Forum Post on Vain Repetition

Vain Repetition


Hey folks! I'm back and guess what??? This past Monday I learned how to make Rosaries! I'm so excited! Since then, I work on one every chance I get. Yesterday I was working on one here at work (I have a very boring job - I answer a phone that rings maybe once an hour if I'm lucky) and one of my co-workers asked what I was doing. After telling her that the church provides all the supplies and the only rule is 'you can't sell them - only give them away' I asked her if she wanted one. She said "Yes, I think they are beautiful, but I'm not Catholic." I explained to her that she didn't have to be. Anyone can pray the Rosary. I finished her Rosary this morning and gave it to her with a pamphlet of instructions. She was very grateful and I thought...Hmmm, maybe, just maybe this will have a significant impact on her spiritual path. I hope so. It doesn't take much to point people in the right direction, does it? :-)


Convert, if I may just suggest something...

Perhaps, if you want to convert your friend or introduce her to Christ (if she isn't Christian already), you should introduce her to the Catholic Church by other means first before the rosary and also to tell her about God and Christ first. Because I'm just thinking that maybe a person who never believed in God may not know what worshipping God really is or if she's already believed, she may not know what Mary's role in the Church is.

Just being careful, that's all.


JamesT ... the whole point of the rosary is a reflection on the life & events of Christ .... that's what the mysteries are about. Convert .... you did good. I've read some stories from converts that say that once they understood what the Rosary was about, it lead them to investigate other Catholic things.


Thank you, Martin. JamesT, I know you mean well, but, I also know (first hand) how the Rosary can lead people to the Catholic church. I didn't ask my co-worker if she was a Christian, although I'm inclined to think she is...otherwise why would she want a Rosary? I'm not the kind of person who actively seeks to convert people - to me, those kind of people are an instant turn-off. I think people appreciate it more if they seek knowledge on their own. It means more to them. Besides, all I've given her is a tool with instructions on how to use it. It's up to her whether or not she uses it. :-)


If you find that the rosary is a help - all the better. But I have this question taken from Matthew 6.7

When you pray, do not mutter things in repetition as the heathens do, for they think that they shall be heard simply because of all they have to say. Be not like them, for your Father in heaven already knows what you need Etc.


Jesus teaches: pray lest you enter into temptation. The depth of the scriptural Rosary is, as Martin points out, the meditation on the life of Christ. So highly taught by Our Lady of Fatima, Mother of God, Mother of the Church, and Mother of Grace, who said: Do whatever He tells you.

Thank God for Catholics like "Convert".

God bless, Peter


Observer...Jesus basically warns against heartless prayer and vain repetition. If the person believes in the words they are speaking, the words come alive and have meaning; therefore, do not fit into the category of which you mention.

BTW, Convert...good work!

God bless, Matt


Observer ... here's my canned 'vain repetition' post (I saved an old response since it saves time responding to old arguments over and over).

Let's look at the context of the "vain repetitions" verse. Matthew 6:5-6 deal with the prayer practices of the Jews themselves; Jesus derides these as hypocritical. He doesn't condemn repetitive Jewish prayers, of which there were a countless number. For example, the book of Psalms is a collection of hymns and prayers repeatedly used in Jewish celebrations in which Jesus himself participated. The Passover, celebrated by Jesus before his Crucifixion, had fixed prayers that were repeated annually. Following the Last Supper, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed the same prayer three times in a row (Matt. 26:39-44)-he engaged in repetitive prayer.

In the next pair of verses Jesus warns against the prayer practices of the pagans, who held a magical view of prayer and whose repetitious prayers he does condemn. Verse 7 reads, in the King James Version, "[D]o not use vain repetitions [] as the heathen do." This is a misleading rendering. The Greek word is better translated as "babbling," and it is so translated in the New International Version. (The Revised Standard Version has "empty phrases.")3 Jesus isn't condemning mere repetition-something he himself engaged in, as did other good Jews-but the babbling of the pagans.

What sort of babbling did the pagans practice? Look at 1 Kings 18:2629, where the pagan prophets on Mount Carmel tried to invoke Baal all day long, repeatedly calling on his name and performing ritual dances: "They called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, 'Oh Baal, answer us!' But there was no voice, no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they had made.... And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out of them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the evening oblation, but there was no voice, no one answered, no one heeded."

Once the pagan prophets had given up, Elijah came forward and called on the God of Israel, and immediately his prayer was answered.

The prayers of the pagan prophets were "vain" because, after spending the entire day frantically calling upon him, Baal never responded. He wasn't a real god, unlike the God of Israel, who always answers sincere prayer. Jesus' point in Matthew 6:7 is that we don't need to spend all day leaping over altars, cutting ourselves, and raving to get our heavenly Father's ear. He hears our prayers no matter what type of prayer is offered: lengthy or short, composed or extemporaneous, group or individual, repetitious or unique.

Thus Jesus says in the next verse: "Therefore do not be like them the pagans. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask him" (Matt. 6:8). This doesn't mean that, since God already knows our needs, we don't have to pray at all. As Jesus taught in the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), we are to be tenacious in prayer, freely and repeatedly (repetitiously) bringing our petition before the seat of grace.

Paul says we are to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17), not "pray reservedly lest we repeat ourselves" (as is inevitable in ceaseless prayer). One of the benefits of the rosary is that it leads naturally to the ceaseless prayer and meditation which Scripture enjoins upon us.

If there should be any lingering doubt that God doesn't look down on repetition in prayer, note that in Revelation 4:8-11 we find the heavenly host engaging in repetitive prayer ("Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty"), said "day and night" before the throne of the Almighty, followed by repetitious antiphons from the elders.


Thanks for sharing that very encouraging word, C-vert. What a great way to evangelise.


Martin, Thanks for that can of very useful info. I'll save that if you don't mind.


Way to go Convert!!!! Keep making those Rosaries you're doing the right thing. God Bless.


Good work Convert. the rosary is a prayer that god wants us to pray according to the messages that Mary and Jesus have been giving us in apparitions. The rosary was give to us by God through Mary. prayer is the most powerful weapon we have against evil and to convert sinners and the rosary is the most powerful prayer available. peace


Thanks Martin,

Its good to have this forum so enlightened.

God bless, Peter


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