Praised be Jesus Christ! Some years ago a distraught mother sought spiritual assistance because her son was sick to the point of being at death's door. She stopped at the Benedictine monastery and begged the monk who answered the door to pray a novena for her son; she promised him keys to a new Lexus if he would only promise to pray. The confused Benedictine asked, "What's a Lexus?" Determined to make this work, the mother zipped over to the Franciscan residence and promised the Friar who came to the door the same prize: keys to a new Lexus if you'll only pray a novena for my son. Once again, her generous offer was met with a quizzical look and the question, "What's a Lexus?" Finally, exasperated by the circumstances, the mother stopped by the Jesuit house and promised the priest who opened the door, "PII give you these keys to a brand new Lexus if you'll just agree to pray this novena for my dying son." The Jesuit looked embarrassed, but nervously asked, "What's a novena?" With all due respect to the Jesuits (and I owe them a lot as I attended one of their universities while I was in Rome, not to mention all the incredible saints that come from their order: e.g. St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, St. Stanislaus Kostka, and Blessed Miguel Pro, just to name a few), a novena is a prayer that is offered for nine consecutive days as a concerted effort to grow closer to knowing and doing God's will. One of the best novenas I've come across recently was sent by Bishop David Ricken, the Bishop of Green Bay. He shared a novena prayer to Our Lady of Good Help and at the end of this article | will share it with you. The Blessed Mother appeared to Sister Adele in 1859 and there is now a Shrine commemorating this amazing apparition near Champion, a small town about 15 minutes East of Green Bay. As you know, the idea of novenas came from the 9 days that the Apostles and the Blessed Mother spent praying in anticipation of receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. I have been somewhat negligent in putting novenas in the bulletin because they are here and gone before I get myself organized. Well, in this new year of Our Lord 2018 I promise to do a better job. Now please make it worth the effort by actually praying the novenas that I post! For the record, l'Il be making my annual retreat this week and will be spending Monday-Friday at a priest guest house attached to the Carmelites in Denmark, Wisconsin. Each day II be praying for you and if you'd remember me in your prayers, 'll come back a holier priest (friends tell me there's only one way to go for me). Without further ado, here's the Novena to Our Lady of Good Help: O Dear Lady of Good Help, you revealed yourself as the Queen of Heaven to your servant Adele. You gave her a mission to pray for the conversion of sinners, to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to others and to prepare the children for the reception of the sacraments. I trust that as you called Adele to holiness, you are calling me, in my station in life, to live a holy life, devoted to Jesus Christ with the help of your maternal love. I bring before you now my worries and anxieties. I abandon my attachments to them and place them at your feet. I ask you to hear the deepest longings of my heart as I pray most earnestly for: (Your Intention). Dear Lady, you told Adele and you say to all of us, Do not be afraid; I will help you.' Help me now as I place this intention with complete confidence and trust. Amen." (You may wish to add and Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be). Please note that even if you pray this novena for me, keys to a relatively new Ford Focus are not on the table!
May God convince us of the power of intercessory prayer!
Your friend in Christ,