I wrote these series of articles (see menu sidebar to the left) as a Catholic for Catholics, but I no longer accept Catholic teaching as the authoritative source of truth.I have not attempted to align these articles with my current views.

I first comment on the prayers of the Rosary and then the 20 mysteries.



Apostles' Creed


This is a very early creed which was recited by new Christians upon their baptism and entry into the church (the Catholic Church; there was no other church).

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Notice that the Father is called God. In the Nicene creed we see the phrase "One God, the Father". Apparently the unity of the Godhead is present in some way in the Father. The Son is begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. The Orthodox Church emphasizes this point in their doctrine of the oneness of God residing in the person of the Father; that the Father is the unique origin, source and cause of the Godhead.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Most of the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed are devoted to Jesus Christ.

I believe in the Holy Spirit

In the Nicene creed the Holy Spirit is proclaimed to be the Lord and the Giver of life.

The Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

It is interesting to notice what things are mentioned as beliefs of Christians besides the Trinity. The first two of these five items are rejected by Protestants as worthy of belief at all.

  1. Holy Catholic Church — Immediately after the Trinity we have the church. This implies that the church has a key role in our faith, that it is more than merely the abstract set of all believers.
  2. Communion of Saints — The belief in Saints is a very early aspect of the life of the church. Those who object to Catholics relating to the Saints should realize that this is what the very early church believed.
  3. Forgiveness of sins
  4. Resurrection — Even in the New Testament we find a strong emphasis on the resurrection of the body.
  5. Life everlasting

Our Father


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

A prayer to the Father. He is in heaven. His name is holy; he is holy.

Thy kingdom come.

The final fulfillment of God's kingdom is after the final judgment, but the kingdom of God exists in the world today. Since the time of Jesus, the kingdom of God resides in the church established by Jesus, the Catholic Church. We should pray that the church is made known to all on the earth.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God rules heaven. We pray that his will can be manifest on the earth as perfectly as it is in heaven. This prayer must have some value — by praying it we assist God in some mysterious way to accomplish it.

Give us this day our daily bread.

We must depend on God for our needs daily. Perhaps this applies to daily reception of the Eucharist.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

If we don't forgive others we should not expect God to forgive us.

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Certainly God does not lead us into temptation but he may neglect to protect us from it unless we are diligent to pray that he provides the grace necessary to shield us from evil.


Hail Mary


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

The words of the archangel Gabriel. He greets her, tells her she is full of grace, and tells her the Lord is with her. What an awesome, awesome experience this must have been for Mary. We should meditate to experience Jesus the way Mary did.

Protestant Christians typically object to the understanding of this verse as implying that Mary was graced by God to be conceived sinless. They object to the idea that we should give Mary any special attention. But this verse is very significant.

Full of grace — It is translated "highly favored one" in Protestant translations but in St. Jerome's Vulgate it is clearly translated as "full of grace." This verse (among others) provides the basis of the doctrine of the immaculate conception, that Mary was conceived without sin by the grace of God. Since Mary is full of grace, then this grace includes the same grace that Adam and Eve had, the freedom from sin.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

These are the words of Elizabeth.

Jesus is blessed and Mary is blessed.

Elizabeth had a Marian devotion. She acknowledged Mary's blessedness and her role as the Mother of God.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

We pray to Mary. We first acknowledge who she is. We call her holy, which she of course is, since she is in heaven. We refer to her as the Mother of God which means that Jesus is 100% God in all his aspects including his human form. We admit that we are sinners and in need of help and we ask her to pray for us. We especially ask her to pray for us at the hour of our death, a time when we are most in need of prayer, a time when we may not be able to pray at all.

Mother of God. For some reason many Protestants find this phrase offensive, but if Jesus is 100% God, then she is the mother of God.

Structure

A divine and holy family. We are united with the holy angels and with the Saints in heaven.

Objections to the Hail Mary prayer:


Glory Be


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

A trinitarian prayer. God is eternal.

The phrase "world without end" is from the Bible ...

Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:21)


Fatima Prayer


O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.

We should pray that everyone is spared the judgment of eternity in hell. Since we don't know who will end up there, we should pray for everyone, even those who seem doomed to end up there. The worse the sinner, the more they need our prayers.


Hail Holy Queen


This prayer is theatrical and sentimental, presumably to draw out our emotions. Our prayer life should not be merely intellectual. Charismatics do this with their intensely emotional prayers.

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy! Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Names and attributes of Mary

Our condition

Objections by non-Catholics


Joyful Mysteries


The Annunciation

From the Bible.

We should meditate on this event from Mary's perspective — what it must have been like for her; her faith-filled agreement to become the mother of the Messiah; her awareness of her humble situation.

The Visitation

From the Bible.

This was not an easy trip for Mary to make. Elizabeth shows true Marian devotion, she is the model.

The Magnificat of Mary sounds a lot like the sermon on the Mount. Mary was such a holy and insightful woman. She taught the child Jesus of spiritual things and raised him to become what he became.

The Nativity

From the Bible.

I am amazed at the shepherds who came to worship Jesus. God chose the humble.

It is encouraging that Jesus, second person of the Godhead, was born in such humble circumstances.

The Presentation

From the Bible.

Mary obeyed the Mosaic Law and taught Jesus to do the same.

The Finding Of Jesus In The Temple

From the Bible.

Jesus likely spent much time in the temple as a young child since Mary likely knew the priests and was familiar with it having spent her youth living there. This explains how she could be such a learned woman who was versed in the things of God. It is fitting that Jesus would have a mother such as this who would teach him from childhood about the ways of God.


Luminous Mysteries


The Baptism Of The Lord

From the Bible.

Jesus doesn't require the baptism of the repentance of sins but he submits to rituals just as we must. Our faith life is not merely abstract but it has an earthly component. Thus we have the church, the sacraments, the necessity of obeying the moral law.

The Wedding Of Cana

From the Bible.

Mary initiates Jesus' public ministry. The forty day fasting of Jesus in the desert was a private matter but the wedding of Cana is a public event. Mary coaxes Jesus to demonstrate his glory knowing that his passion would soon follow. As a perfect son, Jesus obeyed his mother. He allowed her to launch his public ministry.

Jesus had already been declared by John the Baptist as the Messiah and this was confirmed by God the Father and the Holy Spirit. But here we have the family aspect of our relationship with God. In becoming a child of God we are truly entering into a family, even if family life and church life here on earth falls short of the ideal.

The Proclamation Of The Kingdom

From the Bible.

Jesus taught of the value of the kingdom using many parables and images.

Ten images of the kingdom from the book of Matthew — meditate on one for each repetition of the Hail Mary prayer ...

  1. From that time on Jesus began to preach, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. (Matthew 4:17)
  2. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)
  3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
  4. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)
  5. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8:11)
  6. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28)
  7. Listen then to what the parable of the sower means. (Matthew 13:18)
  8. Jesus told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. (Matthew 13:24)
  9. He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. (Matthew 13:31)
  10. He told them still another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough. (Matthew 13:33)

The Transfiguration

From the Bible.

Jesus only allowed Peter, James, and John to witness this event. They saw in Jesus what Moses had seen of God. Notice that Moses and Elijah are still alive and interacting with this world.

The Institution Of The Eucharist

From the Bible.


Sorrowful Mysteries


The Agony In The Garden

From the Bible.

We can experience some of what Jesus experienced in the feeling of dread we have before doing something unpleasant. Jesus experienced all the human emotions. God the Father is above these feelings and so it is Jesus who is our high priest.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

The Scourging At The Pillar

From the Bible.

The Crowning With Thorns

From the Bible.

His being a king was mocked by lesser men. In living a holy life dedicated to Jesus we should also expect to be mocked, even by those we love.

The Carrying Of The Cross

From the Bible.

This mystery roughly corresponds to the Stations of the Cross. Stations 1 to 10 are the ones I recommend meditating upon for each of the 10 recitations of the "Hail Mary."

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus Carries His Cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother
  5. Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
  6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls the second time
  8. Jesus Speaks to the Holy Women
  9. Jesus Falls the Third Time
  10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
  11. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross
  14. Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

The Crucifixion

From the Bible.


Glorious Mysteries


The Resurrection

From the Bible.

Jesus first revealed himself to those who loved him most, the women. People who saw him often did not recognize him. I believe this is because he looked different — perhaps the glorified body manifests in various ways with various looks that a person could have had while in living in this life if circumstances had been different.

The Ascension

From the Bible.

The Descent Of The Holy Spirit

From the Bible.

The Holy Spirit falls upon the 120 and the Church is born. If today all Christians were 100% saintly the Holy Spirit would manifest His power in a significant way. But since Holy Spirit usually works through humans we stifle His ability to affect the world for good.

The Assumption

Not from the Bible.

This event gives us hope that one day we will share in Mary's glory. Our final goal is not death, but eternal life in heaven. There is a transition from this world of suffering and imperfection to the utopian eternity in heaven with God.

The Coronation

Not from the Bible.

Mary is given the role of queen mother — Jesus is the King and his mother is the queen (but she is a created being that same as all of us). This use of the queen mother originates in the Old Testament. (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 10:13; Jeremiah 13:18,29:2)

In heaven we are honored, not like in this earthly life in which we are generally treated badly. In heaven God gives is the dignity and glory that is fitting of the righteous and good God.

While on earth Mary was a humble handmaid of the Lord, but since the first shall be last and the last first, it is fitting that this most humble of persons should be given the most glorious honor.