How a Bob Jones Grad Came to Love the Rosary

Being brought up in a fundamentalist home,  our family were not exactly “anti-Catholic” but we assumed that Catholics needed to “get saved”.

Certainly I had never seen a set of rosary beads, and didn’t know what they were for. I had never been into a Catholic church, but was told by my pastors that “Catholics prayed to Mary” and that had to be wrong because you were only supposed to worship one God and how could Mary be God? She was just an ordinary woman. We were therefore suspicious of anything to do with Mary.

She didn’t even make it on to our Christmas cards. We sent each other cards with photographs of open Bibles and poinsettias.

It wasn’t until I was an Anglican priest, living in England, many years later that someone from the parish returned from a pilgrimage to Walsingham and gave me a rosary. “Here, Dwight. Try these. It might help.” That’s when it all started. Read more.

UPDATE: Check out my book: Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing. Go here for archived apologetics articles on the Blessed Virgin Mary.


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  • usually confused

    Father, regarding your reference to the “personal relationship with Jesus” that evangelicals emphasize … what is that? I hear that a lot in Catholic circles now also … but I have never seen it explained. How does one recognize that experience or how does it feel? The evangelicals seem to mean a type of emotional experience … which I am grateful to the Catholics not to be under that obligation of emotionality … but what am I missing?

  • phil

    Good question! It really digs to the foundation of the matter. Protestantism didn’t begin with “accepting Jesus as your personal savior.” Ask your Evangelical friends to find any of those words in the Bible. Yet, we are suddenly faced with this pseudo-theology in just about every new storefront bible fellowship church, and they are springing up by the thousands. The appeal is always to a “personal relationship.” I’ve had seminary educated people say things to me like, “God told me, or the Lord said he wants us to….,” to which I’ve always immediately replied, “Said to you how? Spoke to you how? Did you hear a voice? Please explain this to me because I have been an evangelical believer for 35 years and have never heard a voice.”

    The answer is never given, it is implied that you understand, that you’ve had the spirit baptism and so you are part of the in-group, (wink) you know what they mean. It is hogwash! It is a delusion, and those who perpetuate it are those whose status in the “fellowship” is exalted because of it.

    The rosary brought me back to the faith of my fathers. Eucharist is Jesus’ abiding Presence. That isn’t to say that prayer is not answered, or that we can’t experience great consolations as a result of our devotion, but this attitude that we just walk around with our buddy Jesus does violence to the truth of the gospel. It mocks Him.

    But, you see, if you have a personal Jesus you don’t need the Church, you don’t need liturgy, sacrament, order, a hierarchy, a priesthood, the Pope, Mary, the saints, or the kingdom of God on Earth. Christianity becomes whatever you say it is. Proof-texting the sole authority. Perhaps this is why Protestantism is reduced to its present state of disunity. These modern churches, mega-churches and wannabees, have reduced worship to repeating endless refrains of the latest contemporary christian label artist. They believe by singing into an emotional state they are honoring Our Lord. Preaching, which is simply the latest new idea of the pastor, has replaced nearly two thousand years of keenly honed liturgy. ( I always find it ironic that this breed of christian equates salvation with an appropriate “altar call” when they fully reject the purest theological significance of the altar — the Sacrifice of the Lamb, i.e. the transubstantiated Eucharist.)

    And another thing. This whole approach to salvation by faith must have God in a full Nelson. They twist His arm. Who can now question the death of an old widow who spent her years in prayer for her friends and family, who sacrificed her time and energy for the sake of the cross, but was never baptized in the Church, had never partaken of Reconciliation, or Eucharist, and perhaps was an outspoken enemy of Catholicism? Have we not cast out demons in Your Name? Eeeek!

    I am glad I am not the Judge. It is enough for me to endure my daily battle with concupiscence.

  • Sal

    You know, it did not occur to me until years later, that if you follow the meditations in the little Rosary Novena book by asking for various virtues and if the virtue for the Mystery of the Resurrection is “Faith” and you pray it a lot for, oh, ten or so years- you’ll get Faith.
    Like Phil and his gratitudes, I’m glad Catholicism is not a matter of fast on the uptake.

  • Darren O.

    Hi Sal:
    I was reading your comment about prayer working on slow time (at least it can! or it seems it can, whatever). Now, I am usually very commitment adverse (marriage has helped improve this, praise God), but my heart actually fluttered with a pulse of joy at the prospect of spending the next ten years and more at prayer. I never would have guessed it. Many thanks.