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Thursday, March 10, 2016

En Garde! In Defense of the Holy Rosary and Other Catholic Practice

by Susan Fox 

Christian Pastor James J. Brown is pro-life, favors Traditional Marriage and understands the dangers of Islam. But he doesn't understand why Catholics pray the Rosary. This is his notice to Catholics on Google: 
Pastor James J. Brown, such is vain ignorance.

The Rosary is a meditation on Scripture itself. It is the vast training ground of prayer and therefore the door that opens when Christ knocks.

It leashes the three dogs of useless talking, vain imagination and a cold heart towards God. These three dogs are trying to pull us in three different directions. The Rosary --
Useless talking, vain imagination and cold heart pulling
us in different directions
properly prayed -- ties up these fractious dogs and allows us to love God with our whole heart!

The first dog resides in our wagging lips. This dog will waste our time rattling endlessly so much flotsam and jetsam. "Did you hear what that no good bloke said to me yesterday?" "Why is she dressed like that?"

“Silence. Pray,” the angel says. “Listen to me:”  "Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus." (Luke 1:28,31)   When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, His answer was: "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy
 Name." How can we go wrong praying what Our Lord Himself told us to pray, and doing it five times during the entire Rosary?

The second wild dog is our own imagination. While you are trying to pray, are you not endlessly distracted with thoughts about what someone said to you yesterday, or what you will eat at dinner?  This dog is pulling you away from God. When we pray the Rosary,
we must THINK about the very Life of Jesus as we have read about it in Scripture! These are called the mysteries of the Rosary. We think of His Birth, how the angels came to the little people of the world -- the shepherds, inviting them to the Birth in the manger. Pray about the excited response of the shepherds! They got up and ran to where the Child lay in the manger! Lord, give me that excitement in Your Presence!

During the Rosary, we think about the Wise Men who traveled far to give Him gifts fit for a King, God and Sacrifice. Do you realize the implications of that? Here is God come in the flesh willing to die for our sins.  Already, at His Birth, foreign kings understood this. And the usurper King Herod, who was not born of the line of David, also understood the significance of Christ’s Birth. When he realized that the foreign kings had double-crossed him by not returning to give him the location of the Messiah, he sent his guards into Bethlehem (meaning “House of Bread”) to kill the true King along with all the male children age two and under.
"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." (Matt 2:18)

In the Holy Rosary, we think of Christ’s Life -- His presence at the Wedding Feast of Cana. Here He worked His first public miracle at the request of His Mother.  We ponder Jesus’ Baptism in the River Jordan, how this holy guy named John the Baptist didn't think he was fit to tie Jesus' sandals! Why not? What is different about Jesus? Isn’t He just a man?

While praying the Rosary, we think of the parables of the Kingdom of God. What do they tell us about Christ? Is not the Kingdom of God the very Life of Christ within us?  We pray about His Transfiguration, the manifestation of His Glory, which so confused the apostles that they wanted to build three altars!

We meditate on the Last Supper. "This is my Body. This is My Blood." Lo, He didn't say, “This is the symbol of my Body. This is the symbol of my Blood.” He literally said, “This is my Body.” And since it is Christ saying it, we know He made it true.
"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" (John 6: 51-52)

How is it that those Jews knew Christ was telling them to eat His flesh, and you Bible beginners don’t know that Christ told us to eat His flesh -- even though you use your lips to say Scripture is infallible? You don’t think Scripture is infallible! You think you are infallible, and your out-of-context interpretation is infallible.

Many Catholics go to daily Mass where Christ's one Mediation in time is re-presented. This is what Christ was talking about! “This is my Body! This is my Blood!” We Catholics are time travelers because at every Mass we participate in His original Last Supper and His original Passion, Death and Resurrection. We eat the Real Body and Blood of Christ every day as He commanded literally. We hear His Gospel daily, the Word of God!

It's not because He needs to die over and over again. No, He does it once. But we are human beings. We are weak. We need the nourishment of His Passion, Death and Resurrection every single day.
Christ willed to accompany us daily during our entire lives! Yes, He is present in the Word of God, in which we rejoice during the Mass, during the Liturgy of the Hours, and during our private Bible reading. The Word of God is the complete focus of our meditation in the Rosary! Daily we can receive the Word of God, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist! Daily we can focus on His Word praying the Rosary.

In praying the Rosary, we think about His Passion. We comfort Him in the Garden while the apostles sleep. We watch in horror His scourging at the pillar, which He so mercifully suffered, for our sakes. We stand with Him as He is mocked, humiliated and scorned during the crowning of thorns.

We walk with Him and Simeon, carrying the cross. We see the kindness and generosity of Jesus as He meets the people along the way, telling them not to weep for Him, but for their own children. While He suffered on the way to Calvary, He felt pity for Jerusalem, which he knew would be destroyed in 35 short years by the Romans.   

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'" (Matthew 23: 37-39)
In the Rosary, we kneel at the foot of the cross as He says, "Behold Your Mother!" We rejoice in the honor shown to Mary by Her Son along with St. Paul, who said "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Cor 12:26) Mary is honored by the angel at the Annunciation, honored by the Son at His death, honored by the Church at its Birth on Pentecost, and honored by Elizabeth in the Bible when she says, "Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43) If all these in the Bible honored Mary, why should we not do so?

On the cross, He owned nothing! Not even His clothes. And He gave His last remaining and most precious possession away! His Mother. “Behold Your Mother!” We are to take her into our home.

During the Rosary we meditate on the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This leashes the dog of the imagination that wants to run wild and think about something vain and worthless like chastising Catholics who honestly worship in Spirit and Truth when they pray the Rosary.
 The third dog to be leashed is the heart. Oh the heart wants to run after riches, getting things done (prayer is useless), wasting time thinking about a shiny bobble or a new car. The heart wants to stick its nose in other people’s business. The heart slyly wants to admire itself. It does this so the human being isn't aware of it. “Aren't I good? Don't I do good things for God?” says the heart. 

But the Rosary restrains the dog of the heart, and encourages it to wholeheartedly turn to God, its Creator. The Rosary softens the heart, makes it grateful for the job God did to save its worthless hide. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son!” (John 3:16)

Jesus was upset when he realized the Jews were thinking that Moses gave them the manna in the desert. You can almost hear the frustration in His voice:  “It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.”

Hush, now, I am praying the First Joyful Mystery of the Rosary and therefore I am in the room where the angel comes to announce to Mary that she will be the Mother of God. I notice how sweetly she accepts the will of God. She clearly recognizes that the angel invites her to be the Mother of the Messiah. She fully knows what he means because she uses the words of the Messianic Psalm 116 to accept the will of God:

"O LORD, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds. To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the LORD. I shall pay my vows to the LORD, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people" (Psalm 116:16-18)

And Mary response shows she read that psalm. She understood it. She knew God was asking her to be the Mother of God. "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, Be it done to me according to Your Word." (Luke 1:38) She would be the mother of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, the prophesized Messiah.

But her statement: “How shall this be done, because I know not man” is also prophetic. (Luke 1:34) She is not just talking about her virginity though she is a virgin. She is talking directly to God with a very important question that any good Jew would ask. The angel’s response gives us a clue to what she is asking.

“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1: 35) 
How did God enter the Temple the first time? God entered the Temple through a cloud that overshadowed the Ark of the Covenant. And the Glory of the Lord traveled with the Israelites in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. “And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. (I Kings 8:10-11)  

Tragically, Ezekiel sees the Glory of the Lord leave the temple about 600 years before the Birth of Christ. And Mary is aware of this. She knew God’s presence left the temple before she was born because of Israel’s secret worship of abominations in the Temple. God asks Ezekiel, Have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness” (Ezekiel 8:12).

The horror that Ezekiel saw and reported in chapters 8-11 is fulfilled when the armies of Babylon destroy the city and slay its inhabitants in 586 B.C.

“How can this be? I know not man.” The young Jewish virgin asks God, knowing that God’s Hand left the Temple because of her people’s transgressions. “Are you coming back?” she asked. 

The angel tells her, “Yes. He’s coming back. You are the new Temple. The Cloud will now overshadow you, most highly favored daughter of Israel. You are the New Ark of the Covenant.”  “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1: 35)

So my heart is totally engaged in this scene, not only out of love of Mary, whom I do honor, but out of love of God, Whom I adore. I marvel at His plan for our salvation. I see He has taken care of every detail. My heart is enkindled with love for Him. Never once did I blasphemy because all true devotion to Mary is Christ centered.

Mary is transparent – almost invisible. She is a magnifying glass for God. It’s in the Bible: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46) She is the little key that opens the door of our hearts to God, the King of Glory. "Behold your Mother." 

We say the words of the angel, “Hail Mary,” and she turns to Christ and gives Him our Greetings.  

We put our imagination to work and think of the moment of the Annunciation. We bury ourselves in the Great Cloud that descended on her during the Conception of Christ in her womb and she turns to Christ and gives Him our imagination.

We turn our hearts to what is taking place in the Scriptures, and Mary takes our hearts, softens them, and gives them to God Himself.  She is an Intercessor par excellente. We are all called to be such. 

And when the Rosary is finished. I take a little flower from the bouquet of what I have given to God, and I press it to my nose all day long. And so I have Peace. Not the peace that the world gives, but the Peace that Christ gives.

And that is the power of the Holy Rosary.

Did you enjoy this post? Perhaps you'd like to read my conversion story. I used to look disdainfully on Catholics kneeling before the statue of Mary!  Confessions of a Scrupulous Devotee to Mary 

Or perhaps you are not convinced that we are allowed to talk to the dead in the Presence of Christ? Read Living Stones Built into a Spiritual House -- The Communion of Saints for a biblical defense of the Communion of Saints


  1. Good article.... Although not true to Our Blessed Mother's Rosary for this person believes in the power of a man to change what Our Lady said and gave to us.

    The Holy Rosary of Our Blessed Mother only have 3 sets of Mysteries that represent the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior.

    And that is why we should only pray 15 Decades.

    1. Thank you Carlos. Our Beloved Pope Saint John Paul II gave us the fourth set of mysteries (popes have that authority) known as the Luminous Mysteries: The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, The Wedding Feast of Cana, The Teaching of the Parables of the Kingdom of God, the Transfiguration, the Last Supper. These are all from Scripture which proves my point that the Rosary is a method of Lectio Divina, meditation on Scripture. But let me emphasize that the Rosary is a training ground for prayer. That means God will lead you through this method to other forms of prayer, and if God gives you a point to pray about then you use the one God gave you. So you could be praying about the Annunciation, but if He leads you to think about Sunday's Gospel Reading instead, you go for it. This is from St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis de Sales and St. Teresa of Avila. They taught us to find a prayer key, a flower from the spiritual bouquet of our prayers that leads you uniquely into deep prayer, and REPEAT it, draw much fruit from it. Very likely the Luminous Mysteries are the prayer keys of Pope John Paul II. But you don't have to use them. They are a gift to make your training wheels of prayer more fruitful. Honestly, St. Faustina -- having used the training wheels of prayer for some time -- could not even finish the Glory Be without going into deep, deep prayer. Her confessor -- when he gave that to her for a penance -- had to say it with her so she could complete a simple vocal prayer.

      Our Lady never gave us the Rosary directly. She would have to appear to each of us individually. Tradition holds that St. Dominic (1221) devised the Rosary as we know it today after having a vision of the Blessed Mother. He was a man. https://www.ewtn.com/library/answers/rosaryhs.htm

      I'm sure Pope Saint John Paul II had similar experiences that led him to add the fourth set of mysteries.

      The pope is Christ's vicar on earth. Getting five new mysteries from the pope is just as if Jesus Christ Himself gave it to us. God bless you. Susan Fox

  2. Wonderful article! Pinned it. "We pray about His Transfiguration, the manifestation of His Glory, which so confused the apostles that they wanted to build three altars!" I thought they were so awed and thus wanted to DO something to show hospitality; it was the Feast of Tabernacles, so that is why they wanted to set up tents. I think Jeff Cavins is who I got this from. God bless!

  3. Thank you anonymous. Very good point. There is so much here to THINK about, isn't there? God bless you. Susan Fox

  4. In my 73 years of life I have come across many people who are disrespectful like this Pastor, James J. Brown. And, I sure little need for anyone who doesn't have a clue about Catholicism telling me I am wrong. I have found that many of these types of people want more to express their disdain for the church than they have any practical advice or real knowledge of what they are talking about. I, also, give very little credence to anyone who knows so little yet seem to have answers for Catholics..I get my advice and knowledge from within the church. They are wasting their brain cells and breath.

  5. This is a great post in defence of the Holy Rosary. To begin with, Jesus, The Father and The Holy Spirit love Mama Mary...No mortal can love her more The Triune God does.Nobody who goes through this post, aided with God's grace and by cooperating with Grace can say they weren't told the truth. Rev Pastor, and all who oppose Mary,it's really you who oppose God. Mary only leads us to God. She's most humble and doesn't like to hog the limelight. Jesus came into the world through Mary and one can reach Jesus through Mary with all confidence. No blasphemy at all. Please reconsider the content of this article. Again I say you'll have only yourself to blame for any anti- Marian propaganda after reading this post.Please "cross the Tiber" and enter the one True Church (ROMAN CATHOLIC)founded by Jesus Himself. God bless. Thanks Ma'am Susan for writing despite your poor health.

    1. People who speak against Holy Rosary should mediate on Mystery's, it's story of life of Jesus. Susan, poor health, my God, I will pray for you. Hert my neck.Cell phone not way I can use for long time. Apple promised to have iPad working by Monday. W7 keyboard not working. Love you . Mary

    2. Mary I am sorry for your trials and sufferings. May God bless you abundantly. I pray for you. God bless you. Susan Fox

    3. mccarthym078@gmail.comJune 19, 2016 at 1:56 PM

      Susan, I think of you & pray every day.God does work in wondrous ways. I trip due to R knee,nno big deal. I have so many Graces & Divine Mercy this year I only mention,never complain. I live life towards Narrow Path, never lonely. Others always telling me I'm waiting my life, or, I should be out there having fun.I became closer to Jesus & My Motherboard Heaven when iPad shut dowm for security Then, I realized I had lots to learn & meditate upon with new health being able to walk so good.I find lot of Catholics too quite. Maybe Jesus find a place for me where I can be heard " loud & clear". I am Witness to Holy Spirit in FIRE. HOWEVER, NOT day goes by God or Mama doesn't come up in conversation..people I run into, so many stories. Please let me know how you are & what's wrong? I'll have Mass for you. Have you posted anything since Orlando Murders? This World needs Jesus. I'll end by saying what Edwin was telling woman about Rosary. " THE ROMAN CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH IS ONLY TRUE CHURCH. JESUS CHRIST ONLY TRUE LORD & Savour.. Medjugorje Pilgrimage Oct,1998 St. James Church following Tour Bus on Fire along with God's, Angeles,Cross Mountain attached to Pilgrimage Bus. I pray all will believe in Jesus Christ. God Bless You Susan & Lawrence.

  6. I may have missed this point as I skimmed your article, but the Rosary prayers, themselves, are words taken from scripture: The Lord's Prayer, the angel's and Elizabeth's greetings to Mary, giving glory to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, we should get into the habit of ending the Glory Be with "will be forever" since scripture plainly says the world WILL come to an end.

    1. Amen, "and shall be forever" or "and shall be thru all generations" (Spanish)

  7. Where does the Scripture say we are to pray to anyone except God? After all, the rosary is praying to Mary who was a human being.

    1. The end of the Rosary is Jesus Christ. All true devotion has as its end Jesus Christ. Otherwise you are committing idolatry. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church. We may speak to Mary, but our purpose is to get to Christ. If I ask you to pray for me, I am not worshipping you, a creature. I am simply asking you to pray for me. Praying for me is a participation in Christ's One Mediation with the Father. God delights to work with nothing, so He allows men to serve Him and to intercede for our fellow men. Mary participates in this Mediation as well but in a special manner as she is the sinless the Mother of God. She is the New Eve. Eve said no to God, Mary, representing you and I -- all mankind -- said yes. We are saved through Christ's One Mediation, but God choose to use Mary to bring that about. So we can say we are also saved because Mary said, "Yes." God bless you. Susan Fox

    2. And actually, it does say in Scripture we can talk to the saints who are alive in Christ. In the book of Revelation, John converses with a dead elder in heaven. Jesus speaks with Elijah and Moses in the Transfiguration, and He was not committing Idolatry. God bless you. Susan

  8. "Getting five new mysteries from the pope is just as if Jesus Christ Himself gave it to us."
    No Way!

  9. I'll pray a rosary for you. God bless