Saturday, September 29, 2012

Why Pray the Rosary? by Brother John Samaha, S.M.

     More than a century ago a proud university student boarded a train in France and sat next to an older man who seemed to be a peasant of comfortable means. The brash student noticed that the older gentleman was slipping beads through his fingers. He was praying the rosary.
     "Sir, do you still believe in such outdated things?" the student inquired. 
     "Yes, I do. Don't you?" the man responded. The student laughed and admitted, "I do not believe in such silly things. Take my advice. Throw the rosary out the window and learn what science has to say about it."

     "Science? I do not understand this science. Perhaps you can explain it to me," the man said humbly, tears welling in his eyes.
     The university student noticed that the man was deeply moved. To avoid hurting the older person's feelings, he said, "Please give me your address and I will send you some literature to explain the matter to you."
     The man fumbled in the inside pocket of his coat and pulled out his business card. On reading the card, the student lowered his head in shame and was speechless. The card read: "Louis Pasteur, Director of the Institute of Scientific Research, Paris." The deluded student had encountered his country's leading chemist and the man who would give the world the scientific process that would bear his name--pasturization.


Editor's note: This story is part of the collection in the Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart.
     For more inspiration, check out Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families. Your children will laugh while learning big spiritual lessons with Dear God, I Don't Get It! and Dear God, You Can't Be Serious. 


  1. This is beautiful and moving - thank you so much for posting it. There is an important message in not just Louis Pasteur praying the rosary, but also in his humility.


  2. """ 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

    "Worshipping" the virgin mary with the "rosary prayer" is in violation of the 10 commandments .. "thou shalt have no other Gods before me"

    1. Dear Unknown,
      It is only vain if you are just saying the words for show and not meaning them and meditating on what you are saying. I've listened to people go on and on and on talking just to keep praying but really they are rattling on. Saying a prayer can help focus.
      The rosary does not worship Mary. Scripture says, "All generations shall call me Blessed" It was the tradition of Jesus, from the House of David that the king's mother interceded for people--this is Biblical. Jesus's first miracle was because his mother asked him--changing water into wine at Cana. Now why was the most insignificant miracle recorded in the BIble, done when Jesus said "it is not yet my time" performed as his first miracle? It was done because his mother interceded for others and asked him. We are not worshiping Mary, we are going to her--the mother of Jesus--and asking her to go to her son Jesus (with us) to ask for our request.
      The Hail Mary is a Jesus centered prayer. "Hail Mary full of grace" To be the mother of God, she had to have been full of grace. "The Lord is with you --So we reflect on Jesus. "Blessed are you among women" --scriptural--"And blessed is the fruit of they womb Jesus"--again, we reflect on Jesus. "Holy Mary, Mother of God"--Jesus again--"Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen" Scripture tells us that prayers of the righteous on our behalf our powerful. Who could be more righteous than the mother of Jesus?
      If you think Catholics think Mary is a God and we are worshiping her in place of God, you are very mistaken.

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    3. Unknown you don't know your bible very well. If you search it you will find how the Angels in heaven praise GOD with the same repetitious words. Last but not least those who seek though prayer Jesus's Mother for intercession do not considers her a GOD. Maybe you should try and ask not to be so judgemental of others, who use the same historical Bible as you. Except your bible was constructed from theirs with many changes to suit the protestant protesters of the 14th century.

    4. Dear Unknown,

      While Pattie's explanation was excellent I wanted to to add that I was asked by a beloved Protestant brother a few months back why I pray the Rosary so often and so repetitive ?

      I asked him a quetion in response if he told his wife "I Love you recently?" He replied " Oh yes, he said , " I tell her every morning and before I go to work each day." Oh so you keep repeating & repeating the same thing over & over retitively? " well I said, "I'm doing the same thing here over & over again and thinking on the mystery before me saying in my heart to our Blessed Holy Mother of God & Her Son Jesus I Love you , I love you , I love you ......etc & I sense a smile in both their faces with my daily devotion as they say to me " I Love you too " Hope this helps you .

      My friend doesn't ask me any more questions, but I think he understands better my Catholic faith .

      San Antonio, Texas

    5. Thanks, Roger, for sharing that beautiful explanation. God bless you.

  3. This is a nice symbolic story. the trouble is that business cards were not invented until almost 700 years later. When one reads this obvious error, it makes the rest of the story harder to believe and that is unfortunate for those like me that want to have stories like this to strengthen our faith.

    1. Since Louis Pasteur was Director of the Institute of Science during the 1880's, I don't see what the error is? Business cards and personal calling cards were in abundance. This happened less then 140 years ago.

  4. Thanks, Barrybuckeye. Since it was written by a Brother, perhaps I assumed too much. I did not find anything on Snopes, but I did find this from his biography, written by his grandson:
    "He had absolute faith in God and in Eternity, and a conviction that the power for good given to us in this world will be continued beyond it, were feelings which pervaded his whole life; the virtues of the gospel had ever been present to him. Full of respect for the form of religion which had been that of his forefathers, he came simply to it and naturally for spiritual help in these last weeks of his life."

    Maurice Vallery-Radot, grandson of the brother of the son-in-law of Pasteur and outspoken Catholic, also holds that Pasteur fundamentally remained Catholic

  5. Dear Patti, Thank you for the great post. The Rosary Crushes all evil. And brings many Graces. PS Love your Blog, i just found it. Peace St.Raphael

    1. You are SO right, St. Raphael! Thanks and May God bless you.
      (p.s. I pray daily for visitors to my blog, so I prayed for you at Mass today.)


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