaven and Earth,” 17th century (photo: Public Domain)

Catholics especially love the Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph because we understand and appreciate their roles in God’s plan of salvation. We need not fear that such love takes away from Jesus. God chose to get closer to us through Mary, and the first miracle recorded in the Bible was through her, so it’s clear that we can get closer to Jesus by getting closer to Mary. And Joseph was the man God chose to take his place on Earth as the foster father of the Savior, so why wouldn’t we ask him to pray to God for us? 

We should especially turn to Mary and Joseph for help reaching heaven, according to missionary priest Father Joseph Aytona, who spoke about this in a recent homily during Mass at EWTN. He began with a story of a priest being called out of bed in the middle of the night to give Last Rites to a man who had been in a motorcycle accident. The man appeared not to be conscious. The priest proceeded to give him the Last Rites, but then a man on the other of the curtain separating them spoke. “You are not a priest,” the voice said. “What are you doing? He is all mine!”

“The person on the other side of the curtain was being influenced by a devil,” Father Joseph said. “He started to curse the priest out and his bed started jumping up and down and the curtain was shaking. The priest knew he had to persevere.

When the priest finished anointing the man, Father Joseph explained that the man on the other side completely stopped, and the one who was unconscious died.

“Thanks be to God the priest was able to celebrate this sacrament before he died,” Father Joseph said. “Can you imagine if that priest had waited 30 more seconds because he was in bed? For the forgiveness of sin, the sacraments are necessary.”

Father Joseph quoted Matthew 24:13: “He who perseveres until the end will be saved.” He also pointed out that, although we all need to live, well there is even a greater need to die well. The problem, he pointed out, is that people tend to enjoy worldly goods while rejecting spiritual ones.

When preaching missions, Father Joseph said he can spend 30 hours within a four-day span in the confessional. After a mission, he will hear of many people attending daily Mass and praying a daily Rosary. For a time, that is. Before long, many become lukewarm and drift away:

But all of us need an ongoing formation until we die. There will be an ongoing persecution, but will we have the perseverance to remain faithful to God? Satan wants people to die in the state of mortal sin. That is his main goal. The Devil is the father of lies and a murderer. He kills grace in the soul.

After Jesus was born, Father Joseph recalled that King Herod was jealous of the Son of God and hired murderers who killed many babies trying to eliminate Jesus:

Three days after Christmas we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents. St. Joseph had to flee to a foreign a country in the middle of the night. He had to flee to Egypt. The worst part is that the murderers were trying to attack our Lord as a baby, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Of course, they failed:

St. Joseph was the one to protect them. Joseph is the savior of the Savior. To give life is the greatest of all gifts; to save one is the next. Mary gave Jesus life; St. Joseph saved him. He alone is the savior of the Savior.

Father Joseph explained that St. Joseph is the patron of the dying because pious tradition holds that he died in the arms of Jesus and Mary — something we all should pray for. He encouraged everyone to pray to St. Joseph and to pray for all who will die this day. He also noted that if we pray a Rosary every day, at the end of each Hail Mary we ask our Blessed Mother to “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, amen.”

Father Joseph implored people not to do the bare minimum in life or the devil will have a field day tempting you to commit a mortal sin:

If you shoot for heaven and miss, you end up in purgatory. If aim for purgatory and miss, you’ll end up in hell for all eternity. He who perseveres until the end, will be saved. St. Joseph and Mary will help us with fortitude.

Father Joseph also shared the easiest route to heaven:

Pope St. Pius X said that Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to heaven. There are others — innocence (but that is for little children) and penance (but we are weak). The easiest and shortest way to heaven is the Eucharist.

In line with that, the Catholic Church in the United States began a three-year Eucharistic Revival on June 19, the feast of Corpus Christi. Jesus invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith: his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. The revival is a movement to restore belief and devotion in the True Presence. Drawing closer to Jesus and receiving him in Holy Communion heals our own souls as we pray for the souls of others, that we will all meet in heaven one day.

Thurifer Paul Mills swings an incense burner, or thurible, as a sung requiem Mass in Latin is offered for the repose of the soul of Benedict XVI at Corpus Christi Catholic Church on Jan. 5 in London. Benedict XVI, who died on Dec. 31, 2022, was the first pope in 600 years to resign from the papacy, in 2013. At the Vatican, Pope Francis presided over the funeral of his predecessor.

Joseph Ratzinger’s Happy Death

EDITORIAL: Thanking Jesus — and the intercession of his earthly father St. Joseph — for allowing his faithful servant to depart from this life in such a happy and blessed way.