Skip to comments.Rosary vs. Repetitious Prayer [Ecumenical]
Posted on 06/26/2008 10:06:27 AM PDT by NYer
Q. Isn’t the Rosary condemned by Jesus in Matthew 6:7?
Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words
A. Jesus is not condemning all repeated prayer. If He was, we would be left with no idea how many times any prayer could be repeated. Never? Once? Twice? Three times? Once a day? Once a year? Once a lifetime? Twice…etc. How exactly could we obey Jesus IF in this verse He WAS condemning ALL repeated prayer? We have no concrete direction.
After all, when asked by the disciples about how to pray Jesus gave them a prayer without any stipulations to say it only one time, or once a day, or once year. And we know that from the earliest times this prayer was used in our Christian worship. And let me remind you that this was the ONLY Christian Church in existence.
Also, again, in Matthew (same author as above)
Matthew 26: 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a SECOND time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44So he left them and went away once more and prayed the THIRD time, saying the same thing.
So, Jesus Himself prayed exactly the same prayer three times in a short time. If the author had meant to explain in 6:7 that all repetitious prayer was pagan then how to explain Jesus’ example here? I think it is safe to say that repeating prayers is not prohibited. What Jesus meant in Mt. 6:7 was to teach against the pagan practice and idea that the more you repeat a prayer the more likely you are to get what you want from the gods.
Besides, what is being missed is that the rosary is primarily a prayer of meditation on the Life of Christ with the Hail Mary prayers used to both ask for Mary’s intercession and to time the length of the meditation on each mystery or scene in the Life of Christ.
The Holy Rosary
The rosary probably began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Divine Office (Breviary or Liturgy of the Hours), during the course of which the monks daily prayed the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50, or even 150, Ave Marias (Hail Marys) for the Psalms. This prayer, at least the first half of it so directly biblically, seems to date from as early as the 2nd century, as ancient graffiti at Christian sites has suggested. Sometimes a cord with knots on it was used to keep an accurate count of the Aves.
The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (died in 1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the Faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin.
One of Dominic's future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the rosary. The form of the rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the saints and popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, it's most active promoters have been Dominicans.
Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. the Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys or Franciscan Crown, the Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church. Finally, in English it has been called "Our Lady's Psalter" or "the beads." This last derives from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid).
The rosary has been called the preparation for contemplation and the prayer of saints. While the hands and lips are occupied with the prayers (it can and should be prayed silently when necessary so as not to disturb others), the mind meditates on the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption represented by the decades. Meditation is the form of prayer by which the one who prays uses the mind and imagination to consider a truth and uses the will to love it and form resolutions to live it. In this way the heart, mind, and soul of the Christian is formed according to the Gospel examples of the Savior and His First Disciple, His Mother. In God's own time, when this purification of the heart, mind, and soul has advanced sufficiently the Lord may give the grace of contemplative prayer, that special divine insight into the truth which human effort cannot achieve on its own.
Why pray the Rosary today? Certainly, to grow in holiness and in one's prayer life. The following are a few others reasons why the rosary should be prayed often, even daily:
"Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary" (Pope Pius IX).
"Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world" (Our Lady of Fátima).
"There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the family . . . than the daily recitation of the Rosary" (Pope Pius XII).
"We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that we put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils of our times" (Pope Pius XII).
"No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary" (Bishop Hugh Doyle).
"The Rosary is a magnificent and universal prayer for the needs of the Church, the nations and the entire world" (Pope John XXIII).
"The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel" (Pope Paul VI quoting Pope Pius XII).
"Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary . . . can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical actions [i.e. the Mass] and can also become a continuing echo thereof" (Pope Paul VI).
"My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fátima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God" (Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fátima).
"How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening" (Pope John Paul II).
Pope John Paul II has called the Rosary his "favorite prayer," after the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.
St. Louis de Montfort warns us against both the ignorant and scholars who regard the Rosary as something of little importance..."the Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God."
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Luke 1:28 "And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you."
The Greek kecharitomene means favored by grace, graced. Its tense suggests a permanent state of being "highly favored," thus full of grace. Charity, the divine love within us, comes from the same root. God is infinite Goodness, infinite Love. Mary is perfect created goodness, filled to the limit of her finite being with grace or charity.
Blessed art thou among women
Luke 1:41-42a "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women..."
Luke 1:48 "For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed."
Among all women is a way to say the highest/greatest etc. of a group in Semitic languages (these words would likely have been spoken in Aramaic). Mary is being called the greatest of all women, greater than Ruth, greater than Sarah, greater than EVE! Since Eve was created immaculate (without original sin), Mary must have been conceived immaculate. And, although Eve fell into sin by her own free will, Mary must have corresponded to God's grace and remained sinless. She could not otherwise be greater than Eve. Thus, as the Fathers of the Church unanimously assert, Mary is the New Eve who restores womanhood to God's original intention and cooperates with the New Adam, her Son, for the Redemption of the world.
Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus
Luke 1:42b "and blessed is the fruit of your womb."
Jesus is Mary's fruit. Good fruit does not come from anything but a good tree (Mt. 7:17-18)! The all-holy Son of God could not be the fruit of any other tree than the Immaculate Virgin.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Luke 1:43 "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Kyrios is the Greek word used by the Jews in the Septuagint Bible (Greek translation) for Yhwh, the Divine Name of God. In her greeting of Mary, Elizabeth is saying: "How is it that the mother of my God should come to me." Against the heresies of the 4th and 5th centuries which tried to split the Person of Jesus into two, divine and human, denying one or the other, the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD proclaimed Mary Theotokos (God-bearer, i.e. mother of God). Jesus is a single Person, a Divine Person, the 2nd Person of the Most Holy Trinity. To be mother of the Person Jesus is to be mother of a Person who is God. Mary's title protects this truth against errors which emphasize or deny, either the divinity or humanity of the Lord.
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Luke 2:35 "...and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
John 2:5 "His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."
Mary sees a need and appeals to Her Son to satisfy it. He does. We turn to Mary to ask her to intercede with her Son in our daily spiritual and material needs, but especially at the hour of our death. At that moment our salvation hangs in the balance as the devil makes his final foray to deter us from the path to God (Rev. 2:10). It is not surprising, therefore, that both the Hail Mary and the Our Father conclude with an appeal to be delivered from the evil one.
The Power of Intercessory Prayer:
Intercessory prayer proceeds from faith in God that holy men and women who have died are as alive today as they were on earth (Luke 20:38). If the prayer of the just man avails much, how much more the prayer of the one made perfect (Rev. 21:27) and living with God in heaven (the patriarchs, apostles and other holy men and women).
James 5:16b "the fervent prayer of a righteous man is very powerful."
Rev. 5:8 "When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.
The angels, too, mediate our prayers. This is taught explicitly in the Jewish book of Tobit (Tob. 12:12), accepted by Christians as inspired until Luther on his own authority rejected it. It remains part of the Catholic Bible.
Tobit 12:12 I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.
Rev. 8:3 "Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne."
Is the rosary mindless babbling?
The purpose of the different beads on the rosary is to count the various prayers as they are said. Unlike the Moslem prayer beads and the mantras of Buddhism, the prayers of the rosary are meant to occupy our whole being, body and soul, while meditating on the truths of the Faith. Any prayer is vain, however, if said mechanically without devotion. Simply to repeat prayers is not the vain repetition condemned by Christ (Mt 6:7), since He Himself repeats His prayer in the Garden three times (Mt 26:39, 42, 44) and the Psalms (inspired by the Holy Spirit) are often very repetitive (Ps 119 has 176 verses and Ps. 136 repeats the same phrase 26 times).
Matthew 6:7 In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Praise the LORD, who is so good;
God's love endures forever;
Praise the God of gods;
God's love endures forever;
. . . Praise the God of heaven,
God's love endures forever.
Matthew 26:39 He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will."
Matthew 26:42 Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, "My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!"
Matthew 26:44 He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again.
The Church believes that it is necessary for a Christian to meditate (prayerfully think about) the will of God, the life and teachings of Jesus, the price He paid for our salvation, and so on. Unless we do this we will begin to take these great gifts for granted and ultimately fall away from the Lord. Every Christian must meditate in some way in order to preserve the gift of salvation (James 1:22-25). Many Catholic and non-Catholic Christians prayerfully read and apply Scripture to their lives, that is, meditate on them. With the rosary this can be done virtually anywhere and anytime.
How To Pray the Rosary:
While the rosary and the indulgences attached to it by the Church essentially concerns the decades and the meditation upon the mysteries only, the following is a customary way of preparing for the rosary and concluding it.
Start by making the sign of the Cross:
Then recite the Apostle's Creed:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
The rosary is praying the Gospels.
I’m a Protestant. My take on the quotes from Jesus regarding praying on the streetcorner is that these people did it to be seen by men as pious, and that people who prayed by rote WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT THEIR WORDS were missing the whole point of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (the ACTS method of prayer).
Indeed. He cautioned His followers to not be like them - the pagans (Matthew 6:7).
I am also reminded of the woman in the Gospel of Mark.
- A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
- Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.
- For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."
Does your Protestant Church practice tithing? The Catholic Church does not and, in recent times, I have personally seen the extent to which many pastors struggle to pay the Church bills. We are asked to examine our conscience and decide how much we can contribute to the Church. No one ever questions our decisions. Ultimately, I believe, that question will be posed by our Lord.
Beautiful post, thank you. The recitation of the rosary, specifically the Hail Mary’s are not just a consecrated formula, but rather a disposition of the heart whereby we entrust all that we are and have into the intercessory power and love of Mary’s Immaculate Heart. It should be our way of life!
The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan
1.) In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea (and) saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" Matthew 3:1-2 Hail Mary 5.) Jesus said to him in reply, "Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him. Matthew 3:15 - Hail Mary 7.) And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17- Hail Mary 8.) Peter (said) to them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. (Acts 2,38) - Hail Mary 10.) He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; (Mark 16,14-15a) - Hail Mary
2.) I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11 - Hail Mary
3.) Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. Matthew 3:13- Hail Mary
4.) John tried to prevent him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?" Matthew 3:14 - Hail Mary
6.) After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. Matthew 3:16 ) - Hail Mary
9.) For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3,27) - Hail Mary
1.) In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
(and) saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" Matthew 3:1-2 Hail Mary
5.) Jesus said to him in reply, "Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him. Matthew 3:15 - Hail Mary
7.) And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17- Hail Mary
8.) Peter (said) to them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. (Acts 2,38) - Hail Mary
10.) He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; (Mark 16,14-15a) - Hail Mary
Thanks for the post. With all the Scriptural references.... see how it is ignored. D’ya know what I mean?
I know precisely what you mean :-)
4 "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "
6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Thank you for adding that beautiful story.
I love praying the Rosary, it just takes my mind to another kingdom. No matter what situation I am in, a well prayed Hail Mary is just like holding mother’s hand. I am calm and unafraid.
Deserves to be repeated!
Personally, I have struggled with the rosary all my life. I keep it under my pillow and pray it each night. Another freeper told me that the first decade is to be given over to our Blessed Mother for her intentions - so that is what I do. The next one is for all those freepers and friends who have asked for my prayers (the list has been consigned to my Guardian Angel who keeps track ;-) The third decade is for living and deceased members of my family and other relatives through adoption and marriage + a special friend. The 4th decade is for my pastor and the parish community - God knows he and they all need those prayers! It is also for the Holy Father, bishops and priests - especially those who wreck havoc in the Church. The 5th decade is for those who have no one to pray for them. I will never forget when my grandmother was placed in the hospice ward at a local hospital. At one point I stepped away and down the hall, half peering into the darkened rooms and was shocked to see people dieing alone. No one should die alone! So I pray for those whose families have abandoned or forgotten them.
Oftentimes I fall asleep before completing the rosary. I try to use my commuting time to pray for those I've missed - from home to work, from the garage to the office, etc. The Rosary offers endless possibilities of praying for those who need prayers, especially those in 3rd world countries.
Yes, our church supports tithing. My wife and I decided 15 years ago that there was no real reason we could use to support not tithing from gross, so we’ve done so since then. Amazing, when you make the decision, it’s not even a question when the paycheck comes.
Free Holy Rosary for Protestants Program:
What is the Rosary?
The Rosary is the Prayer of the Gospels, a meditation on 20 primary events in the Life of Our Blessed Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother Mary.
If you have something against the Rosary, you have something against the Holy Bible! Like the Holy Scriptures, it is the Good News of Jesus! It’s a Scriptural prayer.
* pray as Our Lord Jesus tells us to in Matthew 6:9-13 and
* meditate on God becoming truly man like us in all things except sin for our salvation in Luke 1:28, Luke 1:42! The Church formalizes this in the Hail Mary:
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. [Luke 1:28]
Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. [Luke 1:42]
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. [The Church]