Thursday 28th July 2016

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Is The Rosary A Prayer Of “Vain Repetitions”?

November 22, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND de SOUZA, KM

Part 4

The Pharisee and the publican — improvised prayer and repetitive prayer:
“Two men went up to the Temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and began to pray thus within himself: ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, robbers, dishonest, adulterers, or even like this publican. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I possess’ ” (Luke 18:10-14).
Let us notice that the Pharisee was wont to do what Jesus exhorted people to do in the Sermon of the Mount: Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Those were undoubtedly very good deeds, but the Pharisee performed them in a spirit of pride and self-exaltation, and expressed his personal glory in a detailed, improvised prayer of thanksgiving.
“But the publican, standing afar off [if he were Catholic, he would kneel], would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’”
The first man babbled words, telling the Lord in detail what was going on in his reputedly Godly life, whereas the second used a simple, short prayer of repetition. Which one was pleasing to God?
Jesus said: “I tell you, this man [the publican] went back to his home justified rather than the other [the Pharisee]; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Amen! The exalted, improvised wordy prayer is the prayer of the proud. The simple, repetitive prayer — like the rosary — is the prayer of the humble. We may, of course, add other prayers as the Holy Spirit inspires us, including reading biblical prayers, meditating on the words of Jesus, etc., etc.
The striking of the breast is done by Catholics immediately before receiving the Holy Eucharist: “Lord I am not worthy to receive you. . . .” And in the short prayer of the Hail Mary, after repeating the Holy Spirit-inspired words of the Archangel Gabriel and of St. Elizabeth in the praise of Mary (Luke 1), Catholics repeat, like the publican, “Pray for us, sinners…”
And of course both Catholics and Protestants repeat “Amen” all the time. . . .
By the way, some people say that when the Pharisee trimmed his beard in the morning in front of the mirror, he might sing a famous church song, such as How Great Thou Art. . . .

+    +    +

As the two JW visitors left my home on that Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t help thinking about those separated brethren divided into thousands of denominations who oppose the rosary and yet endlessly multiply words in their prayers, chatting away with the Father as if He needed to know each and every detailed aspect of the issue, in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding. Those are the kind of Christians who insist in serving God as His . . . advisers. They babble along, multiply words endlessly, speak a lot in prayer, and, at times, improvise sentences in a way that it becomes an exercise of oratory at best or just meaningless verbosity.
In so doing, they incur in the precise condemnation they accuse us of, that is, to babbling like pagans, using a lot of meaningless words, multiplying words, speaking much.
Jesus did not condemn the repetition of prayers, such as the Our Father, which He Himself taught us, the Hail Mary, whose first part was inspired by the Holy Spirit and the second by Jesus’ own Holy Church, and the Glory Be, a prayer similar to that of the Roman Catholic seraphim in Heaven, who unceasingly glorify God, day and night.
Summing up:
1) The JWs Bible and most non-Catholic versions of the Bible contain a text mistranslated and out of context, which they turned into a pretext against the rosary (Matt. 6:7). Otherwise, Jesus would be giving a contradictory teaching, condemning something in one verse and commanding the same thing in the next.
2) The words of Jesus in the Our Father and of the Angel and St. Elizabeth to Mary cannot possibly be classified as “vain repetitions.”
3) The prayer of the rabbinical schools was repetitive: Just as John the Baptist taught his disciples a prayer to identify their prophetic school, Jesus taught His disciples His prayer, the Our Father, which identified His rabbinical schools apart from the others (Luke 11).
4) In the parable of the persistent friend who knocked at his neighbor’s door for bread (Luke 11), Jesus exhorted us all to pray with persistence — and persistence cannot happen without repeating the prayer over and over again.
5) Bible prayers, such as the Penitential Psalms, are perfect prayer for sinners, highly repetitive, and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Especially the long Psalm 119 with its 176 verses, virtually repeating the same ideas over and over again. They have been used by faithful Jews since 1,000 years before Jesus. Since the dawn of Christianity, faithful Christians have done the same. In Psalm 136, David composed his own Catholic litany of repetitions.
6) In Gethsemane, Jesus repeated the same prayer to the Father, saying the same words over and over again (Matt. 26:38, 42, 44).
7) In Heaven, the countless seraphim endlessly repeat the same “holy, holy, holy” to God — they must all be good churchgoing Roman Catholics, of course.

Examination Of Conscience

Having said all that, a last word for us Catholics about lip service: How many of us outwardly appear to do like the angels in Heaven who indulge in repetitive prayer, while at the same time inwardly pray the rosary mechanically, with our lips only, while the thoughts of our minds and the feelings of our hearts and the images of the imagination wander away everywhere? And if we consent to that wandering, could we be pleasing to God? Would it not be like the Pharisees who indulged in lip service?
If Jesus condemned the mere babbling of the lips, the meaningless wordy outpouring of verbs, adverbs, pronouns, and prepositions, while the mind takes a vacation, He also condemned the prayer of lip service:
“You, hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me’ ” (Matt. 15:8).
So, in our repetitive prayer, in our prayer of the humble, in our rosaries and litanies and the like, if our imagination tends to wander away from our prayer, let us always bring it back. If it wanders away one hundred times, let us bring it back one hundred and one times. Our Lord sees the good intention of our hearts, not our human miseries.
May Our Blessed Mother, who herself composed a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God, which Christians have repeated for nearly 2,000 years — the Magnificat — pray for us, so that we may always endeavor to say our prayers with modesty, attention, and devotion, as St. Louis de Montfort teaches in True Devotion to Mary.

+    +    +

(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

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Pro-abort VP candidate Tim Kaine gets standing O at Mass, bishop mum on denying Communion

RICHMOND, Virginia, July 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-abortion Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine received a standing ovation at his parish on Sunday and several Catholic priests praised his nomination. Meanwhile, as Catholics call for Kaine to be denied…Continue Reading

Anti-abortion duo behind Planned Parenthood videos cleared

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas judge on Tuesday dismissed the last remaining charge against two California anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. District Judge Brock Thomas dismissed the tampering with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Islam is ‘fundamentally a form of government’

Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a telephone interview that Islam is “fundamentally a form of government.” Speaking with Religion News Service, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said that “when they (Muslims) become the majority in any…Continue Reading

Nienstedt: misconduct allegations retribution for opposition to gay marriage

In other words, he’s the real victim here. Marino Eccher of the PiPress says, “John Nienstedt, the former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, said accusations of sexual misconduct against him were part of a false smear campaign in response…Continue Reading

5 faith facts on Mike Pence: A ‘born-again, evangelical Catholic’

(RNS) While an official announcement has not yet been made, IndyStar and other media outlets are reporting that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate. Pence became governor of the Hoosier State in…Continue Reading

Trump In Tatters As Catholic Voters Shift Their Support To Hillary Clinton

A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans as Catholic voters have shifted their support to Hillary Clinton. A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans…Continue Reading

St. Anne Catholic Church prepares for 136th annual novena

There used to be a steady flow of stories, tales of miracle cures. They were covered in the Daily Journal, the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, in the early 1900s. The Catholic church in St. Anne, a village of 1,239,…Continue Reading

More deception in the war on Card. Sarah

Speaking at a liturgy conference in London, Card. Sarah, clearly not acting in his role as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, made a personal appeal to priests to say Mass ad orientem and the world is coming down on his head.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Caffarra on Marriage, Family, Amoris Laetitia, & Confusion in the Church

cardc

Editor’s note: the following is an exclusive interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, conducted by OnePeterFive’s Dr. Maike Hickson. Cardinal Caffarra is Archbishop emeritus of Bologna and former member of the Pontifical Council for the Family. It was in a letter to Cardinal…Continue Reading

Vatican Liturgy Chief asks all priests and bishops to face east for Mass, faithful to kneel for Communion

LONDON, July 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking at a conference on the liturgy in London yesterday, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the highest authority on the topic in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, asked all bishops and priests to adopt the…Continue Reading

This priest died in a Korean prison camp. Will the Catholic Church beatify him?

Wichita, Kan., Jul 2, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- There’s good news in Kansas: former army chaplain Father Emil J. Kapaun has taken a step closer to possible beatification and sainthood. But for Scott Carter, coordinator for the Father…Continue Reading

The Affirmative Argument for Receiving Communion on the Tongue

A recent post at the site Roman Catholic Man has focused a great deal of attention on the manner in which the faithful receive Communion. As any discussion regarding the Eucharist is a discussion about Our Lord Himself, the importance…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 145 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

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis on his way to Poland

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is on his way to Poland for his 15th Apostolic Journey aborad and where he will also be participating in World Youth Day events. The Alitalia Airbus A321 on which he is travelling is scheduled to land in Krakow at 16.00. He is accompanied on board the plane by a Pontifical Delegation and some 70 members of the press. Before setting off for the airport a group of young refugees of…Continue Reading

An eighty-four year old priest brutally murdered by Islamic terrorists during Mass in a Church in Normandy – The seed of hate

2016-07-26 L’Osservatore Romano Paris, 26. Shock and horror at the “absurd violence”, radical condemnation for “every form of hatred” and prayer for the victims. These were the first sentiments expressed by Pope Francis – through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi – at yet another episode of jihadist terror in Francis, barely two weeks from the attack in Nice of 14 July. Two men armed with knives broke into a…Continue Reading

Catholic priest to Tim Kaine: ‘Don’t show up in my communion line’

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic priest asked that pro-abortion Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine “do us both a favor” and not show up in his Communion line. “I take Canon 915 seriously. It’d be embarrassing for you & for me,” tweeted Dominican Father Thomas Petri, the vice president and academic dean of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies.

WaPo: A “Pope Francis Catholic” can have a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, NARAL

Just one example of how the secular media is going to spin, spin, and spin some more in the quest to provide cover for pro-abort, pro-homosexual politicians. UPDATED (9:15pm, Pacific; July 22): Sen. Kaine has been chosen to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. In the meantime, CWR’s managing editor, Catherine Harmon, reminded me of this interesting story from last year: U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a practicing Catholic and former missionary, had a clear message Wednesday…Continue Reading

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin . . . VP Pick, Tim Kaine, a Catholic?

From the Facebook page for Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Providence. Democratic VP choice, Tim Kaine, has been widely identified as a Roman Catholic. It is also reported that he publicly supports “freedom of choice” for abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, and the ordination of women as priests. All of these positions are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings; all of them have been opposed by Pope Francis as well. Senator Kaine…Continue Reading

Companions Of Jesus

By JAMES DRUMMEY Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Below is a talk given by James Drummey, editor of the Catholic Replies column, at a retreat in Vermont, June 11, 2016. We are publishing his talk in two parts because of its length.) + + + Of all the 73 books in the Bible, only one —…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred . . . The Indissolubility Of Marriage, As Affirmed By The Liturgy

By JAMES MONTI Later this year, as you may have already read, a revised edition of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony is going to be promulgated in the United States, featuring notably a new, more accurate translation of the Latin text revised according to the principles of the Holy See’s 2001 instruction Liturgiam Authenticam. Additionally,…Continue Reading

UN Court Rebuffs China’s Claims To South China Sea

By JOHN J. METLZER UNITED NATIONS — In a major legal setback for Beijing, an international tribunal has rejected and rebuffed many of Mainland China’s claims regarding exclusive sovereignty and rights in the disputed South China Sea. The mid-July landmark ruling in The Hague, by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, stated there was no evidence…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Readings And Meditations For Praying The Rosary

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY How to Pray the Secret Rosary by Frank M. Rega OFS (CreateSpace, 132 pages, Paperback $11.43, ebook $6.30). Available at amazon.com. This slim paperback from Frank Rega gives guidance on how to pray the rosary when you aren’t necessarily able to pray with rosary beads — if you are doing household…Continue Reading

Who Gave Us Justice Ginsburg?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Her mind is shot.” That was the crisp diagnosis of Donald Trump on hearing the opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the possibility he might become president. It all began with an interview the past week when the justice was asked for her thoughts on a Trump presidency. Ginsburg went…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

From Casuistry To Mercy… Toward A New Art Of Pleasing?

By MSGR. MICHEL SCHOOYANS Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Michel Schooyans wrote the following essay for LifeSiteNews, which graciously granted reprint permission to The Wanderer. The essay is appearing in two parts because of its length; part one appeared in last week’s issue. (John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, provided this background information about the essay: (“Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a top…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Profile Of A “Saturday Vigil Commando”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Meet the Saturday vigil commando: She will go to Mass any day of the week, at practically any time of the day, except Sunday. She is a veritable fixture at the Saturday vigil Mass and will even return to the parish on Sundays faithfully once per month to help count the offertory collection, but will…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church… The Great Catholic Library: The Bible

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 10 “Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” said St. Jerome, one of the greatest Bible scholars of all times, who translated the whole Bible from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into Latin in the fourth century — over one thousand years before Martin Luther preached his heresies in Europe. Luther and his followers down…Continue Reading

Liturgical Diversity And Unity

By DON FIER In considering where the liturgy is celebrated, we saw last week that “the worship ‘in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24) of the New Covenant is not tied exclusively to any place because Christ is the true temple of God” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCCC], n. 244). It is through Him that the…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I would like to know where St. Patrick is buried. — M.A., Pennsylvania. A. St. Patrick, who died in AD 461, is thought to be buried next to Down Cathedral in Northern Ireland. Once a former Benedictine monastery that was built in 1163, the church now belongs to the Church of Ireland and is known as the Cathedral Church…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Olaf

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Vikings! The word Viking comes from a Scandinavian word vik meaning bay or creek, with the extended word meaning pirate. The images the word brings to mind are amazing ships landing around Europe, even on the northeastern fringes of North America, to raid, pillage, and destroy. Although this did happen to some extent, the Vikings also…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Cassian

By CAROLE BRESLIN Frequently, the lives of the saints demonstrate that God calls us to go in directions that we would never consider unless it became clear that it is God’s will. St. Francis Xavier went to the Far East, St. Damien died in Hawaii on the opposite side of the world from his native Belgium, and St. John Cassian…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading