Monday, June 25, 2007

The Novena of Grace

A good friend of mine, Maureen Parodi, gave me today a beautiful old prayer book (some of you may know that I collect old prayer books). This one is from 1906 and one of the wonderful things I discoverd in it is the Novena of Grace which I had never heard of before.

The Novena of Grace traditionally takes place from the 4th to the 12th of March. Usually it is based in a church, where a preacher gives a sermon, traditionally on the life of St Francis Xavier and draws lessons for his listeners. The first Novena of Grace of Francis Xavier, nine days of prayer, is said to have taken place in Goa, India, in 1615, when a boy, crippled from birth, was cured. After Francis Xavier was named a Saint on 12th of March, 1622, the Novena of Grace grew in popularity around the world. It reached Ireland in 1712 when it was first celebrated in Mary’s Lane Chapel in St Michan’s Parish, Dublin.

Here is the prayer to St. Francis from the Novena:

O most lovable and loving St. Francis Xavier,
in union with you, I reverently adore the Divine Majesty.
While joyfully giving thanks to God for the singular gifts of grace

bestowed on you during your life
and your gifts of glory after death,
I beseech you with all my heart’s devotion to be pleased to obtain for me,
through your efficacious intercession,
the greatest of all blessings: the grace of living a holy life and dying a holy death.

Moreover, I beg of you to obtain for me

[mention here the spiritual or temporal favor you wish to obtain].
But if what I ask of you so earnestly
does not tend to the glory of God and the great good of my soul,
please obtain for me, I pray, what is more conducive for both. Amen.
[Recite an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be].

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