The Catholic Defender: "Vain Repetitions"
I was speaking with a couple of non-denoms at a restaurant who among other things referred to the Rosary as vain repetitions. You would think that after years of the internet, you would think that such misinformation would be by now obsolete.
Through Back hills jargon and backwoods preachers who keep alive some of these false accusations, we still see this. Today, it was a joy to take their challenge and show them how wrong they are.
They want to refer to Matthew 6:7 which states, "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words". The King James Version of the bible exchanges "babble" with "vain repetition". Just looking at this with a sensible mind, you might ask yourself why is this anything special? The issue is derived from the Protestant usage of the verse who speak out against repetitive prayer.
There is a difference from someone who babbles from someone who prays the rosary. The Rosary is a devotion that requires meditation.
If you pray anything with mere words without meaning it from the heart that would be "vain". You can speak the name of Jesus in vain if your not honoring him.
Jesus then teaches us the importance of storing up treasure in heaven. You either keep your mind centered on the ways of God or you fall into a secular humanist base, a worldly mind.
Just looking at what Jesus is teaching, we should give alms, we should pray, we should fast, and we should seek heavenly treasure as opposed to the worldly carnal mind.
The problem is not the rosary or any devotion as long as your heart is properly wanting to do God's will, to seek his direction, and to honor and serve him.
If you look at the whole context coming from Matthews gospel, beginning with Chapter 6, Jesus is giving his teaching about almsgiving.
It is a question of the heart. You either do good works for love of God, or you do things for a price or personal profit. Jesus gives his teaching on prayer.
You either say what you mean and need or you put on an act or show. This is the real issue! In fact, Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer as the example, Christian prayer par excellence.
Jesus then gives his teaching on fasting. You either fast for all to see or you fast for the Lord doing personal sacrifice.
If by chance you are not convinced by my argument and you proceed to believe Catholic devotions such as the rosary are "vain repetitions", then consider the following example: Psalms 136 repeats "God's love endures forever" 25 times in this Psalms. Should I consider you think God's word can be "vain"? I hardly think not!
"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
"And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
"The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:5-23