Though I was basically brought up going to various Protestant churches, my mother had been brought up with a Catholic mother. We went into open Catholic churches during the week when out in the city.
My mother would go in and dip her hand in the "holy water" (which was in a receptacle just inside the door) and cross herself. We then would walk down the center isle and she would come to the pew she was thinking of going into and she would then kneel and cross herself again. Then she would go into the isle for the pew. Upon deciding where to set herself she would again kneel and cross herself. She would then pray and pondered on things.
I looked around and noticed women with beads in their hands mumbling things. I asked my mother about what they were doing. She explained that they were rosary beads. That they were going through them until they got to the cross at the end.
It all left me wondering about why they did it and my mother didn't. But it wasn't any major concern to me.
I finally got to ask my mother what they were saying. The beads are made up of a series of 10 beads followed by a larger bead, then ten more beads. There are five sets of 10 beads. The ones I'd like to discuss is what is said for the 5 sets of 10 beads. The person holds on to a bead and says the following as a prayer _
"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen"
The idea of this chant is that if you get Mary to speak to God (a part of whom they believe to be Jesus Christ) on your behalf, he is more likely to listen to her.
But is this idea correct?
Let's look at some of things in the Bible that demonstrate Christ's perception of this _
"And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said to him, Blessed is the womb that bare you, and the paps which you did sucked. But he said, Yes rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." Luke 11:27-28
So Christ has said that those who hear the word of God and keep it are more blessed than his mother's womb or paps. So he doesn't appear to have some strange affiliation with his mother beyond the usual.
And note the following _
"While he yet talked to the people, look, his mother and his brothers stood outside, desiring to speak with him. Then one said to him, Look, your mother and your brothers stand outside, desiring to speak with you. But he answered and said to him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brothers? And he stretched forward his hand toward his disciples, and said, Look my mother and my brothers! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Matthew 12:46-50
So this is saying that any female who lives the teachings of Christ is considered a mother by him. Therefore if it was acceptable to God to pray to Mary we would be able to pray to these other women to talk to him also.
In regard the ten repetitions of the "Hail Mary" Jesus said _
"But when you pray, don't use vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Don't you be like them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him." Matthew 6:7-8
Therefore Christ is saying not to repeat prayers over and over. He says that the Father already knows what you want to pray about, so it is pointless repeating it.
Now what does Christ say about who to pray to? Does he say to pray to Mary or Peter (perhaps)?
"And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say to you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you." John 16:23
Christ has promised that sincerely asking Heavenly Father through his name will bring answers. No mention of praying to Mary.
It should be pointed out that many say, "I prayed for this and didn't get it." The request must be sincere for the right response. Also the thing the person is asking for may not be the best for some or all concerned. It is interesting to note that Joseph was sold into slavery and then put in prison; yet these were for his good. I'm sure he didn't appreciate the experience at the time. But he came out a better man for it. His faith persisted in spite of these setbacks.
Remember to pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. And say the things you mean. And only say them once.