Rosaries and Idolatry

Yes , hi everyone, i have a question. I am a rosary maniac, i own several and i keep buying chaplets, because im never satsified with one, now i have a few good devotions which is the good side, the bad side is the fact that i now have several rosaries and i feel like im commiting idolatry, becaus ei care more about how the beads look, and how they look in my hands, and on the pew etc. more than i do about the prayers (something i fear!)
My favorite devotion is the Sacred Heart, whihc was a chaplet i bought, that one i feel was legitmate, but now im scared that im commiting idolatry by caring too much about the beads. in this case what would classify as idolatry?, and do i need confession because of this ASAP,? is what im doing a mortal sin? SOMEONE HELP PLEASE!! ALL ANSWERS ARE APPRECIATED AND VALUED!

As far as I can see you are not bowing down and worshiping your rosaries and chaplets, so I think we can eliminate straight out idolatry. If they become more important than God to you (like with some people money is more important), that could be regarded as idolatry. They are just vehicles of prayer but you get into strife when the vehicle becomes more important than the actual prayers used on them.

It sounds to me like you are becoming a collector and I don’t think there is anything wrong like that if you use the items in a pious manner. If you use any object to impress others then it’s tending to vanity - some people show off their clothes, others their cars etc.

I think as you get deeper into praying the rosary and chaplets, God will give you the grace not to use them to show off to others or use them as adornments.

All of that said, I used to collect rosaries and still have the collection but I feel ambivalent about it as a Third Order Franciscan. I have a special love for the rosary because I think that was one of the means of getting me back in to his Holy Church.

God Bless!

Have you developed the Sacred Heart devotion? I ask that because when I came back to the Church I got into the devotions and bought a lot and said a lot. But then I heard a priest recently say that sometimes people go from devotion to devotion when instead it would be more helpful to concentrate on one devotion and develop the spirituality for it. That’s stuck with me, and I’m focusing on the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I’m finding it helpful to concentrate on that one, including reading about St. Faustina, and reading her diary.

I’m not saying it’s bad to do more than one or to collect chaplets. They’re a rich and special part of our faith.

I think that there is a real and legitimate concern here because you say this:

  • I feel like I’m committing idolatry, because I care more about how the beads look, and how they look in my hands, and on the pew etc. more than I do about the prayers *
    However - since you have to ask whether this is idolatry - I do not believe it rises to the level of “Mortal Sin”…BUT…
    Do not take this to mean you should not seek out a priest’s advice on this matter. I believe you should bring it up in confession, I just don’t think that you need to stay away from communion until that time.

In truth - this does not sound like idolatry so much as vanity…which still can be a serious matter and something you should definitely discuss with your confessor.

Peace
James

Put these thoughts aside, as they are likely suggestions of the devil. Continue to pray the Rosary every day.

I encourage you to have a life of prayer and a life of the spirit-nurtured by the Sacraments…especially Confession followed by Communion.

I pray the Rosary everyday without fail. I pray it on my knees 99% of the times. This helps to fend of distractions and temptations.

If you begin to get carried away with how “cool the Rosary looks in your hands”…close your eyes. If you begin to feel really good about how you sound when saying the prayers…say them in silence.

Be quiet, be still, be devout and reverent… think of the Souls in Purgatory…they will benefit from your personal sacrifices.

Aquiesce anima mea, in Deus salus mea.

I’d advise praying a few rosaries or devotions without the beads. Write the prayer titles down if you have trouble keeping track. If you have the same joy and assurance that you have when using the beads, you have no problem with prayer, you just like looking at pretty things (as do most of us). If you have trouble praying, you should speak to a priest. Not saying it’s definitely a grave matter, but a priest who knows you could advise you better than most of us on this forum.

BTW, I’m a bit of a collector of crosses and religious symbols and medals. So, I certainly understand how lovely those beads must look!

Just use a plain one for a while and see if that dosen’t simplify things.

Just a thought.

Maybe when you start to think of how lovely your rosary beads are…or want another set of beads…You can buy several plain rosaries and make a ministry of giving them out to others. Pray especially for Catholics in China and the Middle East, who are under severe persecution and could never be found with rosary beads of any kind.

Turn your materialistic approach to the beads into an act of love for others who have no means to buy them.

They are merely a tool to keep track of our prayers. They are not an end unto themselves.

For me it is simple,as I believe in what Jesus said.
I pray direct to him,no need for any distractions, idols, beads,or anything that takes away from my prayer.
if you put all faith in something that without having said items ,then what ,who is being put first in one’s life.( as I see it ) Example,if one believes in last rites or other ,where would that put one if one knew that the world would end in 30 minutes,there would be a long queue for something ? ,I am being serious not jovial ,I know I am saved through the Bibles teaching , in coming to Christ first repenting of my sins.I can go on ,Surely we all know this? I did put this to a friend ,he knew I had a point ,
Blessings.

I actually need help learning to pray the rosary, i have a pamphlet, and i tried today, but i kept falling asleep !, i didn’t get half way through and it’s like i zoned off, n then i come back and im like UGH !

my question though is on the parts where one is to announce the mysteries, i can’t find more detailed explinations of that process, is it lengthy , how does it go ? the pamphlet i have versus some i have seen recently on the net vary slightly but not by much if at all.

getting comfortable but not so comfortable i fall asleep is something i need to work on next. either that or i am going to have to break it up through out the day.

as to the idolatry, as some have stated as long as you are not actually putting the rosaries before God, then they are only a device or tool to help in prayer, but I do see how they can become an obsession, as some are more intricate than others, like poker chips, or baseball bats, the weight,texture,and look can be eye popping. ( and i use those other objects merely as a comparision though not a good one probably )

I could see how multiple rosaries could be helpful in setting certain ones aside for certain devotions or prayer requests also.

Um so any how i could use some tips on how to stay alert while praying the rosary ( maybe going to adoration would be first step since today was in my home ) . And I am not sure on how to reflect on the mysteries during the rosary, any tips on that and what it means would be helpful as well.

idolatry is specifically the giving of divine honors to a creature, and i’m sure you by no means are doing this? don’t worry.
but as far as the “i care more about how the beads look, and how they look in my hands, and on the pew etc. more than i do about the prayers” i would go with what others have said, get a plain rosary, and try instead to focus on a holy image, such as a picture of Jesus or Mary, or a statue of them, which are for the purpose of keeping your mind on holy things and on heaven.
and then, unless you already have, i would recommend getting this book - tanbooks.benedictpress.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage/product_id/37
and also a book of meditations on the mysteries of the rosary, like this one - fraternitypublications.com/frrogaofourl.html

and then, since you have expressed confusion on the matter of idolatry, i would also recommend reading this, which is free to read online - gaiaonline.com/guilds/viewtopic.php?t=15375783

hope this helps, take care.

I don’t think you really believe what you posted:confused:

  1. We can never know that we are saved. Paul said

work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

. Salvation is never certain until we are judged good before God.
2. We are saved through the grace of God. We are saved through Jesus Christ. Not one word of Scripture or teaching saved us.
3. Repenting of sins is indeed what we are called to do. Jesus told His apostles to forgive or retain sins. Jesus didn’t tell them to come to Him for their sins to be forgiven. Jesus gave the Chruch the power to forgive sins.
4. Jesus instituted seven sacraments to give us grace and help us to remain faithful to Him.
What would most people do knowing that they only had 30 minutes to live? The sacrament of the sick would not be a bad choice. Through it sins would be forgiven, the soul would be strenghened. Of course in your scenario, the last effect of the sacrament (might have but not always) would be moot and that is the restoration of health.

As to the question asked, someone else has pointed out that in order for it to be an idol you would have to believe that it is a god. I am sure you don’t. There are many beautiful rosries. I don’t think it is wrong to appreicate their beauty but their true purpose is to direct our thoughts to prayer. If they don’t do that, than I think they are not being used as they should be.

You could pray that you have a better devotion. I know that worked for me when I was putting something before Jesus.

There are variations on how to say the rosary. Generally, you just announce the Mystery than say the decaade

getting comfortable but not so comfortable i fall asleep is something i need to work on next. either that or i am going to have to break it up through out the day.

I know what you mean.

Um so any how i could use some tips on how to stay alert while praying the rosary ( maybe going to adoration would be first step since today was in my home ) . And I am not sure on how to reflect on the mysteries during the rosary, any tips on that and what it means would be helpful as well.

I think many have problems with this. I developed a scriptual rosary. Each Hail Mary Bead has a scripture this helped me. I have also reflected on what the decade might teach me. For instance the Annunciaiton reminds me of obedience and trusting in the Lord. I reflect on Mary as the handmaiden which was a slave and how we should also be slaves of God.

I hope you get better ansers.

Thank you for your kind reply,it helps me greatly to understand more on your Faith.
I still believe in God’s grace, not man’s way,my devotion is direct to Jesus through prayer,I firmly believe in my Salvation otherwise I feel I deny what Christ said…
I do not wish to offend any ones belief,I understand many Faiths and Cults .I also understand many Faiths are led by man ,many run alongside to deceive away from the Bible .Many are Dictatorship, many top Leaders actually worship Satan, I am not at liberty to mention on here which Faiths they are ,my research has revealed such clever cults .This for sure we do not know the hour or the Day ,are you ready? what would you do if you had only 30 mins yourself, that is where I am coming from .I still pray for opening of the eyes to the truth for those who believe they have to work at Salvation,this to me takes away the Grace of God.
Are we to say that savages cannot become Christians and be saved by the Grace of God?
I understand it is open to All ,no matter what Faith ,we must accept who and why Jesus came to die for us,repent of our Sins with a sincere Heart ,and allpw the Holy Spirit to open our eyes . God’s Truth through Jesus for me is the only way .
Yes we do not come across in writing what is meant to be said, if we believe in Jesus and what he said we all can be saved. Not just one Faith ,this takes away again his Grace.
Please understand I am not hear to proselyte ,only explain a point of view ,not to offend
just share in belief.
Blessings to you. :slight_smile:
Just to add , I work because I am saved, not to get saved.
God’s Grace alone is what saved me through his Son Jesus.:slight_smile:

Hope you don’t mind my jumping in here…

Well said - this is exactly what Catholics believe as well.

I do not wish to offend any ones belief,I understand many Faiths and Cults.

I’m just a touch confused here…Earlier you said that a response helped you understand our faith - here you say that you understand “many faiths and cults”. So - Is Catholicism a faith that you DO understand or are you still working on it. I just want to be clear.

This for sure we do not know the hour or the Day ,are you ready? what would you do if you had only 30 mins yourself, that is where I am coming from.

In answer to this question is simple for the believer. NOTHING. Nothing any different than I am currently doing…at least in any substantial way. I suppose I would pray for a good death. I would ask forgiveness for any sins I may have committed but beyond that, I would simply look forward to meeting my God.

I still pray for opening of the eyes to the truth for those who believe they have to work at Salvation,this to me takes away the Grace of God.

Such people SHOULD be prayed for indeed for, while works are a necessary part of being saved, works do not replace faith or Love. Indeed, the only thing connected to our salvation that we need to “work” at is becoming more like Christ for we are called to being perfect (Mt 5:48). However, being “imperfect” in sanctity at death will not prevent our beng saved.

Are we to say that savages cannot become Christians and be saved by the Grace of God?

Of course not…

I understand it is open to All ,no matter what Faith ,we must accept who and why Jesus came to die for us,repent of our Sins with a sincere Heart ,and allpw the Holy Spirit to open our eyes . God’s Truth through Jesus for me is the only way .

Amen -
except for the “all faiths” part. “Satanism” is a faith that will not save…“Atheism” is a faith that will not save…and also - Faith without works will not save…

Just to add , I work because I am saved, not to get saved.
God’s Grace alone is what saved me through his Son Jesus.:slight_smile:

Amen - you sound very Catholic.

Peace
James

In “Dark Night of the Soul”, St. John of the Cross talks about the seven deadly sins and how they correspond to spiritual vices often found in those just beginning on their spiritual path. Chapter 3 discusses something about this issue you seem be facing [emphasis added]:

Book ONE - Chapter 3 - Some imperfections of spiritual avarice commonly found in beginners

  1. Many beginners also at times possess great spiritual avarice. They hardly ever seem content with the spirit God gives them. They become unhappy and peevish because they don’t find the consolation they want in spiritual things. Many never have enough of hearing counsels, or learning spiritual maxims, or keeping them and reading books about them. They spend more time in these than in striving after mortification and the perfection of the interior poverty to which they are obliged. Furthermore, they weigh themselves down with overdecorated images and rosaries. They now put these down, now take up others; at one moment they are exchanging, and at the next re-exchanging. Now they want this kind, now they want another. And they prefer one cross to another because of its elaborateness. Others you see who are decked out in agnusdeis and relics and lists of saints’ names, like children in trinkets. What I condemn in this is possessiveness of heart and attachment to the number, workmanship, and overdecoration of these objects. For this attachment is contrary to poverty of spirit, which is intent only on the substance of the devotion, benefits by no more than what procures this sufficiently, and tires of all other multiplicity and elaborate ornamentation. Since true devotion comes from the heart and looks only to the truth and substance represented by spiritual objects, and since everything else is imperfect attachment and possessiveness, any appetite for these things must be uprooted if some degree of perfection is to be reached.
  1. I knew a person who for more than ten years profited by a cross roughly made out of a blessed palm and held together by a pin twisted around it. That person carried it about and never would part with it until I took it - and the person was not someone of poor judgment or little intelligence. I saw someone else who prayed with beads made out of bones from the spine of a fish. Certainly, the devotion was not for this reason less precious in the sight of God. In neither of these two instances, obviously, did these persons base their devotion on the workmanship and value of a spiritual object. They, therefore, who are well guided from the outset do not become attached to visible instruments or burden themselves with them. They do not care to know any more than is necessary to accomplish good works, because their eyes are fixed only on God, on being his friend and pleasing him; this is what they long for. They very generously give all they have. Their pleasure is to know how to live for love of God or neighbor without these spiritual or temporal things. As I say, they set their eyes on the substance of interior perfection, on pleasing God and not themselves.
  1. Yet until a soul is placed by God in the passive purgation of that dark night, which we will soon explain, it cannot purify itself completely of these imperfections or others. But people should insofar as possible strive to do their part in purifying and perfecting themselves and thereby merit God’s divine cure. In this cure God will heal them of what through their own efforts they were unable to remedy. No matter how much individuals do through their own efforts, they cannot actively purify themselves enough to be disposed in the least degree for the divine union of the perfection of love. God must take over and purge them in that fire that is dark for them, as we will explain.

In other words, while it is not sinful per se to have many different medals and rosaries and other sacramentals, it is ultimately good for the soul to have detachment from these items. It’s one thing to have one or two or even five rosaries. It’s another to not be able to pray the Joyful Mysteries without a particular rosary to use.

HonoraDominum,
Great Post above. It really nails it. Thanks for sharing that.

Peace
James

thanks everyone! i was praying the dail Holy Rosary last night, and the Sacred Heart of JESUS chaplet, with no beads at all, just my little rosary book with scripture meditations, LOVED IT, IN FACT, I FOCUSED ON THE WORDS BETTER! HAD NO PROBLEMS, nothing, just Prayed like normal and loved every “HAIL MARY” of it! So what do you think then? the book has rosary pictures (stations) in it, which helps focus too! so whats the verdict?

The verdict is that you have learned a valuable lesson. Go in peace.

Peace
James

Thank you for your reply,
I am understanding more of your Faith, and as yet ,I still have some research to finish ,
and then look into ideas,origins and so on.,again people will believe what suits them in many cases.
Rest assured I do not see your Faith as a cult.:slight_smile:
Once my research is complete ( maybe not for a while yet) I will have my own mind, not as others may feel, basically an independent view. I do not claim any extra knowledge ,I am just an ordinary believer in the Bible and see for my self just how it compares with other Faiths .I am thankful I was not brought up in countries that worship anything but our living God.
maybe then I would be just as defensive in those traditions etc.
Also I feel it helps one another build up their own Faith and grow .
Again it is never my intention to cause upset to anyone .
Blessings and Thank you for replying :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.