The novena is a Catholic practice of prayer that’s done over the course of nine days. Its practice goes back to the time of the apostles. The first novena can be attributed to when they got together to pray, after the Ascension waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The novena is prayed to obtain a special grace or intention. It’s generally a petition that needs to be taken to God’s ears, for when we need to trust that it’s being heard and to persevere in our prayer, that’s why there are nine days of repetition.
There are well-known novenas that are prayed at specific times, like the novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is done the first nine Fridays of the month. There are also novenas to the saints nine days before their feast day, but you can also pray a novena with a personal intention any time of the year.
There are several types of novenas, one of the most popular novenas is the one prayed before or after a funeral, with the objective of asking for the well-being of the person who died or for the comfort of those who are distressed because of their dear one’s loss. This type of novena is known as anticipation novenas.
The preparation novenas are the ones prayed when preparing for a Church’s feast day, or before a sacrament or any other spiritual event, with the objective of preparing the soul for that important day.
The petition novenas are those directed to God or to a saint, asking for their intervention, a signal, or any other type of help.
And finally, the indulgence novenas are those prayed for the remission of sins. In other words, these novenas are prayed as an act of penitence for the previously committed sins. They are usually done as a compliment to the sacrament of confession and to the assistance to mass.
We need to know that when we pray a novena the first thing we have to ask for is God’s will to be done. Let us not doubt that God is always watching over us and knows what’s best for each of us. His wisdom and mercy are infinite. For Him, no longing of our hearts goes unnoticed. The novena is not, then, a magical charm to automatically obtain what we want. It’s about calling out to our Father and leaving our petitions in His hands to grant us His graces.
I think the best question here is for you to know why do you want or need to pray a novena. Again, a novena is not a magical act that’s done just because. It’s a deep and constant prayer which primarily place constitutes a praise to God, since it’s Him to whom we’re trusting our life and intentions.
The novenas can be done in public, which is getting together with a group of people in your parish, your church or your own house, and praying together. But you can also pray a novena individually for any intention.
The novena is a special prayer. You can take the opportunity to accompany it with some offering or sacrifice for the desired intention, it can be by fasting, frequenting the sacraments of reconciliation or Eucharist, going to mass on weekdays, etc…
The key to this type of prayer is constancy, if you’ve started a novena don’t stop! Set the firm purpose of finishing it, it’s nine days which also will start to build in you the habit of prayer and a deep communication with God.
Our friends at Pray More Novenas offer daily Novena prayers delivered to your inbox through email. It’s a great way to ensure that you don’t forget about your prayer!
There are novenas dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the Virgin Mary, to the Holy Spirit, and to many saints, to whom we ask for intercession before God to obtain the grace or intention we’re asking for. Here we give you some links that can be useful:
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