We've had a lovely weekend of stray cats and relaxation. Halloween seems like
Sorry, been on google too much this weekend and come accross all sorts of sites by mistake, one of which leads to my question. Jesus said not to use repetitive prayers as the heathens do which has lead to criticism of the rosary by non-Catholics. To be fair, it is quite repetitive, so how do we answer this to the critics?
You'll be delighted to know I can put your mind at ease. There is more than one answer to this question, so let's start with the simplest explanation and work our way up.
Isn't it nice that people take this quote out of context and just lop off words that explain what Jesus was actually talking about: "vain repetitive prayer" (according to the King James Bible)? I would go along with the poor sad Protestants that the rosary fills the bill on that account if I thought what they seem to think about the rosary, that it's a bunch of mumbling the "Hail Mary" hundreds of times. But we know differently, don't we? We realize that the Rosary is a meditative prayer in which the mind if filled with thoughts of the life of Jesus as seen through His mother's eyes.
Are you babbling when you say the Rosary? We understand that an observer might think you are. But we know you are not.
If that isn't enough to answer the critics, misguided though they are, consider this: Jesus was talking about how the pagans pray, which would translate more along the lines of "babbling repetitive (incantations) to gods who do not exist". Now there is an explanation of "praying in vain" if I ever heard one.
Once the disciples asked Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray" and Jesus piped up with the Our Father. Should we only say that once? Or does 'repetitive' only means more than once in a day, or a few minutes, or what?
Unfortunately for us, in terms of answering the critics, the explanation lies in an understanding of what praying the Rosary actually entails and I'm not sure you're going to get very far before the critic's eyes glaze over. I have found that when it comes to the Rosary and Mary in general, the Separated Brethren would rather close their ears and hum than actually listen to the answer. They really can't seem to get past the word "Mary". If you start your sentence with "Mary", they're done. I might remind you, at this point, that after one brief other prayer, the Rosary pretty much starts right in with "Hail Mary.."
If you are saying the Rosary by sitting there with your beads saying dozens of Hail Mary's with no thoughts other than mumbling out the prayers (especially if you your mind is wandering about what time you have to pick up the kids and trying to remember if you told them to stand in the front or the back or under the tree or what to wait for you), then we all have a problem.