There is a plethora of accusations against those who recite the Rosary. The recitation of the rosary is not Biblical-based. Reciting the Rosary is unnecessary repetition of prayers. Reciting the Rosary is unnecessarily glorifying Mary. Reciting the rosary is time-consuming. Reciting the rosary is imitation of what people do in other religions. Reciting the rosary is not Christian. Rosary is idol-worship. Why recite the rosary when we can pray by other methods?
The Rosary in your pocket or purse is a great protection for you from evil forces and danger and whatever may harm your life. My hunch is most people who recite the rosary don’t have immediate answers to these accusations. Be reminded that allegations come not only from other Christian denominations, but even from some Catholics, who would like to call themselves ‘up-beat’ or ‘modernized Catholics’ (it’s my personal experience with such people).
Here’s an experience I thought worth sharing with my readers. A couple of times I dropped into homes while they were midway through their family rosary. I once took a corner and joined them till its completion. I don’t know if I heard correctly because of the break-neck speed they recited the rosary, but something was amiss. To be doubly sure, after the rosary, I asked a little girl in the family to repeat the Hail Mary twice. This is what I heard distinctly “Hail Mary full (pronounced fool) of Grace, Blessed are they among women and blessed is the foot of Diamond Jesus”.
How fast? How consciously do you say your rosary?
It is not the rosary in your purse or pocket that protects you, but your reverence, understanding and attitude toward the rosary and your faith in the intercession of Mother Mary. Bishop Hugh Boyle famously remarked, “No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary. Either he will give up the sin or he will give up the Rosary”.
And if anyone tells you the Rosary is not Scripture based tell them the Rosary prayers draws inspiration deeply from Scripture. We say “Hail, Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with you” because it is found in Luke 1:28ff. Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary calls her highly favored one (in the NAB Bible). Highly favored is Ke-chari-tomene: meaning favored by grace; suggests a permanent state of being “highly favored,” thus “full of grace.”
We call her “Blessed art thou among women”. Look at Luke 1:41-42 “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women…”
Luke 1:48 reads “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on all ages will call me blessed.”Among all women” suggests that Mary is the greatest of women. This must include even Eve. God created Eve too immaculate, i.e. free of sin but Eve fell from Grace. Mary did not.
Mary’s preservation from sin by God’s grace, both at her conception and throughout her life, is what makes her greater than Eve because she was prepared by God to carry the SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD. That Makes Mother Mary so special to all of us when we pray the Rosary.
When you pray “Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus” be reminded of Luke 1:42b “and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Jesus is Mary’s fruit. When you turn to the Gospel of Mathew (7:17-18) you will see that good fruit comes only from a good tree. Suffice to say, the all-holy Son of God JESUS, cannot be the fruit of any other tree other than the Good tree, which is the Immaculate Virgin MARY.
We call Mary ‘Mother of God’ based on Luke 1:43; “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord (KYRIOS) should come to me? Kyrios is the Greek word used by the Jews in the Septuagint Bible (Greek translation) for Yahweh, the Divine Name of God. Thus, Elizabeth is actually saying: How is it that the mother of my God should come to me.
And do we need Mary to intercede for us when the scriptures tell us that there should be no other mediator other than JESUS? We all need the prayers of others. Why ask people “Pray for me” if there is no other mediator than Jesus? So consider yourself blessed in having Mother Mary, The Most Holy, Chosen, Mother of God to pray for you.
Is the recitation of the rosary vain repetition and babbling? Unlike prayer beads used in other Faiths, prayers of the rosary are meant to occupy our whole being, body and soul, in meditating on the truths of our Faith. Some people quote Mathew 6:7 and accuse us of vain repetition but remember JESUS Himself repeats His prayer in the Garden three times (Mt 26:39, 42, 44) and the Psalms (inspired by the Holy Spirit) are often very repetitive (Ps 119 has 176 verses and Ps. 136 repeats the same phrase 26 times).
The Church believes that it is necessary for a Christian to meditate the will of God, the life and teachings of Jesus and the price He paid for our salvation. Unless we do this we will begin to take these great gifts for granted and ultimately fall away from the Lord. Every Christian must meditate in some way in order to preserve the gift of salvation (James 1:22-25).
The beaded rosary is only a help in meditation, when we do it consciously and prayerfully. The Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be prayers that we repeat should help us internalize and strengthen our Faith.
Why should Mary pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death? We seek Mary’s assistance when death draws near to us. Look at Luke 2:35 “…and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed…” Understand this in this simple sentence “And Mother Mary, those sins and evil ways and thoughts of many will weigh heavily upon you, because the burden of seeking the mercy of God upon sinners will be so strong that it will be like a sword piercing your heart”.
Scripture arguments apart, just think of this: who on earth would not want someone to pray with us and for us in the last moments of our life. Remember that there are many in this world that die lonely deaths with no one by their bedside. That is why Mother Teresa too encouraged her nuns to pray the rosary by the bedside of the dying and destitute. A Catholic should never ever imagine dying a lonely death. We are blessed because we have the assurance that Mary will pray with us and for us (even when we are unable to pray if in a state of unconsciousness) now and at the hour of our death.
Fr. Adolf Washington