Healing Novena Prayers
Day 1: Mary’s Journey of Faith
Mary freely accepts God’s will for her.
A messenger was sent by God to tell Mary about His plan of salvation for the whole world. She was the intimate link to bring it about… if only she would say yes. Mary was startled by this and asked, “How does this fit in with Your other plans for me, dear Lord?” He answered, “I can take care of both your virginity and your future motherhood. Nothing is impossible with Me.”
“Would you be mother to My Son in the flesh?” Mary didn’t even know God had a Son. What a revelation! This Son wanted to be a member of our human family: “my delight is to be with the children of men.” What a privilege to be so chosen! “The power of the Holy Spirit will come upon you…” She is the first person to learn of this great mystery: God is three-in-one: Father, Son and Spirit. She pondered this truth all through her life, just as we must “ponder” it and relate it to our lives.
“Yes, Lord… let it be done as you say.” At that very moment Jesus came into the world as one of us. He took on our weakness and our ills. God learned what it was to be hungry, thirsty, exhausted, admired and praised by good people, rejected and murdered by leaders of those He came to save.
Lord Jesus, give me a docile heart like Mary’s, that I may respond with a total “yes” to the will of the Father all through life. Amen.
Mary’s presence brings joy to her loved ones.
Through the voice of His mother, Jesus greets and sanctified His “voice in the wilderness” while they are both still in the womb. John is the “greatest among the children of men,” the man who sums up all of the Old Testament, the last prophet to warn the Jews of their dignity which is being challenged… “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
Elizabeth: “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” How did Elizabeth know Mary was the “Mother of the Lord” except that the Spirit of God went ahead to prepare the way for His coming, as the Spirit always does. In this holy woman, Mary had a confidant, one with whom she could share the good news, the revelation of God’s Son coming into our world.
“His name is John”… and thus Zechariah had his voice restored to him. And what a speech he made! (inspired by the Spirit, of course): “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for He visited his people… to bring them knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins… this by the tender mercy of our God…”
Lord Jesus, please send your Spirit into my heart to give “voice” to me, as he gave voice to your mother, to Elizabeth and Zechariah, and even to John, that I may spread Your Word everywhere. Amen.
Mary praises God for His care for the lowly.
Mary’s majestic hymn of praise proclaims “the greatness of the Lord” because He has literally turned the world upside down. God scatters the proud; He brings down the powerful; He sends the rich away empty.
But there is more. God looks with favor on the lowly. He shows mercy to those who depend completely on Him. He fills the hungry with good things. He fulfills the promises He has made to His faithful people.
The Magnificat calls us to imitate the example of God and the Blessed Mother. We are called to stand with the lowly, the hungry, the faithful – those who need the love and mercy of God, and our love and mercy as well.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exalts in God my Savior;
because He has looked upon His lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is His name,
and His mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear Him.
He has shown the power of His arm,
He has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their
thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things,
the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel, His servant,
mindful of his mercy, according to the promise
He made to our ancestors
of His mercy to Abraham and to
His descendants for ever.
The Birth of Jesus
Mary becomes the Mother of God – and our Mother.
Mary called Joseph a “just man”… i.e. God-fearing, faithful, strong, loving. He was forbidden by law to take this pregnant maiden into his house as wife. But how to save her from public shame? Once the angel spoke to him and manifested this Child as God’s offspring, Joseph bowed humbly and lovingly to this reality. He was the protector of Mary’s virginity… and his own. He was the primary example for the great manliness Jesus showed through His whole life.
Even the edict of Caesar for a census was part of God’s plan. The Scriptures said the Christ had to be born in Bethlehem. But what a revelation for Joseph and Mary to find themselves in a stable for the birth of the Son of God. Surely there were profound reasons in God’s plan for this as well.
The angelic choirs invited the shepherds to this cosmic event… only a start to bring in the Wise Men from the East. Meanwhile, the world went round and round in its ignorance of the greatest fact that ever took place on the face of the earth. Let us learn that He reveals Himself to the “poor” and the “truly wise.”
Lord Jesus, grant me the poverty of spirit which we find in Joseph and Mary… and the true wisdom of Your Spirit so we can find you in the “poor” and “truly wise.” Amen.
Mary learns she must suffer for the love of her Son.
“Jesus is His name” (the angel said to both Joseph and Mary). After eight days they had Him circumcised and gave Him the name, Jesus (Joshua… Savior). After forty days they took Him to the temple to present Him to His Father and to offer two turtledoves in keeping with the law and the practice of the time. What a surprise awaited them!
“This Child is destined to be a sign that is rejected.” When the light of His truth comes up against the darkness and sin of the world, He will be accepted by the good, but disowned and murdered by His own people. An old man, Simeon, was led by the Spirit into the temple and uttered these words. The Spirit had promised him that he would not die until he had seen the “Christ of the Lord.” The same Spirit had given him prophetic insight into the sufferings of Jesus.
“And a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” These words Simeon addressed to Mary. As mother to this special Child, she would share in His trials and even His death. Simeon also adds ”that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.” Yes, how many holy and inspiring thoughts have come to the saints (and to all of us) as we contemplate the terrible sufferings of Son and Mother. Simeon looked up to the Lord: “Master, you can let Your servant go in peace… my eyes have seen Your salvation.”
Lord Jesus, the mystery deepens as it goes on; let the sense of mystery be with me as I contemplate Your whole life (along with Joseph and Mary). Amen.
Finding Jesus in the Temple
Mary prepares Jesus for His mission in life.
Every year they used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. Even as a boy, Jesus was a pilgrim. When he was twelve, their pilgrimage took on a special meaning. He became an adult in the eyes of the law. He was obliged to keep the law in its fullness, and to be a witness to His Jewish heritage.
He also did a surprising thing: He stayed behind while the huge caravan rolled on its way home. His parents thinking He was with relatives. After three days of frantic searching they found Him in the Temple. His mother said, “My Child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for You.” Jesus replied, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be busy with My Father’s affairs?” (Lk 2:48-49) They did not understand.
Jesus went back to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. From this moment, every thought, every action of His was to prepare Himself for the “work of His Father.” “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me.” (Jn 4:34) Thee Father’s will for now was to be a docile, loving Son. “Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature and grace with God and men.” (Lk 2:52)
Lord Jesus: Confirmation was my entry into the adult way of life; please send your spirit to make me truly mature “in spirit and in truth.” (Jn 4:23) Amen.
Mary grieves the loss of her only Son
Why such a gruesome death? In God’s plan this was the best way to win the largest number to salvation, based on love, not fear. The power of love itself will attract a response of love from those who have the least spark of goodness in themselves. “We preach Christ crucified, the power and the wisdom of God.” (ICo 1:23)
“Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23:34) Jesus gave His all in love and sacrifice. Now He asks His Father to “glorify” them both by pouring out the flood of mercy and love which He had won. Much of sin is based on ignorance and stupidity. Jesus appeals to the heart of His Father to let flow the healing water of His sacrifice.
“Woman, this is your Son… Son, this is your mother.” (Jn 19:26) Jesus’ great love for His mother now extends to every person in the world. She is now mother to His whole Mystical Body. Each one must love and reverence her, just as He did. By giving Jesus to us, Mary is truly “our life, our sweetness and our hope.” As she trained Him to become the perfect Son, the Spirit works through her to bring us to full maturity in Christ.
Lord Jesus, help me to become, like the Little Flower, the “very heart of Your Mystical Body,” in response to the tremendous love which poured from Your sacred heart.” Amen.
Mary waits in hope for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus had said to Nicodemus, “The Spirit is like the wind… you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” (Jn 3:8) When the Spirit appeared to Elijah it was like a gentle breeze… to indicate His intimacy with the prophets. Now He comes as a powerful wind… to bring to fulfillment all the oracles of the prophets in Jesus.
Fire: when Isaiah met with the presence of God, he exclaimed, “What a wretched state I am in… I am a man of unclean lips and my eyes have looked on Yahweh.” A seraph took a live coal from the altar in the temple and touched his mouth with it, “see, this has touched your lips… your sin is taken away.” When the priest absolves us from sin, it is the Spirit who sends a coal of fire to purify us.
The Spirit appeared to this select group in tongues of fire… and unloosened their tongues to speak the marvels of the Lord. Peter, fired by that same Spirit, preached his first sermon to 3,000 people who had gathered around because of the noise and the many tongues they heard. They were all converted that afternoon because they were cut to the heart by what they had done to Jesus. They received baptism in Jesus’ name, also were also fired by the Spirit to preach the Good News everywhere.
Holy Spirit God, I adore You; enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Amen.
Feast of Our Lady of the Snows
Mary intercedes for us with her Son to answer our prayers.
We bring our needs to the altar, offering them up to God. This is our act of humility, our acknowledgment that we are not the most powerful force in the world, that there is One who is greater. Our Lady, by her willingness to do God’s will, gave us an example of such humility. At the moment of her Annunciation, she sang praise for all the gifts of God: “For the Mighty One has done great things for me.” (Lk 1:49)
God showers us with blessings. All that we have comes from this one Source. Our blessings are abundant; so should our thanks be. How can we give less than our all to the God who has given us everything?
To be sure, there are some lives in which the darkness seems overwhelming, in which the suffering seems endless. But we believe that no life goes untouched by God’s goodness. Even the smallest mercies are worthy of gratitude.
It is good to reflect on the ways God has blessed us – when we feel we need healing, it reminds us that God has eased our suffering before, and this too shall pass. When we feel that we have been blessed by healing we thank God who is the Source of all healing and hope.
Open my eyes to see Your goodness always. Be with me so that I will know Your peace. Amen.