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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vain Repetition

Candy has once again reposted her Vatican Versus God article. She has mentioned previously that she is very proud of this article because she sent a lot of time doing research for it. Certainly, she is to be commended for actually looking over the Vatican's website rather than just cutting and pasting from Jesus Is Lord, the way that she usually does.

As Elena has mentioned, we have really covered all of these points already. However, as I have time this week, I'd like to add my thoughts on a few of them.

What really stood out to me when I read this was Candy's note on vain repetition:

Vatican says - "After a short pause for reflection, recite the "Our Father", ten "Hail Mary’s" and the "Glory be to the Father". reference 7

God says - But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. -Matthew 6:7

My Notes: How would you like it, if your child came up to you, and said "you are a great mommy, you are a great mommy, you are a great mommy, you are a great mommy, you are a great mommy," over and over and over and over and over again? Now do you see why they are vain (AKA meaningless) repetitions?


What a reflection on her relationship with her children! Catholic apologists will often point out that you would NOT want your spouse or children to only tell you once that they love you, but you want to hear it over and over again.

This sort of repetition is very common for toddlers, and not at all meaningless. With each of my children, they have gone through a phase where we have the same conversation every morning that my husband goes to work. The child will ask over and over again, "Papa go to work? No, Papa not go to work, he stay home! Papa go to work? He be back later? He go to work but he be back after supper?" On and on, for about half an hour after my husband leaves, I will listen to this meaningful repetition and reassure the child that Papa loves him, and really will return.

In the same way, it is difficult for us humans, who see as though through a glass darkly, to full understand God. Repetition in the form of the Rosary is a way that we try to understand the "mysteries" of the Christian faith.

You can read our previous article on Vain Repetition here.

I would like to close by pointing you to a Psalm which reads very similar to Candy's example of meaningless repetition (King James Version, of course):

Psalm 136

1O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

3O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

4To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

5To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

6To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

7To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

8The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

9The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

10To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

11And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:

12With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.

13To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:

14And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:

15But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

16To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

17To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

18And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

19Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:

20And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:

21And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:

22Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.

23Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

24And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.

25Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.

26O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.



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6 comments:

Elena said...

That is an excellent point Kelly, and it really touched me to read it this morning.

My mother is very probably in the last months of her life. She is very small and weak and sometimes she is in dementia although other times she is very sharp. I am finding now days that I feel compelled to tell her every single time that I see her that I love her. I can't say it enough. and as the days go by I dread the time to come when she will no longer be able to hear me say it. I NEED her to know how much I love her and She NEEDs to know it. There is so much more behind those three words, "I Love You," but of course we both know that.

Candy, in some ways is such a fool.

mrs. c said...

this candy person is one of the most intolerant, and judgemental of phonies i have ever had the displeasure of coming across. not only intolerant, but apparently uneducated as well, if she would follow the basic tenents of christianity, she would find that SHE is abusing God's law, and interperting it just like one of those bible thumping false prophets who scam poor people for money, in turn for blessings. is any religion perfect..absolutely not, but no one is to judge another mans/womans heart, i believe in my catholic upbringing, as she believes in her own manmade faith. i just think she is one big colossal nerve...unworthy of all the attention she attracts, good or bad, thanks for letting me vent!

Unashamed said...

What I don't get is how one could consider the Lord's Prayer, the Magnificat, the Doxology or ANY of the liturgy really, as being "vain repetition" - its all Scripture for goodness sake! How on earth can reciting Scripture be a vain effort? Elena, you can take comfort that the Scripture that your mom repeated over and over was NOT in vain. God's Word has been inscribed in her memory and on her heart and no one can take that away from her. You are in my prayers.

CatholicMom said...

When my father-in-law was dying, he did not recognize us but he kept on saying the rosary in Polish. This is what comforted him in his last hours of life.

We never knew that he spoke Polish.

Sue Bee said...

When I hear "vain repetition" I think of contemporary Christian music.

Sue Bee said...

Or maybe it is the other way around, when I hear contemporary Christian music I think "vain repetition." :)