What is a novena?
It is a prayer or series of prayers repeated for nine days in a row. The roots of the tradition are scriptural, referring to the nine days the Apostles and our Lady spent in the Upper Room between Jesus’ ascension to the Father and the coming of the Holy Spirit. They waited, and devoted themselves to prayer. (see Acts 1:12-14)
Novenas are always marked by a sense of urgency and focus. This is not just daily prayer, but purposeful attention to intense, heartfelt, and repeated prayer of petition. That is why the faithful have recourse to the saints to intercede for them in their petitions for illness, for their family, for work.
The help of the saints
The saints can help us in these petitions, because “they contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were 'put in charge of many things' (see Mt 25:21). Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2683).
Saint Josemaria nurtured a deep hope of going to heaven. At the end of his life he said: “From heaven I’ll be able to help you much better.” The thousands of favors granted through his intercession show that he has kept his promise.
Four novenas, for the family, for work, for the sick, and for forgiveness, are designed for asking for Saint Josemaria’s help for specific needs.
Examples of the worldwide reach of these novenas
A man in Chile thanks Saint Josemaria for getting him his old job back. A Spanish man says an unemployed friend got an out-of-season job in greenhouse gardening. A correspondent from Poland tells of getting a job at age 52 after looking for four years. Another Polish man said his father prayed the Novena for Work twice and found a job. In Lithuania a university lecturer sometimes loses his voice because he gets a sore throat due to an infection that affects his vocal chords. This usually occurs on weekends but once it hit him on a Monday. He had recourse to his prayer card and did not have to miss a single day of work that week. A lady in Mauritius found the Novenas by chance while browsing the Internet and prayed for her 50-year-old husband to get a stable job. As of the time of writing, he had not yet found one but did get into a state-funded training course. She continues praying to Saint Josemaria with all her heart. “I know he has heard me.”
This app makes praying the novenas easier. Besides providing the texts and reflections for each novena, the app has alarms that can serve as reminders. The app is available in English, French, Spanish and Italian.
It can be downloaded from the iTunes store https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/st-josemaria-novenas/id981182200?mt=8 or from Google Play for Android devices https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.novenas.novenas&hl=en
These novenas were written by Father Francisco Faus, a close associate of Saint Josemaria. They include reflections and texts drawn from the writings of Saint Josemaria.