Tuesday 4th August 2015

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Is The Rosary A Prayer Of “Vain Repetitions”?

July 27, 2014 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

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Archdiocese responds to petition signed by 20,000 in support of fired gay teacher

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – The Philadelphia Archdiocese received a petition Monday signed by more than 20,000 people in support of a fired catholic school teacher. Margie Winters lost her job at Waldron Mercy Academy because of her same-sex marriage. Today’s petition…Continue Reading

Democrats Defeat Senate Effort to De-Fund Planned Parenthood After It Sells Aborted Babies

Senate Democrats today defeated an effort to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business by filibustering the bill and preventing a vote on it. Republicans were unable to secure the 60 voted needed to invoke cloture and stop…Continue Reading

With Apologies to Donald Trump for the Crazy ‘Nativist’ Rant of Cardinal Dolan

This week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan took to the New York Daily News to write an incoherent and defamatory political hit piece against Donald Trump. As a Catholic priest, I can only say it is embarrassing to have a Cardinal so blatantly and unfairly trying…Continue Reading

Promote the common good and give workers a raise, Catholic leaders tell Congress

Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2015 / 05:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic leaders are calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage, for the good of low-wage workers and their families. “An economy thrives only when it is centered on the…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Regain the Art of Temperate Drinking, Says Author

July 30, 2015, at 2:40 PM  |  By Justin Petrisek  | Catholic colleges need to be mindful of the moral and spiritual state of their students, said Dr. Michael Foley, associate professor of patristics at Baylor University, in an interview…Continue Reading

Last Catholic priest at US base in Antarctica leaves post

A Catholic priest who served at the U.S.-operated McMurdo Station in Antarctica was told he will have to leave his post due to declining attendance and budget cuts. Father Dan Doyle, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, would spend summers…Continue Reading

Jamestown Excavation Unearths Four Bodies and a Possible Catholic Reliquary

Could a mysterious box unearthed in historic Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in North America, point to a Catholic connection with the foundation of the United States of America? While Spanish and Portuguese exploration, settlement and conquest of…Continue Reading

Catholic officials, others react to Boy Scouts’ decision to allow openly gay leaders

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The top leaders of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting have made an uneasy peace with the Boy Scouts of America’s decision July 27 to allow openly gay troop leaders and employees to serve in their ranks…Continue Reading

The Remnant REALLY? . . . Is This How We Support Fellow Catholics Battling A Cause We Should All Be Behind?

Planned Parenthood Hires PR Firm to Run Damage Control After It’s Exposed Selling Aborted Babies

The Planed Parenthood abortion business is so desperate to put out the public relations fires that have developed in the wake of it being caught numerous times selling the body parts of aborted babies that it has hired a top…Continue Reading

More than Half of Young Catholic Families Are Latino Despite Recent Decline

More than half of young Catholic families (53 percent) identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic compared with 32 percent of all Catholics, according to a recent survey. Could the presence of Hispanic families in the Catholic Church indicate Latino congregational…Continue Reading

New York Catholic churches closing after decades of service

Parishioners in New York are losing their churches as the Catholic Archdiocese carries out an aggressive consolidation plan. The cuts are driven by declining membership, fiscal insolvency of churches, and fewer priests, according to church officials. While there are 2.8…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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

‘It was a twin’: New video shows dissection of 20-week baby for parts to sell at Planned Parenthood

 Ben Johnson AbortionTue Aug 4, 2015 – 10:45 am EST HOUSTON, TX, August 4 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A Planned Parenthood official admits that abortionists sometimes provide “intact” babies’ body for organ harvesting and experimentation, in the latest undercover video released by the Center for Medical Progress. It also includes graphic footage of investigators seeing pristine organs extracted from a 20-week-old aborted baby. The director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, told undercover investigators…Continue Reading

Pope: St Theresa of Avila source of truth and values

terase

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter of greeting and encouragement to participants of an Interuniversity Congress on Saint Theresa of Avila. The letter, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father, expresses gratitude to the Academic world for highlighting the relevance of Saint Theresa’s teachings. Organized by the Catholic University of “Santa Teresa de Jesus de Avila” in collaboration with other Catholic Universities, the 3-day Congress…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: “Jesus is the bread of life”

pope512

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged the faithful to look beyond material needs and turn to Jesus who is “the bread of life”. The Pope’s words came as he addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus. Taking his cue from the Gospel reading of the day which tells of the crowd that went looking for Jesus, not because they saw the signs but because they had eaten the loaves of…Continue Reading

‘Shadow council’ speaker pushes Church acceptance of contraception, gay sex

By Andrea Gagliarducci Rome, Italy, Jul 29, 2015 / 03:01 am (CNA).- Yes to contraception, homosexual acts, and Communion for the divorced and remarried – all considering the circumstances. No to understanding any acts as intrinsically evil. These are the positions advocated by speakers at the May 25 “shadow council” which gathered prelates and theologians, led by the German bishops, at a Jesuit university in Rome. That day 50 specially chosen representatives of the the…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred… The Fragrance Of Baroque Liturgy And Art

By JAMES MONTI All of us have had at some time or another a special moment in church when we have found ourselves before a particularly beautiful altar, with the Blessed Sacrament enthroned upon it in a splendid gold or silver sunburst monstrance, its molded rays sparkling with the shimmer of candles ablaze around it,…Continue Reading

Caring For The Elderly Vs. Assisted Suicide

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University. All rights reserved.) + + + On Sunday, July 26, the Church in England and Wales…Continue Reading

Holy See Stresses Pro-Life Creds At UN Amid Questions

By PATRICK B. CRAINE and PETE BAKLINSKI NEW YORK (LifeSiteNews) — The Holy See is emphasizing its commitment to promoting life and family at the United Nations after a confusing statement the nunciature made in a negotiation on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in June. In a speech on June 22, Msgr. Joseph Grech, representing…Continue Reading

Hillary Lies Again

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO In a column I wrote in early July, based on research by my colleagues and my own analysis of government documents and eyewitness statements, I argued that in 2011 and 2012 then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waged a secret war on the governments of Libya and Syria, with the approval of…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . An Excellent Guide To Answering Anti-Catholic Attacks

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Five Anti-Catholic Myths: Slavery, Crusades, Inquisition, Galileo, Holocaust by Gerard M. Verschuuren (Angelico Press: 2015; 181 pages, $16.95 print edition). Available at http://angelicopress.com/. In this book the author sets out to investigate just how it has come about that anti-Catholic myths about particular topics have managed to become so deeply embedded…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Marking Humanae Vitae’s 47th Anniversary

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Families are under attack on several fronts: whether it is what makes a marriage with one man and one woman, whether it is children who should have a mother and a father or about how life comes into the world. Those who wish to redefine God’s plan continue to apply euphemisms in attempts to change…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Divinity Of Christ — A Response To Islam

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 13 In our days, a misguided sense of ecumenism tends to equate the main monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) as different ways to worship the same God. It is like saying that all Protestant denominations are OK as long as you mention the name of Jesus, regardless of the visceral doctrinal contradictions that…Continue Reading

The Four Marks Of The Church — Catholicity

By DON FIER Part 4 “The Church is catholic,” proclaims the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), firmly and without hesitation. “She proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times” (n. 868). Moreover,…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In the wake of the latest Planned Parenthood scandal involving selling the body parts of aborted babies (see LifeNews.com to view the videos of interviews with Planned Parenthood officials), this is an opportune time to contact not only your legislators about ending taxpayer funding of this conglomerate that kills more than 330,000 babies a year, but also to…Continue Reading

Our Journey Through The Desert

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8 Eph. 4:30-5:2 John 6:41-51 In the second reading today St. Paul instructs us to do nothing that will grieve the Holy Spirit. In his brief list of offenses that would grieve the Holy Spirit, St. Paul includes bitterness, fury, anger, reviling, shouting, and all malice.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Edmund Bojanowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many lay saints throughout the history of the Church from all different walks of life. There is the peasant girl, St. Maria Goretti, patron of young women. St. Thomas More, patron of lawyers, comes to mind when thinking of putting God before government. There are the many lay martyrs, especially in the first few centuries…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

By CAROLE BRESLIN A popular pilgrimage among the Catholics of southern France takes visitors to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume, located in the hills of Provence about 20 miles east of the port of Marseilles. To reach this holy site, the driver must cover miles of winding, ascending roads to the foot of the mountain. Then the pilgrim ascends a…Continue Reading