Patrick Madrid’s Strongest Weapon Against Sin

   This MP3 clip is from a broadcast of Catholic Answers live last month. Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid answered a caller concerned about her mortal sin. After explaining how the Catholic Church instructs such a person to go through confession, absolution, and penance, Madrid says to pray the Rosary because it is the “strongest weapon outside the sacraments that we have to combat mortal sin.” The Rosary is not just a repetitious prayer in the Catholic veneration of Mary, but the strongest weapon to keep one from mortal sin.
   In his book, Where Is That In The Bible?, Madrid mentions the repetitious Rosary helps Catholics “meditate on key episodes of the Gospel narrative, as well as mysteries of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (p. 136). This prayer asks “Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, to intercede on our behalf and use her prayers as a weapon of grace against the evil one, the Red Dragon spoken of in Revelation 12… when we pray the Rosary, we go well-armed into battle against the adversary, who is ‘prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’” (p.137).
   True, all Christians are engaged in a real battle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Yet God has not left us to fend against the ravages of sin on our own. But before we consider Madrid’s “strongest weapon,” why not look into the Scriptures? Over the years I’ve heard many sermons on “putting on the full armor of God” as expounded by Paul in Ephesians 6. Paul exhorts us to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” He mentions the “belt of truth,” “the breastplate of righteousness,” “the shield of faith,” and “the helmet of salvation.” He says to pray in the Spirit on all occasions. In Ephesians Paul doesn’t tell Christians to meditate on the “mysteries of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Rather, he asks the Ephesians to pray for him as he proclaims the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 6:19). In fact, the entire epistle to the Ephesians is soaked in devotion to Christ. Christians are instructed to be “imitators of God,” while Mary, Madrid’s strongest weapon, is conspicuously absent.
   Paul doesn’t mention the Rosary as a means of fighting sin and standing strong in the faith. One would think if the Rosary is the “strongest weapon outside the sacraments that we have to combat mortal sin” he would’ve mentioned it. Perhaps Paul mentioned it elsewhere to the Ephesians, but didn’t write it down? Perhaps this is an unwritten Tradition? Perhaps it’s been defined as such by an infallible authority? Perhaps Madrid is engaging in private judgment as to his positive disposition towards the Rosary? The answers to these questions probably won’t be forthcoming any time soon.