By Ariana Hurt
As a former Protestant, I have to acknowledge that in some ways, Protestants are better at prayer than Catholics. They are more often more adept at speaking spontaneously with God, with praises and petitions, and even simple conversation. Yet, though Protestants have this tradition of closeness with God, the Catholic Church has a wealth of beautiful, mysterious, profound written prayers. What’s more, we have a huge catalogue of sung prayer. There are the Gregorian chants, not to mention the great liturgical prayer of the Mass, in which we receive the height and essence of our faith in the Eucharist.
Now, some aspects of Catholic prayer are seen as the “vain repetition” Jesus warns against in Mathew 6:7, such as the rosary. While it is true that it is indeed possible for such prayers to become vain repetition when one simply says the words in order to ‘check prayer off the list,’ it is not intended to be this way. The beauty of the rosary is its meditative aspect; for along with praises and petitions, Catholic prayer also includes contemplation and meditation. And this is where the essence of prayer is made clear: prayer is not for God to do what we ask, it is a method of our own transformation. The beauty of the rosary is that it contains all forms of Catholic prayer: praises to God, petitions, asking for the intercession of Mary, contemplation of the wonder of God, and meditation upon the life of Christ.