Novena comes from the Latin “Novem” that means ‘nine’ and would have been used in everyday Roman conversation. For example, November would be referred to as the ninth month in Latin. In the Church, a novena is a devotion lasting nine straight days, which can be used to ask God for special graces. The prayers said during the nine days could vary from a rosary to a series of prayers said throughout the nine consecutive days.
The beautiful tradition of saying novenas comes from scripture. After Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, the disciples and Mary, stayed together in the upper room and were devoted to prayer for nine days (Acts 1:14). Then on the ninth day, they all received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The week my position was eliminated at work this month, Jason Elizondo passed on an awesome Novena. The Saint Josemaria Escriva Novena dedicated to find work or to do a good job. The Novena cleared the clutter and I was able focus on a path of renewal physically, emotionally and spiritually. With St. Josemaria’s help I was able to clarify what my next step would be.
While I was still working toward the ninth day on the St. Josemaria Escriva Novena, my husband Cris, suggested praying the St. Joseph Novena. Walking with St. Joseph was very humbling and gave me the deep comfort I needed to trust our Lord. Just praying the words of the Novena made me feel so small, even more so at my height of 4’ 9”, it completely diminished my pride during those moments.
For example, look at the preview at the end of the Ninth Day to St. Joseph;
“Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Help me to spend each day in preparation for death. May I, too, accept death in the spirit of resignation to God’s Holy Will, and die, as you did, in the arms of Jesus, strengthened by Holy Viaticum, and in the arms of Mary, with her rosary in my hand and her name on my lips!”
Have you ever thought about praying for your death? Did you feel humbled? Find yourself rereading it? I often found myself having to reread the prayers of the St. Joesph Novena because each word was written with intention.
I began offering my entire day to Christ through these Novenas. Then, I began searching for more when I was on the last day of the St. Joseph Novena. I stumbled upon praymorenovenas.com, as well as the Novena to St. Dymphna who prays for the health of the sick. In addition, I stumbled on a Novena for the unemployed created by the Passionist Priests. The Passionist priests take Novenas to another level than what I have ever encountered, they created videos for each of the days and walk you through a part of Christ’s Passion.
What does all this mean? I know for certain that Novenas are playing a huge role in my life and they can in yours too, if allowed. They are keeping my prayer life focused and help carry my daily crosses through the prayers of our heroes in heaven – saints. How have Novenas affected you? Do you have a favorite?