Wednesday 18th July 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Is The Rosary A Prayer Of “Vain Repetitions”?

November 9, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 2

Last week I told the story of the visit of two Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW for short) to my house, and I showed to them that Jesus was in favor of repetitive prayer, because He gave us a prayer to repeat, the Our Father.
I left a question unanswered. The younger JW had asked me, “So, are you saying that your rosary is inspired in the Bible?”
“Actually, yes,” I answered. “The rosary is simply a way of keeping order, dividing the prayers in distinct sections. Let me give you another example, straight from the Bible. Take Psalm 119 (119, depending on the version). It is the longest psalm in the Bible, having 176 verses. On the whole, the psalm is a persistent repetition of the main theme, that is, of the excellence of keeping the law of God. It makes an excellent meditation and prayer of repetition — like the rosary — beautiful, pious, and thoroughly biblical.”
The older JW was visibly embarrassed. He quickly changed tactics. From incredulity he moved on to sarcasm, which is always a mistake in a religious discussion.
“The next thing you’ll tell me is that Jesus prayed the rosary Himself!” he said, with an ironic smile.
“No, not the rosary as we know it,” I replied nonchalantly, “but He made up His own rosary or prayers, ‘saying the same thing over and over again’.”
My guests opened their eyes wide with astonishment, and then both smiled simultaneously, possibly thinking I was bluffing.
“Yes, at one of the most crucial moments, if not the most crucial, of His life, He repeated the selfsame prayer in the Garden when He said, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.’ That is Matthew 26:39. Verse 42 reads: ‘Again the second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this chalice cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done”.’ And verse 44 says, ‘So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words over’.”
Two or three seconds of silence elapsed. I looked straight into their eyes, alternating from one pair to the other. They didn’t budge. Then I concluded: “There you are, my friends: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ praying His own chaplet of repetitive prayers!”
Really wanting to rub it in this time, I asked, “Would you say that Jesus’ prayers were ‘vain’ because they were . . . repetitive?
“In the Our Father, Jesus also taught us to say, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ And it is His will that we pray. So, the perfect prayer here on earth will be the prayer that is most similar to the prayer of Heaven, won’t it be? If you know how they pray in Heaven and do likewise, then His will would be done on earth as it is in Heaven, as far as prayer is concerned.”
I paused for a moment to give my visitors time to digest the concept. The older one already had a question on the tip of his sharp tongue: “And do you, by chance, know how prayer is done in Heaven?”
My answer startled him. “Actually, I do. I happen to know how they pray in Heaven. If you open your Bible, I’ll show you.”
He passed me his book somewhat hesitatingly. It was my turn for a few flicks of the fingers to show him a text.
“Here it is: The book of the Apocalypse — or Revelation — tells us that in Heaven the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, just like the seraphim cited in Isaiah 6:3, continually indulge in repetitive prayer: ‘And they have no rest day and night as they say “Holy, Holy, Holy, is Jehovah God, the Almighty, who was and who is coming”’ (4:8).
“Fancy that! Prayer of repetition in Heaven! Those seraphim must be Roman Catholic!”
The younger fellow, who was being trained in the door-knocking exercise, laughed a bit, but the older one did not find it funny in the least. A little dark look and the apprentice’s smile vanished as quickly as a devil would leap from a swimming pool full of holy water.
I did not give him time to change the subject. “Now, my friends, if God disliked repetitive prayer, He would have stopped those Roman Catholic seraphim in Heaven a long time ago and told them to say something different for a change, use a bit of improvisation, you know.”
The older man decided that it was time to go. He dryly asked me if I would like to keep the copy of Awake! I dryly declined, but I wanted to know if they understood the biblical foundations of the repetitive prayer, whether in the rosary or any other. He replied that the Roman Catholic Church had invented the dogmas of Hell, Purgatory, and the Immaculate Conception, but I was not interested in starting a whole new debate. The topic was repetitive prayer, and I would not fall prey to this typical tactic of igniting another tough subject when the going gets tough.
“Did you know,” I asked as a sort of coup de grâce in the argument, “while you Jehovah’s Witnesses are improvising prayers in your Kingdom Halls and deriding repetitive prayers, the angels of God are praising Him in Heaven like good Roman Catholics, repeating their praises over and over again?”
They both excused themselves; they really had to go. I thanked them for coming around and for the invigorating conversation. “Please come again,” I said, “I really enjoyed your visit.”
They said they would, rather unconvincingly.
As they left, I thought to myself how ironic it is that the never-ending babbling of improvised prayer, which Jesus condemned, is so often found among many of the very ones who criticize repetitive prayer.
Of course, we must also beware of merely paying lip service to God, for repetitive prayer, however biblical and heavenly it may be, must be attentive. We must not allow our minds to wander to all sorts of subjects instead of paying attention to God, who is the real object of our prayers. Otherwise, we could incur the severe censure of Jesus Himself: “You hypocrites! Well did Isaias prophesy of you, when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me’ (Matt. 15:8).”
Let us who honor our Lady in praying the rosary and always endeavor to pray “with modesty, attention, and devotion,” as St. Louis de Montfort says.

+    +    +

(Next Week: More Biblical Evidence for Repetitive Prayer.)

+    +    +

(Raymond de Souza is director of the Evangelization and Apologetics Office of the Winona Diocese, Minn.; an EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International [HLI]; president of the Sacred Heart Institute, and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. His web site is www.raymonddesouza.com.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Election of the Superior General . . . Society of Saint Pius X

Election of the Superior General On July 11, 2018, Father Davide Pagliarani was elected Superior General, for a mandate of 12 years, by the 4th General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X. The new Superior General is 47…Continue Reading

Paradoxes and indicators of Capella’s and McCarrick’s cases

These days we will find out whether Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, the former advisor to the Washington nunciature that the Vatican sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for possession and distribution of “large quantities” of child pornography, will present an appeal…Continue Reading

Diocese led by pro-gay bishop says it’s ‘up to each parish’ whether to promote homosexuality

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic church in the heart of Appalachia has attracted media attention for the Gay Pride Month banner stretched across its front lawn. The local ordinary, Bishop John Stowe, has a record of collaborating with a…Continue Reading

Al Gore: Pope Francis a ‘moral force’ for solving climate crisis

(Vatican.news) Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, is one of the world’s most vocal defenders of the environment. His 2007 documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, won an Oscar and his Climate Reality Project recently hosted…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops heading to border to tackle family separation issues

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A delegation of Catholic bishops from across the country are heading to the border on Monday. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will lead the delegation in its visit to the…Continue Reading

Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality ‘evil’, McAleese says

The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is “evil”, former president Mary McAleese has said. Speaking ahead of her inaugural participation in the Dublin Pride event on Saturday, where she will march with her son Justin and his husband, the former…Continue Reading

Senate Will Vote Before Elections on Replacing Pro-Abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy

The United States Senate will vote before the elections this November on a replacement for pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made that announcement today shortly after the surprising but welcome announcement that the longtime abortion…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider respond to Pope Francis’ inflight intercommunion comments

ROME, June 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church — even in exceptional cases — by a Protestant or other non-Catholic constitutes a “lie” that betrays the Apostolic tradition and the Church’s constant practice…Continue Reading

German Bishops Publish Intercommunion Handout with a Rhetorical Trick

Today, the German bishops have published their very controversial pastoral handout which allows Protestant spouses of Catholics, in certain cases, to receive Holy Communion. Since Pope Francis, on 21 June, objected to a national bishops’ conference publishing such an official text, the…Continue Reading

Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

British pro-lifers say abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ harm women and children

London, England, Jul 12, 2018 / 12:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a decision from the United Kingdom’s High Court, two women are attempting to overturn a ban on prayer and public discussion of abortion near a British abortion clinic. On July 2, the High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. The zone prevents any pro-life gathering or speech, inc

Calligraphers face jail time for not promoting same-sex ‘weddings’

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Arizona calligraphy artists faced with fines and jail time for declining to take part in promoting gay “weddings” are asking the state’s Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the city of Phoenix’s law that compels them create artwork that violates their religious beliefs. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, face up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and three

Bishop Paprocki disagrees with US bishops’ support for unions that fund abortion, LGBT

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 11, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Hailed by free speech and religious liberty advocates alike, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that public sector employees can no longer be required to pay mandatory fees to support unions which promote causes and political activities – including abortion – to which they are opposed. The ruling has also exposed a significant rift among the nation’s Catholic bishops. Despite public sector unions’ unabashe

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s choice to succeed the pro-abortion, pro-gay Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the president announced Monday night. Trump praised Kavanaugh’s committment to “equal justice under the law” and called him a “brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style.” He is “universally regarded as…one of the finest legal minds of our time.” Kavanaugh formerly clerked for Kennedy. “Justice Kennedy devoted his career to…Continue Reading

Prof fired by Catholic university for defending marriage has huge court win

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, July 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The professor forced out by a Jesuit-run Catholic university for blogging about an undergrad student being assailed by his teacher for his having voiced defense of marriage has won in court. In a landmark decision Friday the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Marquette University violated John McAdams’ right to free speech when it suspended him for writing the blog post, and it ordered the University to restore McAdams immediately with his full rank,…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Federal District Court . . . Orders End To HHS Mandate For Ave Maria Law School

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal district court issued an order Wednesday, July 11 that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the HHS mandate against a Catholic law school in Florida represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys. The order also declares that the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Obama-era mandate…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic … Old And New Tyrannies Borne Of Lust

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review… What Man Does Not Reverence, He Will Profane

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Society and Sanity, by Frank Sheed (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2013), 261 pp. $17.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or at 1-800-651-1531. This new edition of Sheed’s 1953 classic work of apologetics brings to mind the famous myth of Procrustes’ bed. The wicked king captures his victims then tortures them if their legs do…Continue Reading

How Vice Can Absorb Virtue

By DONALD DeMARCO Just as the Devil is at war with God, so too, vices are at war with virtue. The Devil wants people to believe that God does not exist. He also wants people to believe that neither does virtue exist. He would like to demolish virtue. One way of achieving this is to…Continue Reading

Henan, China… New Limits Imposed On The Religious Freedom Of Catholics

BEIJING (AsiaNews) — The Chinese government is approving increasingly restrictive measures against Catholics in the central province of Henan. As Eglises d’Asie reports, five new rules have been imposed which include the requirement of religious working in the province to collect data and information on their faithful. A priest from the Diocese of Zhengzhou reports…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Leadership Studies?

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He serves in the Diocese…Continue Reading

Sheep Without A Shepherd

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Jer. 23:1-6 Eph. 2:13-18 Mark 6:30-34 In the first reading today, God speaks a word of woe through the Prophet Jeremiah to the shepherds who mislead the Lord’s flock entrusted to their care. God says that these shepherds scattered the flock and drove them away and did not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . In Death The Church Gives Everything

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Funerals, as many priests have learned, can often be pastorally challenging and problematic episodes. Grieving family members who are not dealing with death on a regular basis by practicing their faith are suddenly confronted with its reality upon the passing of a parent or other family member. Parents who have to bury a child sometimes…Continue Reading

Martin Luther… The Man And The Myth

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 (Editor’s Note: As this October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Raymond de Souza is taking a break from his usual apologetics to correct the popular image of Luther.) + + + In the last article, I quoted from…Continue Reading

The Anatomy Of A Moral Act

By DON FIER Last week, as we considered the role that human freedom plays in the economy of salvation, it was immediately acknowledged that “man’s freedom is limited and fallible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1739). Free will, so wondrously bestowed upon man as an essential element of his great dignity of being created “in the image and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Veronica Giuliani

By CAROLE BRESLIN In July, the month of the Precious Blood, the Catholic Church remembers saints by the name of Veronica. On July 12, the memorial of Veronica (meaning “true image”), the saint from the first century who presented her veil to wipe the face of Jesus, is celebrated. Three days before that, on July 9, St. Veronica Giuliani is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord had a special love for the poor when He walked this earth. At one time He rebuked one of the apostles, saying, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11). Rather than avoiding the destitute or shun the homeless, Christians are called to love them as we love ourselves. At the beginning of…Continue Reading