A part of our Catholic faith tradition, praying novenas involves the following:
Nine days of public or private prayer for some special occasion or intention. Its (novena's) origin goes back to the nine days that the Disciples and Mary spent together in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost Sunday. Over the centuries many novenas have been highly indulgenced by the Church. In modern times the one before Pentecost was prescribed for parochial churches. (Etymology: Latin - novem, meaning nine.) (from: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=35169)
Incorporating novenas into my own faith life began about five years ago, coinciding with my participation in praying the Rosary. From employing novenas for large school events as a Catholic school principal, to praying them in anticipation of retreats, the start of semesters, and/or speaking opportunities in my current role as an assistant teaching professor at the University of Notre Dame, to praying novenas for a variety of personal reasons, devoting oneself to prayer in anticipation of an event or life moment can properly orient the impetus for the novena towards our Lord. Efficacy aside, novenas can adequately prepare our hearts and minds for important occurrences.
Spring often marks the season of Sacraments. From weddings to confirmations to first Holy Communions, the celebration of sacraments experiences an uptick in most dioceses during and after the season of Easter.
In searching for novenas to pray with my family in anticipation of my children's reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion, I have been underwhelmed with resources I have found.
They either seemed to be too childish and/or too watered down/not based upon scripture, teaching and tradition.
Being invited to the Supper of the Lamb and receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ for the first time merits more than clip art, prayers about responsibility and kindness, and absolutely no connection to the Mass/Sacred Scripture/Church teaching.
So, I created my own.
Starting tomorrow and running for eight days thereafter, I will post what I believe is a novena truly worthy of the event (in this case First Holy Communion), the person receiving the Sacrament, and our Lord.
This isn't to say that our Lord cares about what we say, how we say it, or any of the trappings of external appearances.
"But the LORD said to Samuel: Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The LORD looks into the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).
God desires our hearts - solely, completely, wholly, and holy.
But, the words we say, the images that we see, and the amount of time we spend on something can unveil what we treasure, "For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be" (Matthew 6:21). Similarly, giving the Lord and others our very best makes investments in our hearts to expand their capacities to know, love, and serve God.
Similarly, this is not to say that the Lord needs anything more than our meager offerings to perform miracles. He creates from nothing. He puts life back into things that are dead. He can take anything we give Him and work it for His purposes.
So, Lord Jesus, please take this novena and work it for your glory.
So, Lord Jesus, please take us and work us for your glory as well.
Come, Lord Jesus.