Definition: The performance of repetitive prayers to Mary requesting salvation and intercession. The rosary includes the recitation of 53 Hail Mary’s while meditating on five of the sacred mysteries – events in the life of Jesus and Mary. A full rosary consists of over 200 Hail Mary’s and twenty sacred mysteries. A rosary novena consists of praying the rosary nine consecutive days. Considered perhaps the most powerful intercessory prayer is the 54 day rosary novena – six consecutive nine-day novenas. This would over 2,800 Hail Mary’s. To assist in counting, rosary beads are used to keep track of the prayers. Many promises have been associated with the rosary, including indulgences, immediate entrance to heaven after death (avoiding purgatory), and world peace. Apparitions of the Catholic Mary have stressed the importance of praying the rosary to unleash her intercessory power.
Discussion: Catholics make a distinction between the worship offered to God and the lesser veneration offered to Mary. But the practical effect of Marian devotion is the diminishment of Jesus, the one true intercessor. Jesus instructs us how to pray. We are to avoid vain repetition (Mt. 6:7). We are to pray to God the Father (Lk. 11:2). And we are to pray in the name of Jesus, the name above every name (Phil. 2:9). To pray to a creature for intercession is fruitless and is idolatrous.
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