We can see that every person has their rituals. From getting up at a certain time, to shopping on a certain day and then we have religious rituals of praying, going to the Church, Temple or Mosque at designated times.
Are religious rituals actually beneficial? They prepare us to be in the presence of God by getting us ready to think about quieting our mind. But they go no further.
Remember prayer is defined as Love or God Consciousness talking to man, never man talking to God. So that means our vocal prayers are only for our benefit, not for God’s. A way of saying that something needs a higher insight.
Whether we recite or vocalise our needs in Arabic, Latin or Hebrew, the ritual of doing so allows us to voice our concerns to ourselves and each other in the traditions from which we come to allow us to be open for the response from Love who already knows what we need. But in itself the ritual does not do the work for you. It is simply a way of preparing yourself for listening.
Even in Christian Science Churches as they continue their journey into a time honoured tradition away from metaphysics; affirmations and recitations seems to be viewed as bringing themselves to Love without the understanding that the service itself with all of its platforms, first, second readers and declarations is in itself nothing, except for a group of people gathering to prepare themselves for hearing Love. In Catholicism the word “Mass” means “to dismiss” the people into the world. There maybe a clue here in the original meaning that the dismissal is for you to take responsibility for hearing the Gentle Presence outside of the Church not inside it.
Let us look at the Rosary, where we repeat words again and again and these words often seem to be begging God or Mary to do something, like giving us our daily bread or asking Mary to pray for us in the Hail Mary prayer. The Bible says that Jesus told us to have no thought about what we eat or drink, so clearly that is not the reason for him giving us that prayer where we ask for daily bread. The Bible did not give us any instructions about Mary. So clearly there is something more that we are not seeing when we think of these vocal prayers.
Some people need the religious ritual but it should never be mistaken for anything more than a ritual, unknown to God and purely a material act. Sometimes pleasing, most times mechanical and not unlike the stage as actors seek to impress with their beautiful passionate recitations.
Whether it is a Church, Synagogue, room or Temple with bread and wine, books, crystals, art or Tarot, the ritual exists to quieten us, allowing us to hear Love speak. But do not be deceived into thinking that it is anymore than that. No one can do the work for you but the ritual can prepare you for what needs to be done.
Let me put it another way: If your parents had not put you through the ritual of infant baptism, you would not be searching Christendom for meaning. The ritual brought you to the gate and now you are searching for meaning within the fold. The same with any ritual, it creates a fence where you are free to explore, but the fence is not meant to contain and restrict your thoughts, it is simply a cultural way to prepare you for listening to Love. These rituals are usually carried out with others present, locking you into a community mindset or denomination by human standards.