Prayer & Spiritual Life

The “Hail Mary” of a Protestant is powerful!—( A True Story)

A little six-year-old Protestant boy had often heard his Catholic companion reciting the prayer ‘Hail Mary.’ He liked it so much that he copied it, memorized it and would recite it every day. ‘Look, Mummy, what a beautiful prayer,’ he said to his mother one day. ‘Never again say it,’ answered the mother.’ it is a superstitious prayer of Catholics who adore idols and think Mary a goddess. After all, she is a woman like any other. Come on, take this Bible and read it. It contains everything that we are bound to do and have to do.’

rosary02From that day on the little boy discontinued his daily ‘Hail Mary’ and gave himself more time to reading the Bible instead. One day, while reading the Gospel, he came across the passage about the Annunciation of the Angel to Our Lady. Full of joy, the little boy ran to his mother and said: ‘Mummy, I have found the ‘Hail Mary’ in the Bible which says: ‘Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women. ‘ Why do you call it a superstitious prayer?’

On another occasion he found that beautiful Salutation of St. Elizabeth to The Virgin Mary and the wonderful canticle. MAGNIFICAT in which Mary foretold that ‘the generations would call her blessed.’ He said no more about it to his mother but started to recite the ‘Hail Mary’ every day as before. He felt pleasure in addressing those charming words to the Mother of Jesus, our Savior.

When he was fourteen, he one day heard a discussion on Our Lady among the members of his family. Every one said that Mary was a common woman like any other woman. The boy, after listening to their erroneous reasoning, could not bear it any longer, and full of indignation, he interrupted them, saying: ‘Mary is not like any other children of Adam, stained with sin. No! The Angel called her FULL OF GRACE AND BLESSED AMONGST WOMEN. Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and consequently Mother of God. There is no higher dignity to which a creature can be raised.

The Gospel says that the generations will proclaim her blessed and you are trying to despise her and look down on her. Your spirit is not the Spirit Of the Gospel or of the Bible which you proclaim to be the foundation of the Christian religion.’ So deep was the impression which the boy’s talk had made that his mother many times cried out sorrowfully: ‘Oh my God! I fear that this son of mine will one day join the Catholic religion, the religion of Popes!’ And indeed, not very long afterwards, having made a serious study of both Protestantism and Catholicism, the boy found the latter to be the only true religion and embraced it and became one of its most ardent apostles.

Some time after his conversion, he met his married sister who rebuked his and said indignantly: ‘You little know how much I love my children. Should any one of them desire to become a Catholic, I would sooner pierce his heart with a dagger than allow him to embrace the religion of the Popes!’ Her anger and temper were as furious as those of St. Paul before his conversion. However, she would change her ways, just as St. Paul did on his way to Damascus.

26-128-01It so happened that one of her sons fell dangerously ill and the doctors gave up hope of recovery. Her brother then approached, her and spoke to her affectionately, saying: ‘My dear sister, you naturally wish to have your child cured. Very well, then, do what I ask you to do. Follow me, let us pray one ‘Hail Mary’ and promise God that, if your son recovers his health, you would seriously study the Catholic doctrine, and should you come to the conclusion that Catholicism is the only true religion, you would embrace it no matter what the sacrifices may be.’

His sister was somewhat reluctant at the beginning but as she wished for her son’s recovery. She accepted her brother’s proposal and recited the ‘Hail Mary’ together with him. The next day her son was completely cured! The mother fulfilled her promise and she studied the Catholic doctrine. After long preparation she received Baptism together with her family, thanking her brother for being an apostle to her.

*The story was related during a sermon given by the Rev. Father Tuckwell. ‘Brethren, he went on and said, ‘The boy who became a Catholic and converted his sister to Catholicism dedicated his whole life to the service of God.  He is the priest who is speaking to you now!

What I am I owe to Our Lady. You, too, my dear brethren, be entirely dedicated also to Our Lady and never let a day pass without saying the beautiful prayer, ‘Hail Mary’, and your Rosary. Ask her to enlighten the minds of Protestants who are separated from the true Church of Christ founded on the Rock (Peter) and ‘against whom the gates of hell shall never prevail.’

{ 62 comments }

Sherlock Holmes an Idolater – Praying to People?

by Steve Ray on January 11, 2016

Last night my wife and I were watching an episode of Sherlock Holmes on TV. He has always been one of my favorite characters and I can remember reading all the stories to our kids as they grew up. On TV I think Jeremy Brett does the best portrayal and it is always a delightful evening to cuddle up and watch another episode.

Last night we were watching “The Copper Beeches” and Sherlock was interviewing a young lady. Her case bored him. But as her story developed, Sherlock became intrigued. He leaned back and said, “Pray, continue.” 

SherlockPrays.jpgMy wife hit the pause button! “What did he say?” We listened again. Sure enough, the Great Sherlock used the word pray when talking to a woman.

But doesn’t “pray” mean worship? In our old Evangelical Protestant days we assumed PRAY was synonymous with WORSHIP. But that was because we were ignorant of our own English language (blame the public schools). 

In the English language, the word pray is much less ostentatious than we Evangelicals blew it up to be. Here is what Wiktionary says,  

1. To petition or solicit help from a supernatural or higher being.
2. To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
3. (Christianity) to talk to God for any reason.

The least significant usage of the word is to “talk to God” which is still a far cry from falling on one’s face in adoration and worship—an action reserved for the Trinity alone. 

It primarily means to ask of a higher being—which could certainly mean a superior in business, or law or in heaven—for a favor or for their help. It means to ask any person for aid or for their time.  

What was Sherlock Holmes asking when he “prayed” to this woman? He was saying, “Please, I ask you to continue.” Did he worship the woman? Of course not. 

But if we earthy humans ask the assistance and intercession of those who have preceded us to heaven, are we worshiping them or somehow giving them glory that belongs to God alone? CommunionofSaints.jpg

Well let’s ask this—if I ask my brother or sister in Christ on earth to “pray” for me, am I taking away from the glory of God by “praying” or asking them to “pray” or ask God to help me? Of course not, because prayer (talking and asking) and worship are two very different things. 

If I ask a saint who is already in heaven to petition God for me, am I committing idolatry? What foolishness, or course not. I am simply acknowledging that I am not the only Christian in the universe and that the Church is not just made up of me or many earthlings.

Christians, such as Mary and the Apostles, are not dead and gone. They are very much alive before the throne of God. It is made up of all of us still waiting for heaven, but it is also made up of those who have gone on before us with the sign of faith.

You may get asked, “Where in the Bible does it say we should pray to dead saints?” And my answer is always the same, “Where does the Bible say that saints are dead? We Catholic believe in Eternal Life!” 

Again, it is the Evangelical who not only misunderstands spiritual things, but also the English language. I was the most guilty of all, but I had ears to hear (thanks be to God) and I now understand the cosmic reality of the Church and the Communion of Saints. I am much the richer for it. 

Like Sherlock, I can pray to or ask any human creature for information or intercession or help. But it is God alone that I worship. I will ask or pray to any of his people, on earth or in heaven—asking them to intercede or pray for me to the Lord our God. We are after all a big family and the God whom we worship is the Father of us all.

I am so glad I found the Catholic Church and escaped the muddle of mucked up ideas I used to call “Bible-only Christianity.”

{ 9 comments }

How Long Will You Live? A Longevity Calculator

by Steve Ray on December 31, 2015

Watch your age in the upper right corner! Kinda’ fun to watch your age go up and down as you answer the questions.

It’s interesting, so give it a try….  How long will you live? This is a calculator that estimates your life expectancy. It was developed by Northwestern Mutual Life.

There are only 13 questions, yet they can predict how long you’re likely to live.

Of course only God knows the day and the hour of our deaths, but this might wake us up to choices we make and how they effect our lives. God had given us a marvelous body and to him “who much is given, much will be required.”

Maybe it will help some of us change our lifestyle. I know for myself the doctor told me four years ago I was not in good shape. I had lots of reasons why I could not take the time to change my lifestyle. But I did.

Our whole family changed our lifestyle by reducing our food intake, eating only healthy foods and exercising daily – even when it hurts :-)

You can do the same!  

http://media.nmfn.com/tnetwork/lifespan

{ 1 comment }

Mary a Mediatrix? Isn’t there just One Mediator?

November 24, 2015

The Bible says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Yet Catholics refer to Mary as a Mediatrix (feminine form of the word mediator). So, isn’t that prima facie evidence that Catholics make up doctrines, worship Mary and disregard the Bible? [...]

Read the full article →

Should This Baby Be Aborted? You Decide

November 23, 2015

In the United States, there are many situations in which abortions are recommended, even encouraged by family, counselors, medical personnel and even religious advisors. Sometimes an abortion is recommended because of difficult circumstances and other times simply for convenience. Here are four cases for you to consider. Should these babies be aborted? You decide! Four [...]

Read the full article →

Mary and the Other Body of Christ; How Many People were in the Upper Room and Why?

November 21, 2015

The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous thing to associates of an executed criminal. They were also anxious about the promise. [...]

Read the full article →

Butt-prints in the Sand

November 20, 2015

One night I had a wondrous dream one set of footprints there was seen. The footprints of my precious Lord, but mine were not upon the shore. And then some stranger prints appeared and I asked the Lord: “What have we here?” The prints are large and round and neat but Lord they are too [...]

Read the full article →

Pope says, Turn off TV, put down smart phones, turn off computers and eat meals intimately together.

November 15, 2015

I couldn’t agree more. We didn’t have these gadgets when we raised our kids. We got rid of television and opted to read books. My father was a radical when he raised me – he refused to get us kids a TV but read stories and books to us every night after we all ate [...]

Read the full article →

Was He Ready to Die?

October 28, 2015

It was just a normal morning — alarm clock, shower, espresso, dress and a saunter down the sidewalk to work. For Paul is was another day with a whole lifetime ahead of him. But today was different. Someone else got up this morning too. They had their coffee dressed and jumped in the car. They [...]

Read the full article →

The Sign of the Cross: It’s History, Meaning and Biblical Basis

September 1, 2015

SIGN OF THE CROSS By Steve Ray The Sign of the Cross is a ritual gesture by which we confess two important mysteries: the Trinity and the centrality of the Cross. It is the most common and visible means by which we confess our faith. The Sign of the Cross is made by touching the [...]

Read the full article →

There are Two Seas in Palestine – Which One are You Like?

August 17, 2015

I am doing a show on Relevant Radio about the “Rivers of the Bible” at 9 AM Eastern at RelevantRadio.com. I will soon post the link to listen to the archived show. We mentioned on the show when Steve at a grasshopper at the Jordan Rive like the John the Baptist did You can see [...]

Read the full article →

Meaning of Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

June 11, 2015

A non-Christian friend found two paintings at an art show and asked me, “What in the world are these? They seem to have pagan elements. What do they have to do with Jesus and Mary?” Here is my explanation. If you readers have anything to add, please post it in the Comments below. Thanks. Thanks. [...]

Read the full article →

A Day of Retreat .. or maybe a Life…

May 13, 2015

I recently received an invitation to a retreat at a monastery in Massachusetts. Maybe some day I will have the time to go. But they also are inviting young men to come and take a look. Fr. Dunstan and I met at a men’s conference not long ago. Want to break away from the hectic [...]

Read the full article →

Kissing Statues

May 11, 2015

We are in Jerusalem today ready to pick up our group of 50 people at the airport in a few hours. When I woke up this morning to the Muslim “call to prayer”, church bells ringing and horns honking I read this email that came from the United Kingdom… It read, “Hi Steve! I know [...]

Read the full article →

“Created for Greatness”: The Emerging Catholic Men’s Movement – CWR Article

May 7, 2015

My friend Joe Hanneman just had his excellent article on the need for Mens’ Movements in Catholic World Report. He had interviewed me for the article and he used my quotes :-) Men, and women who love their men, should read this article and encourage real men to be involved. It makes better sons, better [...]

Read the full article →

New Talk by Steve Ray: “Giving Yourself to God”

April 17, 2015

I gave a parish mission and the folks said this was the best of my three talks. You can now purchase it on MP3. CD audio disk coming soon. This is no warmed-over churchy homily on stewardship and tithing. This is about YOU, your life and your commitments. Our time is short, our lives are [...]

Read the full article →