Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Examining The Catholic Rosary In Light Of Scripture

       One Roman Catholic legend is that Mary showed up before St. Dominic in 1208 at the church of Prouille and revealed the Rosary beads to him. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, condemned praying repetitive prayer:

        "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words."  (Matthew 6:6-7)

        Without a doubt, the Rosary consists of heaping up words and phrases in an attempt to make prayers more efficacious or more heard. Furthermore, we never see anybody in the New Testament using pre-fabricated, mechanical prayers with a continuous, repetitious nature. Scripture does not affirm any kind of icon or relic that aids in prayer.

        More prayers are dedicated to Mary in the Rosary than to God Himself in the process of it being cited. Thus, one can see how such a prayer can diminish one's attention to God. Contrast Roman Catholic devotion to Mary with words from the Psalms:

        "My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken." (Psalm 62:5-6)

        "Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth." (Psalm 73:25)

        What is the importance of knowing how many times a prayer is said? Why is there such a major emphasis on the number of repetitions in citing the Rosary? What are the consequences of saying too many or too little of a specific prayer? Is it some sort of magical formula or spell? Does the Rosary involve some sort of self-hypnosis technique? What is the significance of even using this relic if the repetition serves no purpose?

        The concept of praying with beads was used by pagans long before Christianity even began. An example would include the Hindus. In fact, the Rosary is connected with a prayer "rhythm," is described as being repetitious, and is linked with a rhythm of breathing. These concepts are associated with the practices of occult religions such as Wicca. Former Pope John Paul II offered this description of the Rosary in his apostolic litter called "Rosarium Virginis Mariae."

        Roman Catholic apologists sometimes try to justify the practice of the Rosary by pointing to Psalm 136, which alternates the same phrase 26 times with 26 different things that God gives us. The first problem with this argument is that a psalm is a song, not a prayer. Secondly, this text does not repeat itself 26 times in a row, as the Rosary does. And lastly, the psalm is directed to God alone.

        Matthew 26:44 and Mark 14:39 are also pointed to by proponents of the Rosary. However, praying a non-repetitive prayer three separate times is not the same as praying an individual prayer with a repetitive nature. There were no prayer beads involved. Moreover, the prayers of Jesus were directed to God the Father, not Mary herself.

        Jesus Christ emphatically condemned pre-packaged, mechanical, continuous types of prayer by calling them "vain." Those are done by pagans and legalists. God already knows everything that we are going to ask Him, even before we plead for His divine assistance (Matthew 6:7). He knows everything that we need, even better than what we know of ourselves.

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