Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A Novena for the Slothful and the Proud
I'm the sort of person who needs a lot of direction, or else my life will start to go to pieces and I will spend my days wandering around in a haze of confused nostalgia for the past and bemused wonder at the present, which translates into neglecting or resenting my daily responsibilities and spiraling into a funk because I can't seem to read and decipher the language of quotidian life. A dear friend of mine, when she was a little girl, insisted on wearing drawstring dresses that tied in the back, and having them pulled as close as they could go, and on having her mary janes buckled so tightly that she still has scars on her insteps. This is how I am spiritually. I need my steps and my actions rigidly circumscribed, or I fall easily into a sort of mental and emotional Egyptian fleshpot. My Lenten sacrifices are usually modified or abandoned completely by this time, and I often forget to complete my novenas.
In spite of these acknowledged deficiencies, I also , conversely, resent any order or direction imposed from the outside. Sloth and pride vie for ascendance in me.
If you are like me, you might find the following novena to Saint Joseph to be just the ticket.
From TAN Books:
A POWERFUL NOVENA TO ST. JOSEPH
This novena has proven to be highly efficacious. It seems to be pleasing to St. Joseph and helpful to souls. This form of novena was originally devised by the celebrated Fr. Louis Lallemant, S.J. (1587-1633). It has proved particularly effective in obtaining favors through the intercession of St. Joseph. In the Life of this saintly priest and great master of the spiritual life, to whom St. Joseph never refused anything he asked, the story is told that on one occasion he urged two young priests to make this novena, promising that they would obtain everything they asked through the intercession of St. Joseph if, in turn, they would show him special honor and spread devotion to him among others. Both did as Fr. Lallemant suggested. One of them asked for grace to speak and write worthily of Our Lord. But the next day he came to Fr. Lallemant to tell him that, upon reflection, he wished to ask for a different grace, which he considered more conducive to his perfection. Fr. Lallemant replied, “It is too late now to ask for another grace. The first one has already been granted.” This grace was conspicuously displayed throughout the whole course of the priest’s life, as he became one of the most noted preachers and writers of his day.
How to Make this Novena
No particular prayers need be said for this novena [emphasis mine -- isn't that great?]. Every day for nine days, turn to St. Joseph in spirit four times during the day and honor him in the following four points. (These “visits” may be made anywhere—at home, at work, on the street, in the car or bus—and at any time.)
1. During the first visit, consider St. Joseph’s fidelity to grace. Reflect upon the action of the Holy Ghost in his soul. At the conclusion of this brief meditation, thank God for so honoring St. Joseph, and ask, through his intercession, for a similar grace.
2. Later in the day, consider St. Joseph’s fidelity to the interior life. Study his spirit of recollection. Think, thank God, and ask.
3. Later still, consider St. Joseph’s love for Our Lady. Think, thank God, and ask.
4. Finally, in a fourth visit, reflect upon St. Joseph’s love for the Divine Child. Think, thank God, and ask.
Saint Joseph's feast day is March 19 (a big day for Italian-Americans, who usually try to ignore Saint Patrick's Day), and his novena begins today. If this novena delights you, as it does me, please join me in saying it.