Last weekend, when I realized our 25th wedding anniversary was nine days away, "Novena!" jumped into my mind.
I searched online for a novena of gratitude, but found nothing. I thought about praying (in thanksgiving) to the patron saint of happy marrianges. I found St. Valentine, but no novena, and he is so romanticized that he probably wouldn't have been my top choice anyway. Len looked over my shoulder at the list and suggested a novena to the Holy Family. Great idea! I added a beginning line of thanks for our sacramental marriage.
All the novenas I've seen include a petition. My inspiration was purely gratitude, but rather than rework the given prayer, Len and I have been praying for our children (6) and godchildren (11!). They are on my mind and heart daily, anyway.
We've almost finished (Tuesday is our big day!), but I must tell you about something beautiful. We almost bailed on this novena on the 2nd day. I came to bed much later than my sensible husband and felt rude demanding he turn the light back on to read and pray with me. I knew I would be disappointed, though, and so (not very graciously, I must admit) insisted we stick with it.
A day later I received a call from someone dear requesting prayers for one of our godchildren, especially over this weekend and Monday (the final days of our novena)! I'm so grateful we didn't quit! Not only are we praying for this child on the specially requested days, but also for the week leading up to them.
I often don't follow through with multiple days of prayer (novenas, O Antipons, Jesus tree, etc.), so this episode is one I'll remember to encourage me to "stick with it" in the future.