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A BooK OF NOVENAS By Raymond Edwards Glynn MacNiven-Johnston Fr Philip G. Bochanski The National Service Committee for Catholic Charismatic Renewal in England Fr Walter Macken Miguel Cuartero Samperi

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Compiled & edited by Raymond Edwards

All booklets are published thanks to the generous support of the members of the Catholic Truth Society

CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY publishers to the holy see

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A Book of Novenas, first published 2017 by The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, 40–46 Harleyford Road London SE11 5AY Tel: 020 7640 0042 Fax: 020 7640 0046. Copyright © 2017 The Incorporated Catholic Truth Society. Cover image: The Church Militant and Triumphant, 1365-1367. Fresco by Andrea di Bonaiuto (Andrea da Firenze). Spanish Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. © Bridgeman Images.

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ISBN: 978 1 78469 171 4

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CONTENTS

introduction What is a novena? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 How to use this book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

part i: novenas through the church’s year Advent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 St Andrew | 30th November . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Blessed Charles de Foucauld | 1st December . . . . . . . . 23 The Immaculate Conception | 8th December . . . . . . . . 27 Christmas | 25th December . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Epiphany | 6th January . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 St Thomas Aquinas | 28th January . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 St Josephine Bakhita | 8th February . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 St David | 1st March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 St John of God | 8th March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 St Patrick | 17th March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 St Joseph | 19th March, 1st May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 St Benedict | 21st March, 11th July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Annunciation | 25th March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Easter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 St George | 23rd April . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 St Peregrine | 1st May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 The English Martyrs | 4th May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 St Damien of Molokai | 10th May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

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St Dymphna | 15th May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 St Rita | 22nd May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Pentecost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 St Anthony of Padua | 13th June . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 St Thomas More | 22nd June . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 St John Fisher | 22nd June . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 The Sacred Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 St Christopher | 25th July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 St Anne | 26th July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 St Martha | 29th July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134 Transfiguration | 6th August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) | 9th August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 St Maximilian Kolbe | 14th August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Assumption | 15th August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 St Helena | 18th August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 St Monica | 27th August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 Exaltation of the Cross | 14th September . . . . . . . . . . 157 St Joseph of Cupertino | 18th September . . . . . . . . . . 164 St Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) | 23rd September . . 168 St Raphael | 29th September . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 St Thérèse of Lisieux | 1st October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178 St Gerard Majella | 16th October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 St Jude | 28th October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184 St Martin de Porres | 3rd November . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188 Christ the King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192

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part ii: scriptural novenas Moses: Discerning and Accepting Our Vocation . . . . 200 Elijah: Finding Strength in God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208 Tobit: Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216 Hannah: The Gift of Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 Joseph and His Brothers: for Peace in the Family . . . 230 David & Absalom and the Prodigal Son: Estranged Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 Martha: Being the One that Does All the Work . . . . . 244 Ruth and Naomi: Feeling Abandoned and Forgotten . 250 Deborah and Barak: When Things Seem Too Much for Us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256 Jonah: When God’s Plan Doesn’t Seem to Make Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 Job: Being Honest with God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270 Abraham: Old Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277

part iii: four longer novenas To the Holy Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286 For Pentecost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335 To the Blessed Virgin Mary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347 Our Lady Untier of Knots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395

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introduction what is a novena? A novena is a way of praying, often for a particular need or grace. It consists of a prayer or prayers said over nine days. The word novena is originally Latin, and means “in a group of nine”.1 This is because a novena lasts for nine consecutive days; on each day, there is a particular prayer to be said, or devotional practice to be made. The original novena, the model for all the rest, is the nine days between Christ’s Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, when, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, “all these [Apostles] joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus”.2 The Church still asks Christians to pray with particular intensity between these two feast days for the Holy Spirit to renew the Christian community.3 There are many different sorts of novena; you can make a novena using any prayer you want: the main thing is to pray it regularly for nine days in a row. Nevertheless most people will make a novena using a prayer composed for the purpose. Some novena prayers are long, and may include litanies, or meditations; others are short. You can make a novena using the same prayer nine times, or nine 1

The official Latin equivalent is novendialis prex, “nine days’ prayer”.

2

Acts 1:14.

In 1897 Pope Leo XIII asked that this practice, which was of long custom, should be celebrated by all Catholics worldwide. The official Handbook of Indulgences states that “a partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly take part in a publicly celebrated novena before the solemnity of Christmas, Pentecost, or the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (3rd edition 1986, English edition 1991, par. 33 (p. 72 in the edition published by the Catholic Book Publishing Corporation of New York)). 3

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different prayers, one for each day. There are no rules; what follows are only suggestions.

part 1: novenas through the church’s year The novenas in Part I of this book are of two sorts. Some are addressed to individual saints, asking their intercession for whatever our intention may be. As well as interceding (praying) on our behalf, the saints are also examples of how the Christian life has been lived. Each saint experienced different events, and responded to them in different ways; we can see in their lives examples of how embracing God’s will for us, whatever our individual circumstances, always brings the grace and strength from God we need to do what he asks us. To use religious language, the saints are examples of particular virtues. In the novena prayers to saints, we have tried for each day to take one particular virtue or quality that a saint has shown, and to ask God to make it our own too, according to our needs and circumstances, and in this context to make our prayer for any particular intention we may have, whether for ourselves or for another. The tradition and experience of the Church is that certain saints are especially powerful intercessors in a particular area, or for a particular need (St Anthony for things that have been lost, or St Gerard Majella for motherhood, for instance). We have given some brief indication of these areas at the start of each novena. This may sound like superstition, but in fact it is founded on the long experience of praying Christians. For some reason, which is sometimes obvious but sometimes not, certain saints are especially helpful for particular types of need or intention. We should not be ashamed to have a devotion to a particular saint who has helped us or others

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with their prayers; after all, praying for each other, and for the world, is an especial charism and duty of the Christian, and one that (surely) does not end when we die. The saints have passed to a life that is fuller and richer than ours is now, or theirs was during their time on earth, and so we may rely on their prayers more than on our own; and there is surely no mystery if, after death as in this life, they, like us, have fields of particular interest or expertise. The other novenas in Part I are slightly different. They take for their theme not a particular person’s witness to God’s work in them, but some of the great feasts and seasons of the Christian year. When we pray in this way, we are placing ourselves within the great rhythm of the Church’s journey within time. All time is Christian time; that is to say, since God began his journey with his people, and more so since he took our human condition upon him in a physical way by being born of a woman (the great event we call the Incarnation), we experience God’s work in us, his presence alongside and within us, through the medium of time. All times are one for God, to be sure: he is not bound by time in the same way that we are, and he sees and causes things in a way we cannot properly imagine, from the viewpoint of his simultaneous presence to all times and places (what, in religious language, we call his eternity); but he has chosen to make time, the ongoing progression of days and seasons that are both the same as what we have known before, and yet somehow always new. This time, then, he has made the vehicle and the means of our salvation – that is to say, the way through which we experience this world as his world, and our days lived in it as not meaningless or random but always charged with his presence. The Church from its earliest days has discerned particular characters in certain times and days within the yearly round.

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Some of these are taken up from the Jewish tradition, from which Christianity was born; others express the new events and developments specific to Christianity. These seasonal characteristics are expressed in the different texture we experience in the Church’s worship, its liturgy, throughout the year. Advent, Lent, Eastertide, the great feasts of Jesus’s life and the life of his mother Mary: all have their own particular flavour, if you like, by which the Church opens to us some aspect of the life of Christ’s body that is her own, and our own, and invites us to live this aspect of the Christian life in a particular way during this season or on this feast. The primary way we are called to do this is through the public liturgy of the Church: the Eucharist, and the Divine Office (the breviary). By praying as the Church prays throughout the year, we can enter more fully into the various aspects of the Christian life – which is, no more and no less, the life of God-with-us. These novenas have been composed with the intention of helping us to enter into various liturgical times more consciously, and to bring our prayers of intercession – that is, when we pray for God to give us some particular thing or virtue or help, or in some especial need, for ourselves or for another – within the circle of the Church’s year. All of our needs, let us remember, all the things we ask for and the events we may find difficult or baffling, all these things happen within time: and time is God’s. Whenever we pray, we pray at a particular time, during some part of the Christian year; perhaps we may be helped to pray if we place our intercessions consciously within this cycle, which, day in and day out, maps and records and celebrates God’s saving work with his people. The works he has done for our ancestors in the faith he will do again for us; we have only to ask.

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part ii: scriptural novenas The novenas in Part II of this book are different again. They focus on particular figures from the Bible, most from the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures) because, from the start, the Christian life has been lived after the model of the Old Covenant.4 Scripture is a record of God’s mighty deeds with his people, which are the pattern for his deeds with us today. Biblical figures are given to us for our imitation, not in all the details of their lives (King David was a murderer and an adulterer, Jacob deceived his father and cheated his brother, Jonah was grumpy and rebellious) but rather in one particular – their ability to accept, often after a struggle, the action of God in their lives, and his will for them. This acceptance, however it was mediated and however it played out, allowed their lives to assume a particular shape and conform to the providential pattern God intended. In this way, they become images – icons, types – of particular virtues or characteristics – Abraham of faith, Job of perseverance amidst suffering – and it is their whole-hearted, even if grudging and gradual, giving permission for God’s act that makes them not just characters in a historical narrative (although they retain that historical identity and function) but exemplars of a living faith for us today. By bringing our own questions, troubles, needs, despair or hope to God in the context of these patterned lives, This is primarily true of Jesus Christ: “The forty days of Jesus represent the forty years of Israel’s wandering in the desert; the whole of Israel’s history is concentrated in him.... the history of Israel, which corresponds to our life’s history, finds its ultimate meaning in the Passion that Jesus undergoes.” Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Homiletic Directory, par. 59 (CTS, 2015, p. 40).

4

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we are inviting God to act with us as he did for them. Sometimes our circumstances may be similar to theirs – Job despairing in the ruins of his life, Hannah asking for children; sometimes our apparent circumstances may be very different, but underneath this, our disposition may be identical. We are unlikely to find ourselves actually stuck between an Egyptian army and the impassable waters of the Red Sea, but we may well find ourselves trapped between apparently inescapable problems. God opened a way for Moses and the Israelites; he will open one for us, if we ask him with faith. God keeps his promises; and he is stronger than death. In the novena prayers in Part II, like those to the saints in Part I, we have tried for each day to take a particular virtue or quality or response that a scriptural character (or characters) has shown, and to ask God to make it ours too, according to our circumstances; and in this context, again, we can pray for any particular intention we may have, for ourselves or for others.

part iii: four longer novenas Part III of this compilation consists of four longer novenas: two devotions to the Holy Spirit that might be said between Ascension and Pentecost; another to the Virgin Mary that can be said in the context of any of the great Marian feasts, especially before the Immaculate Conception (8th December); and, last, the particular devotion to Our Lady, Untier of Knots. The first three are written by, respectively, an Oratorian, members of the charismatic movement, and a priest of Opus Dei, and well illustrate the characteristic spirituality that their respective religious movements have given to the Church at large.

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The fourth is associated with a well-known picture of the Virgin Mary, and is a favourite devotion of Pope Francis, who first encountered it whilst studying in Germany.

how to use this book On each day of the novena, say the short prayer for that day, and add your intention (if any); then say the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. Do this on each of the nine days. Some of the novenas have only one prayer, which you should say each day for the nine days. Often people making a novena to a saint will start a novena eight days before a saint’s feast day, so that the last day of the prayer falls on the feast itself: so you might begin a novena to St Joseph on 11th March in order to finish on his feast day, 19th March. You could also start a day earlier to finish on the eve, or vigil, of the feast. Where appropriate, the dates of feast days, or suggested start days, are given at the start of each novena. But, again, there are no hard and fast rules here; you can make a novena whenever you want.

note Please note that none of these novena prayers has any official liturgical authorisation; they are intended for private use only.

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a dv e n t S EA S O N

St andrew

c h a r l e s d e f o u cau l d conception

t h e i m m ac u l at e

christmas

the epiphany

st benedict s e a so n

s t dav i d

s t pat r i c k

s t j os e p h

a n n u n c i at i o n

st george

easter

st peregrine

t h e e n g l i s h m a rt y r s molokai

s e a so n

s t t h o m a s aq u i n a s

s t j os e p h i n e b a k h i ta st john of god

b l e ss e d

s t da m i e n o f

s t dy m p h n a

s t r i ta

NOVENAS through the ChuRCh'S YeaR p e n t e c os t

s t a n t h o n y o f pa d ua

st thomas more t h e s ac r e d h e a rt st anne

s t m a rt h a

st john fisher st christopher t r a n s f i g u r at i o n

s t t e r e s a b e n e d i c ta o f t h e c ross (edith stein) a ss u m p t i o n

s t m a x i m i l i a n ko l b e st helena

e x a ltat i o n o f t h e c ross

st monica s t j os e p h

o f c u p e rt i n o

st pio of pietrelcina

st raphael

st thÊrèse of lisieux

st

gerard

majella

s t m a rt i n d e p o r r e s

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st

jude

christ the king

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part i: novenas through the church’s year

A

dvent

On the last days of Advent, the Church turns our eyes and hearts to the coming of Christ in an especially focussed way. One means of doing this is by what are known as the “O Antiphons”. This is not some obscure Irish family, but a series of seven short scriptural sentences that the Church uses as part of Vespers (Evening Prayer) between the 17th and 23rd of December. Each announces one of the names of Jesus, who is called Christ. We can make our prayer at this time in light of these names. Light and darkness are very frequently mentioned in these texts. Our condition is seen as one sunk in darkness, without light, without hope, bound in prison in the depths of a night without dawn. This may not be our own experience, not now at any rate; but we will probably have at some point in our lives felt like this, or known someone who has. Darkness and captivity can take many forms; all can crush the spirit. From all of these, the light of Jesus Christ, small and weak in the form of a new-born baby (and new-born babies are very small, and very vulnerable), will set us free: for even the smallest light is stronger than darkness, which flees away from it. God is stronger than death. We need only ask.

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first day: o sapientia | 17th december O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. O come to teach us the way to truth. The last-written books of the Old Testament – the prophet Baruch, the Book of Wisdom – speak often of the Wisdom of God. This is a mysterious figure, often personified as a woman, who is a tangible presence of God in our world, who knows and understands all things, who can guide us, and guard us with her glory. The Prologue of St John’s Gospel takes this enigmatic figure and identifies it with Jesus, the man who was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, and who was anointed as the one to save God’s people from their sins. The Greek word used is Logos, which is usually translated “Word”, but means something far richer and more complex in the Greek philosophy of its time: an overmastering pattern, the very matrix of all things, by which all things are created and sustained, which enfolds and encompasses all things (Chinese thought speaks of the Tao in comparable terms). This is what is born in Jesus: the primordial pattern and vessel of all things, something as gentle as water and as stupendous as the starlit sky at night. We are called to bring his very life and being into our lives and selves. Father, help me to know you and follow you. I ask you especially for [here name your intention]

Our Father - Hail Mary - Glory Be

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