Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Saturday, December 5, 2015

St. John of the Cross: Novena Day One

Today is the first day to begin a novena in anticipation of the Feast Day of St. John of the Cross. I am hoping to have something to contribute on the blog each day, but I will be realistic and admit that it might not happen. I’ve got too much going on just now to commit to getting to the computer every day for the next nine days. No worries – I am not overstressing the holidays! Rather, I am prioritizing the TO DO list. My sneaking away to the computer will fall to the bottom of the list, as I attempt make wise decisions about keeping a healthy balance during Advent.

In the newly published e-book by Elizabeth Foss, Comfort & Joy, she shares her thoughts about a novena prayer:

“This prayer and most novena prayers allow us to state our intentions, to beg for favors, to ask God to grant our desires. But I have noticed, as I have prayed the prayer, that in the time from the beginning of the devotion until the time near the completion, the focus shifts from the desire to the rest of the prayer. Over time, with repetition, my gaze is taken from what I want or think I need (however good and holy that might be) to who He is and how He lives in me.”

This sums up, beautifully, my favored approach to novena prayers. In some ways, this reminds me of the content woman my grandmother was: she didn’t want or need gifts on birthdays or Christmas, she liked simply being with her loved ones. She wasn't just saying she didn't want anything out of a false humility, her desires were sincerely elsewhere. I am not asking for anything in particular during this novena; I am spending time in savoring the words that touch my heart.

Please, do spend some time with the words of St. John of the Cross. For Novena Day One, I’ll share one of the most well-known quotes:

For the traditional novena, follow this link.

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