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The Indian Advocate.
Devoted to the Interests of Indian Missions. Vol. VI. OCTOBER, 1894. No. 4. THE ROSARY. AN ARTICLE APPROPRIATE EOR THE MONTH OF Ol'TORER. I. One difficulty felt by our non-Catholic friends about Catholic devotions is, that they appear to them to be formal. A little time, then, may be well bestowed in showing the difference between forms and formality in prayer two very dis tinct things indeed. The month of October is the month of the Holy Rosary; and, as the Rosary appears to them about the most formal of devotions we will spend a column or two on this subject. First, then, a word about the formality. A prayer becomes formal, that is, heartless, and a matter of mere routine, when words are repeated without a corresponding act of the mind; when people say them in the sort of way a parrot would talk. This is saying them merely by rote; turning a wheel, as it were, round and round on its accustomed pivot, like the "prayer mills" in Thibet, of which travelers speak. Of course, such a prayer, or prayerless form of words, is irreverent, offensive to the Divine Majesty as a token of carelessness, and, if done deliberately, would bo impious. "When you pray," said Our Lord; "do not stammer;" so the word He uses might be rendered from the Greek, in which St. Matthew gives it. Our common word "gabble" conveys the moaning. Do not gabble your prayers, nor say them lightly; and, again, do not put them into fine words and 'rounded sentences, thinking, as the St. Mntt., VI , 7. heathens do, and as hypocrites do, that God hears many fine words easier than few simple ones. It is "the prayer of him thathumbleth himself" that "shall pierce the clouds;"! and so, the publican prayed bettor than the pharisec. Our Lord does not here forbid or discourage long prayer, persevering prayer, or prayer that earnestly repeats the same petition. On the contrary, He spoke one of His parables especially to teach "that we ought always to pray and not faint;" that is, not to be cast down, nor give over our prayers, because they are not answered as soon as we wish. St. Paul repeats the same injunction : "instant in prayer," "continuing in stant in prayer," says the Protestant version) this is what we have to be. If we have to continue "instant," we have to ask for the same thing a good many times over; suppose, a special mercy or favor that we are most anxious to obtain: have we, then, to vary our terms each time, so as to avoid repeti tion? What should we think of a man who cried to us from a wreck, or a house on fire, when he was just sinking: "help! assist! succor! come to my aid?" We should certainly think he was more anxious to display his oratorical powers and his knowledge of language, than to be saved from his danger. And this seems very much what our Lord means by His injunction not to "gabble" our prayers in a heartless, prayerless, or ostentatious manner, that seems to have man, rather than God, in view. A west-of-England newspaper is reported to have once said, about an t Eccles. xxxv., 21. St. Luke, xvin., 1. Rom., xn . 12.