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Taralyn Coughlan wrote:

Hi guys,

I am the manager of a Protestant Christian Bookstore in Canada. We have always sold Rosaries and have sold gifts for First Communion, Confirmation, and Baby Baptism, even though none of us working here are Catholic.

Recently, an employee has questioned our choice to sell these products. I promised I would do some research about them. After reading some information on the internet about Rosaries, I do have an issue with the Hail Mary prayer. I do not believe it is Scriptural to pray to, or even try to speak to, the dead — even if they are technically alive in Christ. The Bible prohibits consulting mediums to try to speak to the dead.

  • How is asking Mary to pray for us biblical?
  • Also, what are your thoughts on the [promises|benefits] of the Rosary?
    Most of it seems quite un-scriptural.
  • How does praying the Rosary get you any extra blessings from God, especially protection from Mary?
  • How can Mary protect us?

God alone has the power to protect. Also, Mary cannot grant forgiveness for sins.

I would appreciate your help in understanding what Catholics really believe and in deciding whether or not to continue selling Rosaries.

Taralyn

  { Can you answer some Marian questions so I can decide whether to continue carrying Rosaries? }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi Taralyn,

The Bible says we are not to summon spirits. We are not to summon them to our presence for the purpose of having them manifest or speak to us. That would be a violation of trust in God, and would leave us open to deception and manipulation by evil spirits. Besides, God alone has power over the dead.

When we pray to the saints who have gone ahead, we are not summoning them, but we are commending to them our prayer intentions in the Lord, knowing that the Lord is the grantor of all prayers. Now that Christ has established the Communion of Saints, all are alive in His Body, whether on earth or in Heaven. We can be in communion through Him — much as the blood carries the life of the body to all parts.

No Catholic expects an answer from the saint in the form of communication. We just know that God has enabled the saints to continue praying for us, and God has let Himself be moved by the prayers of men (and that is Biblical), especially the prayers of His Mother (and that is Biblical).
We know that if there is ever a manifestation of someone who has died, such as:

  • a grandmother seeming to come in a dream
  • a vision of a saint, or
  • even the appearance of a ghost (a soul in Purgatory who needs prayers, or a damned soul)

it is by God's will or permission alone.

You are right that Mary cannot forgive sins but she can, as a human being, forgive the wrong we did to her by our sins which caused the cruel death of her Son. Any human being can forgive sins in that sense, as you forgive your enemy or I forgive the person who cuts me off in traffic. We are not taking away their sin, but we are forgiving it in a human sense.

Mary does that, and she has great power with God in asking Him to forgive — however, anyone who repents to God is immediately forgiven, because all God asks is repentance. So Mary's intercession would come more in the nature of asking God to give the grace for repentance to someone. Because all our good deeds, even our repentance, are the fruit of grace.

As for the Rosary, the whole first part is made of quotations from Scripture. (Luke 1:28, Luke 1:42) The second part is simply asking her to pray for us. Asking her to pray for us sinners is not asking her for Divine forgiveness, but asking her to pray for us, poor sinners as we are, that we persevere to the end.

One other thing I have never heard any Protestant bring up can be found in St. Paul's Epistles.
He is always saying that he prays for you and for everyone. Now God's Word is living, and is addressed to us now.

Protestants usually take the words of Scripture as living realities. That would mean that St. Paul, even now, is telling us he prays for us and for the Churches, and that he is, as he often does in his letters, directing the course of benefits, collections, articles, etc.

That said, try praying to St. Paul by claiming the words of Scripture — I would venture that God will answer your prayer as a way of showing you His generosity through the Communion of Saints.

St. Paul, pray for the churches!

Hope this helps,

Mary Ann

Eric replied:

Hi, Taralyn,

I would point out that all a Rosary is, is a set of beads for counting prayers. Some people use Rosaries for counting Hail Mary's, some people do not. It is not your responsibility what prayer purchasers use a Rosary for. It's like a store selling a knife: it can be used to murder or injure someone, but it can also be used for legitimate purposes. A knife is not intrinsically evil, and neither is a Rosary. So even if you truly do not approve of the prayer of St. Dominic known as the Rosary, that should not prevent you from selling Rosary beads.

As for the prayer of St. Dominic known as the Rosary, I understand that as a Protestant you have a problem with prayers addressed to Mary. Let me assure you that such prayers do not, in any way, constitute worship; in Latin, the word for pray simply means to ask, and we ask the saints in Heaven for prayers because:

  1. the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective (James 5:13-16) and the saints in Heaven are perfectly righteous.
  2. the saints are present around us and can hear us (Hebrews 12:1, 23); and
  3. the saints carry our prayers to the throne room of God (Revelation 5:8).

If you think about it, the concept is very simple.

  • Is it legitimate to ask God to ask a saint to pray for us? <Sure it is!>

If you believe that the saints are alive with Christ, surely you would have no objection to that. From there we just say that praying to a saint is simply shorthand for asking God to ask that saint to pray for us. That's all it really is.

  • How can there be anything wrong with that?

Note that we aren't asking for a message back from the saint, so this is not necromancy or mediumship which would be forbidden. Remember, these are forms of fortune-telling, which depend on receiving a message from the dead.

I don't hope to be able to convince you pray to the saints but perhaps this will make you feel more comfortable with the idea of carrying Rosaries.

Hope this helps,

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi Taralyn,

Because of the importance of the Holy Rosary in Christian warfare against the demonic,
I've posted the text of a handout on:

  • the Rosary
  • its history, and
  • common objections below.

I would especially note what our Blessed Mother said to St. Dominic in 1214 during the Albigensian heresy. If your employee is a Christian, I would think he would want to reached those hardened souls, Our Lady referred to when talking to St. Dominic.

In her appearance to St. Dominic she refers to the Rosary as:

the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament.

  • How can any Christian disagree with that?

We have booklets and pamphlets abounding that show the Scriptural basis for each mystery of the Rosary we meditate on inwardly.

Many times, people who don't understand the Rosary, view Catholics as participating in an unbiblical practice involving vain repetition. What they don't see is the inward meditation that all Christians should focus on, least we do fall into the trap of vain repetition.

Instead of questioning why you are carrying the Rosary, I would question why you are not carrying the Brown Scapular. The last visionary of Fatima, Sr. Lucia said:

The Rosary and Brown Scapular are inseparable!

I just finished a MS Word handout on the Brown Scapular. If you like this handout you are welcome to put some copies in your store.

I believe as fellow Christians we should always be looking for ways and paths where we can unite despite our differences. I believe this is one of those uniting areas. I would hope your employee friend would agree with me.

In My Own Words with aid from an original source article taken from Wikipedia.

What is the Rosary?

The Rosary is the Prayer of the Gospels, a meditation on (20) twenty primary events in the Life of Our Blessed Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother Mary from the Bible.

If you have something against the Rosary, you have something against the Holy Bible! Like the Holy Scriptures, it is the Good News of Jesus! It's a Scriptural prayer.

We:

  • pray as Our Lord Jesus tells us to in Matthew 6:9-13 and
  • meditate on God becoming truly man like us in all things except sin for our salvation in Luke 1:28, Luke 1:42! The Church formalizes this in the Hail Mary:
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. (Luke 1:28)

Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. (Luke 1:42)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. (The Church)

From a secular source:

What's the history of the Rosary?

An Outgrowth of the 150 Psalms of David

Most historians trace the origin of the Rosary as we know it today back to the so-called Dark Ages of ninth century Ireland. In those days, as is still true today, the 150 Psalms of David were one of the most important forms of monastic prayer. Monks recited or chanted the Psalms day-after-day as a major source of inspiration.

The lay people who lived near the monasteries could see the beauty of this devotion, but because very few people outside the monasteries knew how to read in those days, and because the 150 psalms are too long to memorize, the lay people were unable to adapt this prayer from for their own use.

So one day in about the year 800 A.D., one of the Irish monks suggested to the neighboring lay people that they might like to pray a series of 150 Our Fathers in place of the 150 Psalms. Little did he know that his simple suggestion was the first step in the development of what would one day become the most popular non-liturgical prayer form of Christianity.

At first, in order to count their 150 Our Fathers, people carried around leather pouches which held 150 pebbles. Soon they advanced to ropes with 150 or 50 knots; and eventually they began to use strings with 50 pieces of wood.

Shortly afterwards the clergy and lay people in other parts of Europe began to recite, as a repetitive prayer, the Angelic Salutation, which makes up most of the first part of our Hail Mary. St. Peter Damian, who died in 1072, was the first to mention this prayer form. Soon many people were praying the fifty Angelic Salutations while others favored the fifty Our Fathers.

1214 and the Albigensian heresy. (Origin of the Mysteries)

It was in the year 1214 that the Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by St. Dominic, who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners. Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people's sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse, where he prayed continuously for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and did harsh penances in order to appease the anger of God. At this point our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said,

"Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?"

"Oh, my Lady," answered Saint Dominic, "you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation."

Then Our Lady replied,

"I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter."

So he arose, comforted, and burning with zeal for the conversion of the people in that district, he made straight for the cathedral. At once unseen angels rang the bells to gather the people together, and Saint Dominic began to preach.

1917 and Our Lady of Fatima.Local Newspapers After the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima

Between May and October of 1917, three shepherd children, Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto reported visions of the Virgin Mary in the Cova da Iria fields outside the hamlet of Aljustrel, very close to Fatima, Portugal. They had this experience on the 13th day of each month at approximately the same hour. Lúcia described seeing Mary as "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun."

A photo static copy of a page from Ilustração Portugueza, October 29, 1917, showing the crowd looking at the miracle of the sun during the Fatima apparitions (attributed to the Virgin Mary) According to Lúcia's account, Mary confided to the children three secrets, known as the Three Secrets of Fatima. She exhorted the children to do penance and to make sacrifices to save sinners. The children wore tight cords around their waists to cause pain, abstained from drinking water on hot days, and performed other works of penance. Most important, Lúcia said Mary asked them to say the Rosary every day, reiterating many times that the Rosary was the key to personal and world peace. Many young Portuguese men, including relatives of the visionaries, were then fighting in World War I.

Thousands of people flocked to Fatima and Aljustrel in the ensuing months, drawn by reports of visions and miracles. On August 13, 1917, the provincial administrator Artur Santos (no relation), believing that the events were politically disruptive, intercepted and jailed the children before they could reach the Cova da Iria that day. Prisoners held with them in the provincial jail later testified that the children, while upset, were consoled by the inmates, and then led the inmates in saying the Rosary. Administrator Santos interrogated the children primarily about the alleged secrets, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to discover what those secrets were. Santos went so far as to feign the preparation of a pot of boiling oil, and then removed the children one by one from his interrogation room, claiming that each removed child had been boiled to death in the oil, and urging the remaining child to divulge the secret so as to avoid a similar fate. That month, instead of the usual apparition in the Cova da Iria on the 13th of the month, the children reported that they saw Mary on August 19 at nearby Valinhos.

On October 13, 1917, the final in the series of the apparitions of 1917, a crowd believed to be approximately 70,000 in number, including newspaper reporters and photographers, gathered at the Cova da Iria in response to reports of the children's prior claims that on that day a miracle would occur "so that all may believe". It rained heavily that day, yet, countless observers reported that the clouds broke, revealing the sun as an opaque disk spinning in the sky and radiating various colors of light upon the surroundings, then appearing to detach itself from the sky and plunge itself towards the earth in a zigzag pattern, finally returning to its normal place, and leaving the people's once wet clothing now completely dry. The event is known as the "Miracle of the Sun".

Columnist Avelino de Almeida of O Século (Portugal's most influential newspaper, which was pro-government in policy and avowedly anti-clerical), reported the following "Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bare-headed, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws-the sun 'danced' according to the typical expression of the people." Eye specialist Dr. Domingos Pinto Coelho, writing for the newspaper Ordem reported, "The sun, at one moment surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceeding fast and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat". The special reporter for the October 17, 1917 edition of the Lisbon daily, O Dia, reported the following, "...the silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy grey light, was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. The light turned a beautiful blue, as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral, and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands. People wept and prayed with uncovered heads, in the presence of a miracle they had awaited. The seconds seemed like hours, so vivid were they."

Depiction of the three children receiving the vision. This tilework is from Ironbound, a Portuguese neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. No movement or other phenomenon of the sun was registered by scientists at the time. According to contemporary reports from poet Afonso Lopes Vieira and schoolteacher Delfina Lopes with her students and other witnesses in the town of Alburita, the solar phenomena were visible from up to forty kilometers away. The three shepherd children, in addition to reporting seeing the actions of the sun that day, also reported seeing a panorama of visions, including those of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of Saint Joseph blessing the people. The Benedictine historian of science, Fr. Stanley Jaki, has suggested that the apparent movement of the sun was a hallucination caused by an atmospheric inversion, but that the children's foreknowledge of the apparent sign was miraculous.

Source: Originally taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Questions about the Rosary

Question:

I thought there were only fifteen (15) mysteries of the Rosary. Where did you get the other five (5) Luminous mysteries from?

The Answer:

Our late Holy Father Pope John Paul II gave them to the Church in his encyclical: Rosarium Virginis Mariae, the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In it his said:

Consequently, for the Rosary to become more fully a compendium of the Gospel, it is fitting to add:

  • following reflection on the Incarnation and the hidden life of Christ (the Joyful mysteries) and
  • before focusing on the sufferings of his Passion (the Sorrowful mysteries) and
  • the triumph of his Resurrection (the Glorious mysteries)

a meditation on certain particularly significant moments in his public ministry (the mysteries of Light). This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer's traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory.

Addressing biases and untruths

Objection:

At an evening devotion in a Catholic Church, I heard many prayers like these to Mary. I cannot find in Scripture where Mary is to be worshipped in the same way as Christ.

The Answer:

I am not surprised, for such a doctrine is nowhere taught in Scripture. Moreover, if any Catholic dared to worship Mary in the same way as he worships Christ, he would be guilty of a most serious sin, and no Catholic Priest could give him absolution unless he promised never to do it again. But that does not mean that one must deprive Mary of all honor.

Objection:

Why pray to Mary at all?

The Answer:

Because God wills that we should do so, and because such prayers to her are of the utmost value. God often will to give certain favors only on condition that we go to some secondary agent.

  • Sodom was to be spared through the intercession of Abraham;
  • Naaman, the leper, was to be cured only through the waters of the Jordan.

Now Mary is, and must ever remain the mother of the Christ. She still has a mother's rights and privileges, and is able to obtain for us many graces. But let us view things reasonably.

  • If I desire to pray, I can certainly pray to God directly, yet would you blame me if, at times, I were to ask my own earthly mother to pray for me also?

Such a request is really a prayer to her that she may intercede for me with God. Certainly if I met the mother of Christ on earth, I would ask her to pray for me, and she would do so. In her more perfect state with Christ in heaven she is not less able to help me.

Objection:

Between each Our Father to God, you throw in ten prayers to Mary!

The Answer:

You've got it the wrong way. Between each ten Hail Mary's an Our Father is said. The Rosary is essentially a devotion to Mary, Jesus' mother, honoring her whom God Himself so honored. And it honors her particularly in her relationship to Christ, whose life is the subject of the meditations. The Our Father abstracts from the incarnation of Christ; the Hail Mary is full of reverence to Our Lord's birth into this world for us. (Luke 1:28, Luke 1:42)

Objection:

Would not the Rosary be just as efficient if said with one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Gloria?

The Answer:

It would not be the Rosary then, but some other type of devotion. Nor would such a devotion be as efficient for inner meditation on each mystery due to the brevity of the prayers. While saying those 10 Hail Mary's aloud, our inner meditation ponders on the various mysteries themselves. In the same way man is made with a viewable body and unviewable soul; so the Rosary has an outward part, the vocal prayer, and an inner part, the inner meditation on the various mysteries. Your trouble seems to be based on the mere question of numbers. That is quite immaterial.

Objection:

Some Protestants object to saying “Holy Mary” because they claim Mary was a sinner like the rest of us.

The Answer:

Mary was a Christian (the first Christian, actually, the first to accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior (Luke 1:45). The Bible also describes Christians in general as holy. In fact, they are called saints, which mean holy ones (See Ephesian 1:1, Philippians 1:1 and Colossians 1:2). Furthermore, as the mother of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Mary was certainly a very holy woman.

Objection:

Some Protestants object to the title, Mother of God.

The Answer:

The title, Mother of God, does not mean Mary is older than God; it means the person who was born of her was a divine person, not a human person.

Jesus is one person, the divine person, who has two natures, one divine and one human.

It is incorrect to say Jesus is a human person.

15 Promises for those who pray the Rosary
from Our Blessed Mother


From our friends at: Our Lady's Warriors

  1. Whosoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
  2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
  3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.
  4. It will cause good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for Eternal Things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
  5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
  6. Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of Eternal Life.
  7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
  8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the Light of God and the plenitude of His Graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the Merits of the Saints in Paradise.
  9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
  10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of Glory in Heaven.
  11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by recitation of the Rosary.
  12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
  13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.
  14. All who recite the Rosary are my Sons, and brothers of my Only Son Jesus Christ.
  15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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