Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Catholic Devotions: Mechanical, Repetitive, Useless Practices?


One major criticism of the Catholic Church from many non-Catholic Christians is that Catholic devotions such as the Rosary, novenas, or even the Stations of the Cross are just repetitive, shallow practices which produce no spiritual fruit and, moreover, are a direction violation of the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:7.

Devotions in the Catholic Church are called "vocal prayers", and many have been handed down for hundreds and hundreds of years, coming to us directly from the saints, such as the Rosary which, according to tradition, the Blessed Mother gave to St. Dominic in 1214 as a means of converting heretics.  Another example is the Stations of the Cross. which tradition says also began with Our Blessed Mother who visited the scenes of Our Lord's passion every day during her lifetime.   The Catholic Church has many hundreds of different devotions.

However, in recent years many people in the Church have begun to look at these devotions as merely mechanical and empty, and believe that not only do they not aid in our spiritual growth, they might even hinder our growth. Many say that Catholic devotions, or vocal prayers, are at best, a beginning. We are told that a much better way to pray is mental prayer, which is basically meditation and contemplation of God, a time of silence and oneness with God,  There is no doubt that mental prayer is the highest form of prayer, when one can become truly united with God, as stated in a transcript of a talk on mental prayer given by Brother Andre Marie, which you can read HERE. Below is a small quote from this talk:

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