Friday 27th May 2016

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Is The Rosary A Prayer Of “Vain Repetitions”?

July 13, 2014 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

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

34% of “Pro-Choice” Women Who See This Viral Video Turn Against Abortion

A new four-minute viral video is causing over a third — 34 percent — of “pro-choice” women surveyed to view abortion “less favorably.” And 28 percent of pro-choice women who watched the video stated there should be more restrictions on…Continue Reading

‘Biblically wrong’: Oklahoma lawmakers urge Obama’s impeachment over transgender bathrooms

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced legislation calling for President Barack Obama to be impeached because of his administration’s support for transgender bathrooms. Another bill calls for a declaration of emergency in the state. In a measure called Senate Concurrent Resolution…Continue Reading

Oklahoma legislature passes bill making it a felony to perform abortions

Lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill Thursday that would make performing abortions a felony and revoke the medical licenses of most physicians who assist in such procedures. This sweeping measure, which opponents described as unconstitutional and unprecedented, now heads to…Continue Reading

Unanimous Win for Little Sisters of the Poor at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet…Continue Reading

Conservatives outraged over Obama transgender directive to public schools

The Obama administration’s directive Friday that every public school provide transgender access — or face the loss of federal funds — drew swift and strong condemnation from conservatives, with one public official blasting it as presidential “blackmail.” The administration’s directive…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Leaders Decry Scandals, Urge Catholic Colleges to Reject Culture of Death

Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 31 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm…Continue Reading

ACLU launches campaign to strip Catholic hospitals of federal funds

NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic hospitals across the U.S. are “withholding emergency care” and denying “essential health services,” the ACLU is alleging in a new campaign. They also inflict harm on “transgender and gender-non-conforming patients” “when seeking…Continue Reading

Harvard Law Professor Says Pro-Life Christians Should be Treated Like Nazis

Every day, it seems, the United States is becoming a more hostile environment for people with pro-life and conservative positions. Abortion activists constantly challenge pro-life laws, stall abortion industry investigations, force religious objectors to pay for abortions and attack life-affirming…Continue Reading

Obama plans new push for transgender rights in schools

The divisive and politically combustible issue of bathroom access for transgender individuals is about to become further inflamed, as the Obama administration is expected in coming weeks to aggressively reinforce its position that transgender student rights are fully protected under…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden By Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family: The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in…Continue Reading

DoJ to North Carolina: You Have Until Monday to Reverse Bathroom Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a letter from the Department of Justice that gives him until Monday to reverse his state’s controversial bathroom bill, reports The Hill. The DoJ said the law is in violation of the federal Civil…Continue Reading

Lavender Graduations Harmful to Students at Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges across the country are hosting “lavender graduations” this spring — many of them as part of an annual campus tradition — to celebrate and honor students with same-sex attraction (SSA) or who identify as lesbian,…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 . . .

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .      

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Perseverance in prayer needed, but not “magic wand”

pope908

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday said “prayer is not a magic wand.” He was speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope was discussing the Parable of the Unjust Judge – also known as the Parable of the Persistent Widow – from the Gospel of Luke. In the parable, the persistence of a widow forces the unjust judge to grant her request for justice, “so that she will not eventually…Continue Reading

Catholic College Presidents Hopeful for Resolution in HHS Mandate Challenge

The presidents of two Catholic colleges involved in the U.S.Supreme Court challenges to the HHS mandate applauded the Court’s recent decision to vacate all lower court rulings and expressed their hope that a positive resolution for religious freedom would soon be reached. “I am pleased that Supreme Court has offered us a way forward which doesn’t require us to participate in the provision of the services which – See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4914/Catholic-College-Presidents-Hopeful-for-Resolution-in-HHS-Mandate-Challenge.aspx#sthash.MOQCZdCV.dpuf

Pope Francis: Christians live God’s love with joy, astonishment

(Vatican Radio) No Christian can exist without joy: that’s what Pope Francis said in his Homily at Mass Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse. The Pope stressed that even through life’s difficulties, the Christian knows he can trust in Jesus and find hope. The Pope also reminded the faithful they should not allow riches to dominate their lives because they ultimately lead to sadness. Christians live in joy and amazement because…Continue Reading

Pope Angelus: The Holy Trinity, where there is love there is God

(Vatican Radio) “The feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to engage in the daily events to be the leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy.” Those were Pope Francis’ words during his Angelus address on a sunny Trinity Sunday from his studio above St Peter’s Square. Drawing inspiration from the Gospel of St. John, the Pope said that Jesus knew how to be close to the realization of the Father’s plan, which will…Continue Reading

Pope emeritus: Third Secret of Fatima was released in full

popeben

(Vatican Radio) Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said he never told anyone the publication of the “Third Secret of Fatima” in the year 2000 was incomplete, and confirmed the document was published in its totality. A Communiqué was published Saturday by the Holy See Press Office on various articles regarding the “Third Secret of Fatima.” “ Several articles have appeared recently, including declarations attributed to Professor Ingo Dollinger according to which Cardinal Ratzinger, after the…Continue Reading

Is Scarborough Shoal Worth A War?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight. Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.” And what is Scarborough Shoal? A cluster of rocks…Continue Reading

Cicero In An Election Year

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY In the midst of the turmoil that characterized the mid-decades of the last century, the English jurist Sir Patrick Devlin wrote, “If a society’s laws are based on a particular worldview and that worldview collapses, the laws themselves will crumble.” His 1965 book, The Enforcement of Morals, is still worth reading…Continue Reading

Eastern Orthodoxy And The Particular Judgment

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In previous articles (The Wanderer, July 3, 2014; June 25, 2015), it was observed that: “Perhaps to the surprise of some Catholic ecumenists, Catholic doctrine regarding the Particular Judgment remains obscure, confused, or even denied among the Eastern Orthodox. They have no clear official teaching that the just go to Heaven immediately…Continue Reading

Obama To Visit The Land Of State-Owned Enterprises

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + President Barack Obama will visit Vietnam, which his own State Department last month certified is still controlled — four decades after the fall of Saigon — by the Communist Party.…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Why Should Pro-Lifers Be Concerned About Dissent?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of the book Call to Action or Call to Apostasy, consisting of a detailed description of the current forms of dissent and how to fight them, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

God’s Prophet

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Tenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 1 Kings 17:17-24 Gal. 1:11-14a, 15a, c, 16a, 17, 19 Luke 7:11-17 In the first reading today we hear about the death of the son of a widow with whom the Prophet Elijah stayed when he was passing through that region. The woman had been very good to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Mueller Reminds The Church Of Her Marriage Doctrine

By MAIKE HICKSON Part 2 (Editor’s Note: We are publishing this commentary from Gerhard Cardinal Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as reported by Maike Hickson, in two parts. The first part appeared in last week’s issue. (OnePeterFive graciously gave The Wanderer reprint permission for this article. All rights reserved. See: www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-muller-reminds-church-marriage-doctrine/. (Dr. Hickson, born…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Spiritual Exercises

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The way the human body physically works can teach us something about virtue and the way God’s grace works spiritually for each of us: We must use it to grow it. As I reminded our Life Teens and their families at Mass recently, if they slack off on physical exercise during the summer, come fall…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 1 After investigating the Inquisition, now we take a good look at the greatest marvel on this side of eternity: the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. To rule a country is not an easy job. That is why no head of state these days can…Continue Reading

The Seven Sacraments — Categories And Effects

By DON FIER Each of the seven sacraments, according to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, was personally instituted by Christ during His visible stay on Earth. As we saw last week, the details of institution for some — even the precise words for administration — are taken directly from Scripture. However, as Christoph Cardinal Schönborn states in Living…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustine Of Canterbury

By CAROLE BRESLIN A Celtic cross erected in 1884 marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where St. Augustine of Canterbury is said to have landed in 597. While some form of Christianity in England may be traced back to the times of the Roman occupation, it did not become a strong presence until the arrival of St. Augustine,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Crispin Of Viterbo

By CAROLE BRESLIN In March 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Basilica of Our Lady of the Vine (Oak) located in Tuscany, Italy, to proclaim our Lady patroness of the Diocese of Viterbo. The tradition of visiting the image of Our Lady of the Oak began 600 years ago in 1417 when Mastro Baptist Magnano Iuzzante commissioned an image…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