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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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  • Family activities, spirituality, liturgy, Christian apologetics, social justice topics, special education issues, and promoting the peace and unity of the human family.
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« Diversity and Multicultural Utopianism | Main | Wrongly Creating a Connection »

June 21, 2007

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Deacon John

Well Dan, If that was me at that Pentecostal church, I would have got up and explained that the Rosary is really a miniature Gospel, and as we pray the Our Father and Hail Mary, words taken right from scripture, we meditate on the life, death, resurrection, ascension and assumption of Jesus and Mary. And that's why the Catholic Church regards this prayer as the most efficacious next to the Holy Mass! But then again, having been to those type of prayer meetings, I KNOW that they will say something against my Faith, so I would be prepared to give my view of things! This reminds me of the time I heard Jimmy Swaggert proclaim on TV that Mother Teresa was going to hell because she prayed the Rosary. I am so happy that she is beatified now! Then there was the time that Billy Grahm's radio crusade said that those who wear the Brown Scapular were damned. How sad that we have to attack each other's beliefs instead of bringing people to Christ.
Deacon John

Deacon  DW

I hear what you are saying, John. However, keep in mind though that I was at the Pentecostal congregation representing an organization which I had worked hard for them to join. Essentially, I was there as a salesman.

Like I said, I was in an uneasy place both physically being there, and by facing the pastor's confrontation. Sure, I could have stood up and told them all the way it was, membership or not. I could have said, "Now just wait a minute there preacher..." except, I doubt that I would have been understood and I certainly would not have been the bearer of peace in that particular situation.

Sometimes, actually often, it's best to hear what the other fellow has to say and then weigh it for ourselves personally. Above all, consider the situation. It may be that what's called for is a defense of the faith, or it may be that the time is right to be all ears.

Probably seven years have now past since the time of the event that I wrote about above. If I went back to that particular congregation for any reason whatsoever, I guarantee you that the pastor would remember me, and he would respect me personally as I would him. However, he probably still would find disagreement with my religion, as I might with his, and he likely still preaches the way did then, just as I write and preach the way that I do. There's little that can change the way we are. I consider my not taking the offensive--or the defensive, as it would have been--to be the difference between him and me, and for me it's the better way.

A Catholic

Interesting. I'll bet both Muslims and Jews have less a problem with Rosary-praying than do Protestants. A fundamentalist employer once demanded of me to know why his children (enrolled in Catholic school for its better schooling) were given beads. He was a feisty Italian ex-biker from NYC, and he was on the verge of stomping over to see Sister Don't-You-Dare when I eased him about his children possibly being brainwashed. "No, they don't HAVE to pray it, but Mary is Jesus' mother. Praying the Rosary is like giving her a bouquet of roses." Well, that was alright. I hate it when I wiggle out of things that way, tho'.

Like her Son, she is a stumbling block.. as are we, now. The offscouring. Thankfully.

Gypsy

A beautiful photo, too, DDW

MMajor Fan

A few comments... first of all, how do they respond when asked why Jesus spent hours, sometimes the entire night, in prayer? I bet there would be a bit of a pause if you asked them that. Would you like to ask them if they thought Jesus was babbling like a pagan when he spent hours in prayer to his God the Father? I'd like to hear their answer. Here is the answer. There is a difference between devotional prayer, which can go on for a long as a person feels they need to be in communion with their God (what Jesus was doing when he prayed) and praying for a purpose, to make a request of God, which is what Jesus was referring to in this scripture. If people read line 5 before 6 you have the more complete context, "Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already." Notice that Jesus is saying that as hypocritical as the form of prayer might be, "they have their reward in full already." Jesus is acknowledging that these are mostly prayers of petition and pointing out that even those who pray in poor form and hypocrisy do receive their reward in full. But Jesus recognized that the people needed to understand more fully how to pray, because people in those times often prayed petitioning God for a favor. And so Jesus is teaching that instead of petitioning like the pagans or the hypocrites, to pray in the form of the Our Father. He goes on to explain that it's not because this is a short and sweet prayer, but because instead of lengthy petitions, those who pray should 14 "forgive people" 16 "do not look gloomy and sour and dreary like the hypocrites" and 18 "fasting" "in secret." So Jesus teaches a prayer that is more open ended to the receipt of the favor or healing that the person is praying for and strongly tied to forgiveness. Jesus does not say that the Lord does not have enough time to listen to everyone for however long they pray. Jesus prayed so long that the Apostles often fell asleep. That was because Jesus prayed as a devotional to God the Father. When a Catholic prays the rosary, for example, even if it is for a purpose, such as world peace, or a family healing, it is following the form of an extended devotional to God. Notice that Jesus did not say, "and only say the Our Father once a day, because we are all neat and tidy and short and sweet here." Jesus was teaching them how to pray in its full intention and understanding of God's will. Jesus would have no problem with someone praying the Our Father twenty times in a row if that was how the person was feeling their devotional connection to God. Luke 9:28-30 "Now it came to pass about eight days after these words, that he took Peter, James and John and went up the mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the appearance of his countenance was changed, and his raiment became a radiant white. And behold, two men were talking with him. And these were Moses and Elias.... " Now, why did Jesus take Peter, James and John up the mountain to pray if he was only going to say the Our Father once? And why did Peter have tents with them, which he offered to set up for Jesus, Moses, and Elias? Because they were planning to spend not only hours but days in prayer. I do wish people would read the entire gospel and not cherry pick to be uncharitable.

A Catholic

I don't think people cherry-pick to be uncharitable.. except for radicals. I think people want to share the Jesus they know and "own," and often it seems for a reason of doing away with mystery. Mystery drives us bonkers, especially when it comes to the Lord of Lords, because we'd like some definitive sign that we're ok, saved, et al. But this is the problem with not letting the content and message be determined by a content-and-message determining body.. the Magisterium. For one passage of Scripture, even I may personally hold 5 different views, but are any of them accurate?

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