Old Protestant heresy that refuses to die: Did Jesus ever use the term “vain repetition”?

vainrepetWhen it comes to Catholic prayer, repetition is anything but vain

by Doug Lawrence

In the Gospels, we find Jesus praying quite often, just as he trains and encourages his apostles and disciples to do.  He also delivers a caution:

Matthew 6:7-8 And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard. Be not you therefore like to them for your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before you ask him. (Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible)

Some 1500 years later, our Protestant brethren decided to translate the same passage (in their King James Bible) thusly:

Matthew 6:7-8 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

As if mis-translating the Holy Writ wasn’t  bad enough, they went on to apply their twisted logic to traditional Catholic prayers and devotions – like the Rosary and the Mass – deeming them “unbiblical”.

That is and always was pure, virulently anti-Catholic “BS”!

Jesus simply wanted his disciples to know that even a vast number of prayers – combined with any number of  incantations, sacrifices, dances and chants – to false, pagan gods – could never accomplish a thing – and he certainly didn’t want his disciples to be out in public, looking like pagans, scandalously wasting their time and committing grave sin – by praying to false gods.

That’s one reason Jesus gave us “The Lord’s Prayer” – a short, simple method of placing 7 key petitions before our Father in Heaven – petitions which effectively address virtually every human need.

St. Paul reminds us in 1st Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray without ceasing.”

Does any of this sound like “vain repetition”?

How many times can a person recite “The Lord’s Prayer” before it becomes “vain repetition”? How many times can someone sing “Amazing Grace” or “How Great Thou Art” before it becomes “vain repetition”? How many times a day can we elevate our minds and hearts to God, before it becomes “vain repetition”?

Without repetition human beings find it extremely difficult to learn and/or perfect just about anything. Our Creator God, of all persons, would certainly know that. But those who showed up a thousand years late and in order to promote their novel religious practices, chose to deny the sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church and co-opt the text of the Catholic Bible, apparently didn’t. Many of them apparently still don’t.

To put it simply – no amount of prayer, faithfully offered up to the one, true God, according the grace of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit – can ever be “in vain” – although through our own fault, our  prayers may not always prove to be completely effective. (Study this link to the Catechism about The Lord’s Prayer for important terms, limitations and conditions.)

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