Have you prayed lately? Have you tried praying the novena, of course, for nine days? What can this practice of praying the novena do to us Catholic Christians? To start off, the novena comes from the Latin word “novem”, which means “nine”. The nine-day devotion can be done either publicly or privately to obtain special graces. Also, the novena is permitted and even recommended by the ecclesiastical authority.
What’s with the number nine? The octave (an eight-day prayer) is more of the festal character. That is why we call December 25 to January 1, as the “Octave of Christmas”: we then celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. The novena is more of a hopeful mourning, of yearning, of prayer. So we call December 16 to December 24 as the “Christmas novena”, simply because we yearn in prayer for the forthcoming birth of Jesus Christ.
There are four types of novena:
- Novena of Mourning – the first and most easily understood novena. An example would be the Pope’s Novena, which is devoted to the departed and each day’s devotion is preceded by a solemn Mass.
- Novena of Preparation – an example would be the one stated above, the Christmas novena, and that of the Feast of the Annunciation, celebrated every 25th of March. It is done for nine days of prayer before the celebration begins.
- Novena of Prayer – a series of devotions for nine straight days. This is offered as a sacrifice to God, who sees such, as a sign of devotion especially when the person praying it asks for a specific favor.
- Novena of Indulgence – this is defined as “the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned”. A partial indulgence removes part of the temporal punishment due for sins. And a plenary indulgence removes all of it.
The praying of novena has its roots from the Scripture, where the apostles, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and other followers devoted themselves in constant prayer and they were rewarded with a truly amazing grace: the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Need help? Ask for intercession and assistance from our Blessed Mother Mary and all the saints. For sure, they will never fail the community of believers in lifting our requests to our Almighty God.