If you mention the word “devotions” to an evangelical Christian, they will generally associate the word with the time they spend each day reading and studying God’s Word and praying to the Lord. But for Catholics, the word “devotions” conjures up an entirely different meaning.
In Catholicism, there are literally hundreds of particular ways of approaching (g)od, Mary, and the canonized saints and these are called devotions. Some of these approaches/devotions are very popular throughout Catholicism (e.g., the rosary, the stations of the cross), while others have only a small number of adherents or are limited to a specific geographical locale. Catholics are encouraged to adopt either a single devotion or several as an aid to their “spiritual development.”
Below is a partial list of Catholic devotions. There are many more than these:
- Devotion to Christ the King
- Devotion to Jesus Crucified
- Devotion to One’s Guardian Angel
- Devotion to One’s Patron Saint
- Devotion to Our Lady Under Various Titles
- Devotion to St. Joseph
- Devotion to St. Michael the Archangel
- Devotion to the Angels
- Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament
- Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
- Devotion to the Child Jesus
- Devotion to the Holy Face
- Devotion to the Holy Family
- Devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus
- Devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory
- Devotion to the Holy Spirit
- Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- Devotion to the Infant Jesus
- Devotion to the Infant of Prague
- Devotion to the Precious Blood
- Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Devotion to the Saints
- Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother / Devotion to the Seven Sorrows
- Devotion to the Wounds of Jesus
- Divine Mercy Devotion
- First Five Saturday’s Devotion
- First Friday’s Devotion
- Holy Rosary
- Miraculous Medal
- Stations of the Cross / Way of the Cross
- Three Hail Mary’s Devotion
See the Catholic source here.
The above devotions encourage superstitious and idolatrous perceptions of God and anti-Biblical worship (aka “veneration”) of Mary, the “saints,” or the angels. In its efforts to convert the pagan masses, the Catholic church adapted pagan religious fetishes (amulets, good luck charms, talismans, rabbit feet, juju, etc.) into acceptable and church-sanctioned devotions. Many Catholics become strongly attached to a particular devotion and it becomes the central focus of their religious practice in much the same way as a superstitious juju for a pagan. Catholics aren’t obligated to follow any devotions, but are strongly encouraged to do so and may pick and choose from the church’s thick catalog of options as to whatever strikes their fancy. Many Catholics adopt the devotion/s of one of their parents or those of their favorite priest.
Bible Christians have no need of these superstitious religious fetishes. We have repented of our sin and accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith alone. We commune with the Lord through reading His Word and through prayer to Him. Nothing else is needed.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24
Tomorrow, I will focus on one specific Catholic devotion, the Infant Jesus of Prague.