Ecclesiam res et talia sermocinamur -

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

On ''Parrot Prayer''

A (protestant) friend of mine recently saw The Exorcism of Emily Rose and said that it brought to light for her a difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. At one point in the film, the priest says a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel upon being visited by a demon. My friend commented thus:

I cannot help but think the ability to call on something in a moment of terror a comfort of sorts, a security, compared to what my response as a Protestant might be -- I might be too petrified to conjure a prayer in the moment of confrontation. The Catholic prayer might keep one's mind and spirit grounded, focused, sane, versus me and my boiling fear that would likely paralyze me without any outlet for expression or petition. Of ourse, of course I could call on God directly. But the power of a solidified mantra
issuing from one's mouth, a mantra made powerful by ages of tradition and...inspiration of sorts, would be a comfort to me.

Having grown up hearing the general protestant argument against memorized prayer, this is an issue I've thought of before, but I'd never thought about it in quite this way. I think my friend is right about this--when under duress, one can much more easily call to mind something that one has memorized than one can compose new thoughts. Additionally, group prayer is infinitely easier when everyone knows what everyone else is going to say and when they're going to say it (any of you who have endured the awkwardness of group prayer in Evangelical circles know what I'm talking about). My thoughts on the subject are set forth in this article (whence I snatched the phrase in the subject) much more cleverly than I could hope to write them, so I'll let Mr. Shea speak for me.

Fr. Jim Tucker has an excellent bit up today about the Rosary. I can say, without any doubt at all, that this most vilified of the formulaic prayers (with its scandalous 10-to-1 Mary-to-God ratio) has been the most effective tool I've ever endeavored to use in strengthening my walk with God.

I'd encourage our Catholic readers to make a special effort regularly to pray the rosary during this month, and I'd challenge our non-Catholic readers (I know there's at least one...) to try it. You might just be surprised at how spiritually enriching such a "mechanical routine" can be.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I will...

from Jbut

3:43 PM  
Blogger Layla said...

Oh, I hope you will. Let me know how it turns out for you.

I wish you could come home this weekend!

3:51 PM  

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