Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Rosary in the Bible: Part 1

Many people just don't "get" the rosary.

The most common thing I hear is that it's difficult to reconcile the Rosary with the Bible (especially 'round here in the South!).
But the Rosary is so unequivocally Biblical! It is not only, in large part, a recitation of Scripture, but it is also a meditation on the fulfillment of Scripture: Jesus Christ.
The rosary focuses on 20 "main events" in Christ's life, called "mysteries," with a meditative reciting of the Bible whilst contemplating the life of Christ.

The Rosary: Man-made craziness, or inspired Biblical meditation?
So let's break it down. I won't focus so much on the "how" of praying the rosary - that's been done. Today, we'll focus on the prayers themselves. Where is all this weird stuff Catholics are muttering found in the Bible?
As we'll see, much of the Rosary is literally word-for-word from the Gospels themselves.

The rosary begins with the Apostles' Creed. Developed in response to Arian heresies in the earliest centuries of the Church, this prayer is common to nearly all Christian faiths, and has deep roots in the Bible. For each of these prayers, the spoken text comes first in each line, followed by the Scripture it references or is derived from in parentheses.

The Apostles' Creed.
I believe in God (Exodus 20:2,3 & Mark 12:29-31),
the Father almighty (Ephesians 4:6, Malachi 2:10, Genesis 35:11), 
Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 44:24), 
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord (John 3:16, Matthew 3:17), 
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18 , Philippians 2:6-7), 
born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-27, Matthew 1:20-21, Luke 2:7), 
suffered under Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:,26-30, John 19:1), 
was crucified, died and was buried (Mark 15:15-47, John 19:17-42); 
he descended into hell (Acts 2:31, Ephesians 4:8-10, 1 Peter 3:18-20); 
on the third day he rose again from the dead (Luke 24:5-7, John 20:12- 20,1 Corinthians 15:3-4); 
he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11), 
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty (Mark 16:19, 1 Peter 3:21,22); 
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead (John 5:22, Revelation 1:7). 
I believe in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19, John 3:5 and 14:17, Titus 3:5), 
the holy catholic Church (John 17:20-23, Acts 2:42, Ephesians 4:1-6, Philemon 1:2, Colossians 1:18), 
the communion of saints (Hebrews 12:22-24, Revelation 7:9), 
the forgiveness of sins (John 20:21-23, Matthew 18:18, 1 Timothy 6:12),
the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting (1 Corinthians 2:9 and 15:21-22). Amen.

So the Catholic Church didn't just make this stuff up in 325 AD. It actually came from the Bible. Good to know.

The Our Father.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name (Matthew 6:9); 
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven (Matthew 6:10) . 
Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11)
and forgive us our trespasses; as we forgive those who trespass against us (Matthew 6:12)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen (Matthew 6:13)
iknowright? Bro plz....

The Hail Mary is probably the biggest sticking point. After all, it is the most commonly said prayer in the rosary at 53 times per set of mysteries. And, it's all about Mary. or so it seems. Let's find out.

The Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee (Luke 1:28,42),
blessed art thou among women (Luke 1:28), 
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus (Luke 1:42).
Holy Mary (Song of Solomon 6:9-10),
Mother of God (Luke 1:43, Revelation 12),
pray for us sinners (Luke 20:38, James 5:16, Hebrews 12:1), 
now and at the hour of our death (Matthew 26:41, Galatians 5:1, Hebrews 12:14 ). Amen.

The first three lines are literally a word-for-word recitation of parts of Luke's gospel.
The remainder draws heavily upon the traditions of mediation and praying for others in the Church. Hebrews 12:1 reminds us the we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, and certainly heeding the advice given by James can't lead us astray. After all, as Luke's gospel reminds us, God is the God of the living, and where is else is life to found in its fullest but in heaven? Mary, a part of the cloud of witnesses and under the same God of life, certainly is "righteous" and can pray for others in the Church, per James' discourse. So yes, the Hail Mary is extremely Biblical.

Told ya so.

Woman? Check. Clothed with the sun? Check. Crown of 12 stars? Check. Moon under feet?
Check. Heel striking at head of serpent? Check.
Looks like Mary to me.

The Glory Be.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit (Romans 11:36, Matthew 28:19, 2 Timothy 4:18), 
as it was in the beginning (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-5), 
is now, and ever shall be (2 Peter 3:18, 2 Timothy 4:18), 
world without end (Ephesians 3:21). Amen.

Again, while not directly stated in the Bible, the prayer nevertheless is derived from some main concepts in the New Testament. The Trinity, everlasting life, God in the beginning...easy stuff.

OK, but the Fatima prayer?? I mean, really - here it is, 1917, and suddenly we're supposed to add some new prayer to the Church? Doesn't that go against the Bible? Come on, man!

"Every word of God is fire tried: he is a buckler to them that hope in him. Add not any thing to his words, lest thou be reproved, and found a liar." -Proverbs 30:5-6

"And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll." -Revelation 22:19

The Fatima Prayer.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins (Mark 2:5-12, John 20:21-23), 
save us from the fires of Hell (Matthew 18:8, Jude 1:7, Revelation 21:8), 
and lead all souls to heaven (John 7:2, 1 Timothy 2:3-4), 
especially those in most need of Thy mercy (Matthew 25:31-46). Amen.

"Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us." -Ecclesiastes 1:10

The Catholic Church does not add or remove anything throughout the ages. The fulfillment of revelation, the summation of all faith is in Jesus Christ. We cannot add to or take away from that. Rather, we can present things in a new way - we can find different approaches of explaining and praying on the same Truth that has always existing.

And now, we come to my favorite: The Hail Holy Queen. I can see people buying the Hail Mary. After all, half of it is right from Luke. But the HHQ? "Mother of Mercy?" Come on! Folks who don't understand seem to want to BBQ the HHQ (ba-dum-boomp-ching!).

But it, too, is Biblical to the core:

Hail Holy Queen
Hail! Holy Queen (Luke 1:28,42, Revelation 12),
Mother of Mercy (Psalm 103:8, Luke 1:43, John 10:30, James 3:17),
our life, our sweetness, and our hope (Romans 12:5, John 14:6, 1 Timothy 1:1). 
To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve (Genesis 3:20-24) . 
To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears (Psalm 84:6) .
Turn then, O most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us (John 2:1-11, 2 Timothy 1:2-3); 
and after this our exile (Hebrews 11:13), 
show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus (Luke 1:42).
O clement! O loving! O sweet Virgin Mary (Luke 1:48, Matthew 1:24-25)! 
Pray for us (1 Timothy 2:1, Revelation 5:8 & 8:3-4) , 
O Holy Mother of God (Song of Solomon 6:9-10, Luke 1:43, Revelation 12), 
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

** Additional related verses: Matthew 8:13, 15:28, 17:3, & 17:15–18, Mark 9:17–29, Luke 8:49–55, John 19:26-27, Romans 15:30–32, Ephesians 6:18–20, Colossians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, James 5:16–18, Hebrews 12:22-23. **

One great thing about the Catholic Church is that it takes in ALL of Scripture at the same time. So looking at the "Mother of Mercy" line, we see Mary as the mother of Christ, the Trinity as one from John 10:30, and mercy as a characteristic of Wisdom - the Holy Spirit.

Mary, as mother of God, is therefore also mother of all that is God, including mercy.

I need to read that one again.
So there it is. All of the primary prayers of the rosary, and each line broken down as found in the Bible. Again, taking Scripture in its entirety, all at once, and deriving and extracting Truth from it, we can easily discover the rosary in the Bible. In fact, the rosary prayers themselves take us from Genesis, through the Psalms and the Wisdom books, into Malachi and the Prophets, through each and every Gospel, into Paul and the other Epistle writers, and straight into the heart of Revelation. The rosary condenses these verses and extrapolates these Truths into a meditative prayer cycle, entirely centered on Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

Next, we'll be looking at the mysteries of the Rosary, and where each of them fit into the Bible - beginnign with what we call the Joyful Mysteries.

As Fr. Corapi once said, "Pray the rosary, pray the Gospels!"

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