Catholics claim that the Rosary isn't just prayers to Mary. They'll argue that the endless chain of Hail Mary's' occasionally interrupted by an Our Father, is really centered on Christ.
Let's take a quick look at the ritual of the Rosary to see what Catholics are talking about when they talk about chanting the Rosary.
The Rosary is a sequence of prayers that can be broken down into 17 parts. To help Catholics keep track of where they are in their repetitious droning, they generally keep track by countin beads on a necklace from which is suspended a crucifix.
The first part begins when the Catholic makes the sign of the cross. Then, while touching the crucifix, he recites the Apostles' Creed, which goes like this:
When he finishes with the Creed, he moves his fingers to the first large bead above the crucifix and prayers the Our Father:
This is followed by a sequence of three Hail Mary's, one prayed on each of the next three beads:
Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with Thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Now he is at another large bead, where he finishes the beginning prayers with the Glory Be:
The Rosary chanter is now ready to get into the serious business of the ritual, the decades, which are ten dronings of the hail Mary. These decades are clustered in groups of five, that are called "Mysteries." There used to be 15 decades, but John Paul II added an additional mystery.The mysteries are: Joyful Mysteries, Luminous Mysteries, Sorrowful Mysteries and Glorious Mysteries. It is not necessary to pray all 20 decades in a single session; it is acceptable to chant one mystery's worth (five) per day.
It is when droning through the decades that the beads really come in handy. Here's how that goes. Starting off, it is necessary to choose one of the three sets of mysteries to work one's way though. Catholics claim that the Rosary is Christ-centered. You be the judge.
Having settled on our choice of mysteries, it is time to resume chanting. Each decade in a set is prayed as one meditates on one of the theme mysteries. I suppose this involves using two different parts of the brain; one to chant the repeated prayers while the other meditates. And this is praying from the heart?
Okay, you've meditated on mystery number 1 and are ready to add a background of prayers. Grab a big bead and recite the Our Father. That done, move along the ten little beads, chanting a Hail Mary at each one. This will bring you to another large bead, where you pause long enough to pray the Glory Be and one of the Fatima prayers called O My Jesus. While still holding that large bead, start a new decade by naming the next mystery in the sequence and reciting another Our Father. This goes on until you've finished the five or 15 decades you planned to chant that day.
That Fatima prayer goes like this:
And this brings us to the final part, the closing prayers. There are only two, and these are prayed as responsorial prayers. One is called, Hail, Holy Queen:
The other is called The Prayer After The Rosary:
I am no rocket scientist, but I think I did the math correctly. Check me out, please. In a full 20-decade Rosary, there are 266 prayers, not counting the Apostles' Creed, which is a profession of faith.
Of those 266 prayers:
20, or 7.5%, are directed to Jesus;
21, or 7.9%, are directed to God, the Father;
21, or 7.9%, glorify the Trinity
204, or 76.7%, are directed to Mary.
Catholics claim that the Rosary isn't just prayers to Mary. They'll argue that the endless chain of Hail Mary's occasionally interrupted by an Our Father, is really centered on Christ.
What do you think?
The ritual of the rosary as practiced today is not the same as it was when I was growing up Catholic. As I mentioned above the former Emperor of Catholic Empire proposed changes to the traditional format of The Rosary that I learned as a Catholic.
As declared by JP2, his purpose in proposing an additional set of Mysteries was to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary. That sounds wonderfully “Christian,” doesn't it? A closer examination of the effect of the Pope's recommended additions strongly suggests an opposite result.
The Pope proposed the five new Mysteries with these words:
“Well,” one might argue, “those new Mysteries certainly do appear to have Christological significance.” And he would be right. They do appear meet JP2's purpose. However, if one were to read just two more paragraphs, he would encounter these words:
When the new “Christological” Mysteries are viewed in the light of the emphasized words, it begins to appear that the new set of Mysteries also serves bring out fully the Mariological depth of the Rosary.
To me, it does seem that the changes to The Rosary amount to little more than a poorly disguised effort to enhance Catholic Mary's relative position in the prayers of Catholic faithful.
According to Catholic mythology, there are reasons why it is necessary to pray The Rosary every day. These reasons include The Fifteen Promises of Mary, which include among other things a Get-Out-Of-Purgatory-Free card:
I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.-- Heaven's Weapon
Another reason for faithfully praying The Rosary is that it is a good way to get stuff:
It gets better and better:
This is an interesting promise. Scripture does mention rewards for believers; such as crowns of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), Life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) or Glory (1 Peter 5:4). In the New Testament, references to glory generally apply to God the Father and God the Son. One exception to this general practice involved the appearance of Moses and Elias “in glory” on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:30-31). Hmmmm. I wonder whether they faithfully prayed The Rosary in order to appear in glory.
Catholic faithful might be willing to go along with Marian Promises and chanting The Rosary, certainly a number evangelical fundamentalists such as myself consider such things to constitute idolatry, Mariolatry, heresy, blasphemy, etc. Could we be wrong? If we were to believe one of the Marian Promises, we might have cause to reflect upon the correctness of our assessments.
There you have it! Catholic doctrine asserts that the RCC's Mary gave birth to but one child, the Incarnate Son of God. This is a bit confusing, to me at least. Does this promise inform that Mary's only Son, Jesus Christ, prays the Rosary? That is unlikely. Therefore, the “brothers” to whom the promise refers must be brothers by adoption. This is a biblical concept; however, if we are to believe the Scripture, adoption by God does not result from praying The Rosary:
The way I see it: if the 15 Promises of Mary are true; then at least those parts of the Scriptures that do not agree with them must be untrue. That is strong stuff. We know that the Scriptures were penned by men writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Where did the 15 Promises of Mary come from? They were given by Catholic Mary to two members of the Catholic pantheon: St. Dominic and Blessed Alan. In addition to that, they are published with the Imprimitur of Patrick J. Hayes, DD; Archbishop of New York
For those not up on Catholic mythology, Blessed Alan de la Roche was a Dominican theologian and sermonist who lived in Brittany during the 15th century. According to Catholic fantasy, Alan was visited on various occasions by the Jesus of Catholicism, the Mary of Catholicism and the Catholic demigod Saint Dominic. These three put pressure on Alan to “revive the ancient Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.” (Bl. Alan de la Roche, Catholic Saints Online.
Wow! That's some pretty strong stuff; but I think that I will continue to hold fast to God's Written Revelation in the Holy Scriptures and leave the fantasizing to the Catholic Magisterium, spiritualists and daydreamers.
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