A powerful wind, an event similar to an earthquake, and the descent of fire in the form of tongues—these and more phenomena—culminated with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles that Pentecost day.
THE NOVENA. All of these events were preceded by the NOVENA—the word actually means NINE! The Apostles, as well as the Blessed Virgin Mary, spent nine days and nine nights in the Cenacle before the Holy Spirit descended upon them. What were they doing in those nine days? Deep prayer, silence, and fasting were their activities, resulting in the descent of the Holy Spirit.
MARY’S PRESENCE. Of the greatest importance in the coming of the Holy Spirit was the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit delights in the presence of Mary. Actually, Mary is known as the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Mary is the Queen of the Apostles and the Mother of the Church. On Pentecost the Church was born, facilitated by the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For that reason, Saint Louis de Montfort claims: The soul that loves Mary, the Holy Spirit flings Himself into that soul.
NOVENAS TO HONOR MARY. This being said, we would invite all of our readers and lovers of Mary to get into the habit of making the Novena in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is another special way in which we can pay our tribute and honor to Mary, as well as Jesus, because those who honor the Mother, will also honor the Son. Mary is the quickest, easiest, and most secure path to Jesus.
SAINT FAUSTINA AND THE NOVENA. In the Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Jesus strongly encourages Saint Faustina to offer Novenas. Of course the most renowned Novena in the writings of Saint Faustina is the Novena that starts on Good Friday and terminates on the Sunday after Easter, known as Mercy Sunday. This consists of certain specific prayers offered every day for the nine days.
NOVENA TO HONOR MARY. However, in addition to the Divine Mercy Novena, Saint Faustina had the custom or habit of making other Novenas, especially to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Among the most common Novenas in preparation for a Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary would be that of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, and also, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, which is now celebrated on August 15th—in the middle of August and the middle of summer! When we carry out these Novenas, the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is filled with joy. Not only that, but often the Blessed Virgin Mary would, and still will, grant very special graces either during the Novena, at the end of the Novena, or at times after the Novena. Never forget: God’s timing is not our timing. God’s time and clock ticks best!
HOW TO MAKE A NOVENA TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY? How true the saying: Variety is the spice of life! Indeed, there are many variations of how one can make a Novena. The key to making a successful Novena is simply to be faithful to whatever practices you decide to undertake for nine consecutive days. The key is faithfulness; not to skip any days!
WHAT THEN ARE THE PRACTICES THAT CAN BE UNDERTAKEN? There are many! We will offer a few!
1. NOVENA PRAYER. You can buy a Novena booklet in honor of Mary or even go on the Internet and find many prayers written in honor of Mary related to the event, occasion, or Marian Feast day. Simply start the Novena nine days before the celebration and be faithful to your prayer.
2. ROSARY. If you are not yet in the habit of praying the most Holy Rosary, you might simply pray the most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary for nine consecutive days.
3. MARIAN LITANY. Another way that you can make the Novena is simply to pray one of the Litanies in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary for nine consecutive days. Pray it with fervor and love!
4. MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. Of course, of all the possible practices, of the greatest importance would be to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, participating fully, actively, and consciously for nine consecutive days. By far, the greatest action underneath the skies, is to receive Holy Communion in the Mass properly and reverently. Receive your Holy Communion through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that will be a well-received Holy Communion!
5. FASTING: SACRIFICE. In addition to prayers, the Rosary, Mass and Holy Communion, you might even decide to offer some form of fasting or sacrifice in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus said very clearly: “Some devils can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.” Your fast does not have to be very vigorous. Give up something small but do it with great love. Mary can take your little sacrifice offered with great love and use it for the salvation of souls. Jesus and Mary, more than anything else in the world, desire the conversion and salvation of souls—as many as possible!
6. THE MORE THE BETTER. Now if you really feel generous, you can do more than one of these practices. For example, for nine consecutive days, you might decide to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receive Holy Communion. Then after Holy Mass has been concluded, spend an extra 15-20 minutes praying the Rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Finally, you might add some small penance.
A final note for clarification! Even though it is most opportune and propitious to make the Novena to Mary before some Marian Solemnity, like the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8th) or the Assumption of Mary into Heaven (August 15th), you can make the Novena to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to Jesus, to the angels and the saints at any time, in any place, and in a wide variety of ways. The key is this: to value the importance of the Novena, propose to carry it out, and then be faithful to those practices during the course of nine consecutive days. Why not start today to make a Novena to Mary? You will fill the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God and your Heavenly Mother, with great joy!