novenas and pregnancies
"In the same way, you are sad for a time, but I shall see you again; then your hearts will rejoice with a joy no one can take from you." —John 16:22
Today, we begin the annual Pentecost novena. These nine days of prayer are analogous to the nine months of pregnancy. As a pregnant woman changes from sadness to joy, so during this novena we may experience grief, which will be "turned into joy" (Jn 16:20). As is often the case in pregnancy, the beginning and end of this novena may be times of greater sadness or stress. Under these circumstances, we will be pressured to abort the new life of the Spirit conceived within us. We will be tempted to avoid the painful reconciliation, repentance, and healing which are often part of a novena. We will feel like forgetting about Pentecost and seeking escape through various pleasurable distractions. Therefore, let's decide right now to stick it out.
"Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit; He Whom you serve is the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer" (Rm 12:11-12). Pray and persevere through sorrows into joy. Come, Holy Spirit!
Prayer: Father, "You changed my mourning into dancing; You took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my soul might sing praise to You without ceasing; O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks" (Ps 30:12-13).
Promise: "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking and do not be silenced, for I am with you. No one will attack you or harm you. There are many of My people in this city." —Acts 18:9-10
Praise: Monica began hungering for the Holy Spirit after her fourth child was born. She received the gift of tongues while praising Jesus during a drive on the interstate highway.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 9, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 15, 1996