Hi, guys —
According to the Bible, prayer should be said
with meaning, not just repeating words over
and over. If you do this, it becomes a mantra.
Nevertheless, when saying the Rosary, you
are meditating on the mystery for the decade
you are saying.
So when meditating on the mystery, the words
of the prayer, like the Hail Mary, just become
- Can you explain this for me and help me to
understand the concept?
I've asked this question in other Catholic forums
and never received an answer.
How are the repeated prayers in the Rosary, (like the Hail Mary), different than a mantra? }
With this forum you may get several
good answers rather than just one.
Here is my take. There are four basic kinds of prayer:
- thanksgiving, and
Praise is usually lumped in with
thanksgiving and intercession is usually lumped in with
petition. The Rosary has all of these
elements within it.
There are also
three basic forms of prayer:
- meditation, and
The Rosary is a combination of the first
two, verbal and meditation. When
you combine these, you are speaking
formal prayer while thinking about
important salvific events of the
lives of Jesus and Mary. The formal
prayer is meant to be the background
music for the main act, which is
our entering into these mysteries
of the faith. There's nothing wrong
with that; in fact it has been a
very fruitful prayer form for many
To answer your question more directly,
prayer should have meaning, but it
doesn't always have to be the literal
meaning of the words that are primary.
The meaning of what is being meditated
on, coupled with the words as secondary
in significance, can be a very meaningful
Hi, Frank —
Thanks for the question.
I sense the just concern in your
question is based on the popular
notion of the word mantra in
the New Age movement, yoga, and other
While there are similarities between
Christian meditation, like the Rosary,
and mantras found in other groups,
Christian meditation is always focused
- His divine, redemptive plan for saving
- those who assisted in His plan.
Mantras associated with the New Age,
yoga and other non-Christian religion
are dangerous because of the goal
or purpose involved like:
- striving to drain every spiritual
thing from your body until it is
This is crazy and is similar
to putting out a welcome matt to satan
and his legions.
- striving to drain every thought,
word or deed out of your body, that is not of oneself.
This is crazy
too. e.g. The person is being trained
to say: I am my own God, who needs Jesus
and His one Church.
The similarities are in the meaning
of the word: mantra: From Wikipedia:
|The Sanskrit word mantra (also mantram)
consists of the root man - to
think (also in manas mind)
and the suffix -tra, designating tools or instruments, hence a literal translation would be instrument
But again, the big difference is
the purpose and goal of each practice.
As Catholic Christians, our goal is
not to drain everything out of us
or put us at the center of the world,
but to put
Our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, at the
Just my two cents.
Prayer should always have meaning
and be sincere. We should avoid prattling
on mindlessly, especially if we think
that merely multiplying words will
make us heard. Sometimes, admittedly,
we get in a kind of rut and get distracted
in our minds as we pray, but when
we should always bring
ourselves back to the content of
the prayer (and/or) the mystery we
are meditating on.
Rosary meditation differs from a
mantra. According to Wikipedia,
mantra is a sound, syllable, word,
or group of words that is considered
capable of creating transformation, (cf.
with a mantra is on the sound; the
word is essential, even divine. It
is given mystical significance. Mantras
are almost always single words or
maybe a small series of words uttered
to induce a trance or altered state
This is very different from a Rosary.
- First of all, I think the Hail Mary
and especially the Our Father are
too long to function as mantras.
- Second, in the Rosary the focus is, not on the words of the prayers,
but on the mysteries. The words fade
into the background, which is the
opposite of a mantra.
- Third, we attribute
no exalted value to the words as
a mantra does; they produce no spiritual
transformation or altered state of
consciousness. Obviously, we value
the words as prayers, especially
the Lord's Prayer as such, but they
are not magical, divine or transformative.
- Nor is the goal to achieve any altered
state of consciousness. The goal
is usually a petition, or maybe even
communion with Christ, as we meditate
on the mysteries of His Life and
the life of our Lady.
I hope this helps.
I appreciate your responding.
With the answers I'm getting, things
are beginning to come together and
are more understandable.