Religiously, The ‘four calling birds’ are the Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; or their Gospels. Let us ask these champions of the Gospels today to help us in our relationship with that most important person in our lives…..our husbands.
My family and I love to say this novena each year in preparation for Advent. We offer the intention as a family intention, one we wish to gain for the family as a whole, and also a private intention, one that each one of us would like to gain like a particular virtue or help in fighting against a vice.
Because the prayer is longer than nine (9) days, and not quite 27, it’s technically not a novena or a set of novenas, but, because it is prayed ‘novena style’, that is, repeatedly for a set amount of days, it is referred to as a novena.
In my family, we have found that we remember to say the novena best when we attach it to our daily Rosary. We set the slips of paper that we have written or printed the prayer out on next to our Rosary bowl. I do know other families say this novena with their grace before dinner while they light the candles as part of their Advent wreath prayers.
The prayer can be said at anytime during the day, but if you have a regular time the whole family is together like for the Rosary, morning/night prayers, or at meals, it might be a good idea to say the novena at a set, regular time.
Imagine a child who loves you…he is willing to do just about anything in his power to please you.
NOW imagine the Christ-Child. He too is willing to do just about anything for you. Everything is in His power to do and to give, as long as the petitioned favor isn’t contrary to what Our Lord deems necessary for your eternal salvation. This is an important caveat that I have trouble remembering! 😉
In this Advent season of preparing for Christ’s coming, the St Andrew Christmas Novena is a loving way to prepare ourselves and our families.
St Andrew holds the honor of being the first apostle to be called by Christ to follow Him.
This novena is a bit different in that it does not invoke the intervention or aid of the saint himself, but is adoring, glorifying the hour of Christ’s birth and seeking aid from God Himself!
The novena is begun on the Feast of Saint Andrew, November 30th, and is said thru Christmas Eve, December 24th.
Hail and Blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
Recite 15 times per day. It is permitted to break it up and pray 5x’s in the morning, afternoon and evening, but for the sake of missing one of the times and forgetting, I prefer to say them all at once.
Prepare for Miracles!
I made this Advent Chaplet to keep track of your 15 Christmas Novena prayers. It has a lovely brass crucifix, is durable and wire-wrapped to last for many Advents to come! Limited quantity. 🙂 Included is a laminated prayer card with the novena prayer on it. If you are interested go to Meadows of Grace.
Many persons fail to make a distinction between the presence of God in their souls and the consciousness of this adorable presence, between faith and the sensible feeling of faith.
This shows a great want of discernment. When they do not realize God’s presence dwelling within them, they suppose He has withdrawn himself through some fault of theirs.
This is an ignorant and hurtful error. A man who endures martyrdom for love of God does not think actually and exclusively of God but much of his own sufferings; and yet the absence of this feeling of faith does not deprive him of the great merit due to his faith and the resolutions it caused him to make and to keep.
Your vocal prayers should be few in number but said with great fervor. The strength derived from food does not depend upon the quantity taken but upon its being well digested.
Far better one Our Father or one Psalm said with devout attention than entire rosaries and long offices recited hurriedly and with restless eagerness.
If you feel whilst saying vocal prayers—those not of obligation—that God invites you to meditate, gently and promptly follow this divine impulse.
You may be sure that in doing so you make an exchange most profitable to yourself and agreeable to God from whom the inspiration comes.
Prepare yourself for prayer by peaceful recollection and begin it without agitation or uneasiness.
St. Francis de Sales has this to say on the subject: “Some little time before you are going to pray, calm and compose your heart, and be hopeful of doing well; for if you begin without hope and already devoid of relish, you will find it difficult to regain an appetite…. The disquiet you experience in prayer, accompanied by great eagerness to discover some object that can fix and satisfy your thoughts, is of itself sufficient to prevent you finding what you seek.
When a thing is searched for with too great eagerness, one may have his hands or his eyes almost upon it a hundred times and yet fail to perceive it. This vain and useless anxiety in regard to prayer can result in nothing but weariness of mind, and this in turn produces coldness and apathy in your soul.”
Be careful not to overburden yourself with too many prayers, either mental or vocal. As soon as you feel uncontrollable weariness or distaste, postpone your prayers, if possible, and seek relief in some pleasant pastime, or conversation, or in any other innocent diversion.
This advice is given by St. Thomas and other learned Fathers of the Church and is of the utmost importance. Follow it conscientiously, for lassitude of mind begets coldness and a kind of spiritual stupor.
Never repeat a prayer, even should you have said it with many distractions. You cannot imagine the innumerable difficulties in which you may become entangled by the habit of repeating your prayers. Therefore I beg of you not to do it.
*In St. Ignatius’ time there was a certain religious of the Society of Jesus who was a victim of this kind of scruple. The recital of the daily Office always kept him much longer than was necessary because he would repeat again and again and for hours at a time any passage that he suspected had not been said with sufficient attention.
St. Ignatius tried to correct him by various means, but in vain. At length the thought occurred that one scruple might be cured by another.
He therefore commanded the poor Jesuit, under pain of sin and in virtue of religious obedience, to close his breviary every day at the end of a specified time, this being just enough to allow him to read the Office through once and rather quickly.
The first day the religious was obliged to stop before he had half finished. This caused him such intense regret that ere long the fear of not being able to say the entire Office made him contract the habit of finishing it within the allotted time.
* Begin your prayer with the desire of being very recollected. This is all that is necessary. “A desire has the same value in the sight of God as a good work”, says St. Gregory the Great, “when the accomplishment of it does not depend upon our will.”
During these involuntary distractions God withdraws the sensible feeling of His presence, but His love remains in the depths of our hearts. St. Theresa, in the midst of dryness and distractions, was wont to say: “If I am not praying I am at least doing penance.”
I should say: you are doing both the one and the other: you do penance by all that you are suffering, you pray by the desire and intention you have to do so.
You should never repeat a prayer nor a point in your meditation even if you have had in the inferior portion of your soul ideas and feelings at variance with the words pronounced by your lips or with the sentiments you wished to excite in your heart.
Nay, do not be induced to do it, even were these ideas and feelings injurious to God. Under such conditions, be careful not to give way to anxiety and agitation and do not try to make reparation for an imaginary offense.
Continue your prayer in peace as if nothing had disturbed it, not taking the trouble to notice these dogs that come from the devil and that can bark around you while you pray in order to distract you, if may be, but that cannot bite you unless you let them.
“This temptation should be treated exactly the same as temptations of the flesh: do not dispute with it at all, rather imitate the children of Israel who made no attempt to break the bones of the paschal lamb but cast them into the fire.
You need not answer the enemy, nor even pretend to hear what he says. Let the wretch clamor at the door as much as he wants to, it is not even necessary to call: Who is there? What you tell me is no doubt true, you say, but he annoys me and the uproar he makes prevents those within from hearing one another speak.
That makes no difference. Have patience, prostrate yourself before God and remain at his feet. He will understand from your very attitude, although you utter no words, that you are his and that you crave his help.
Above all, however, keep yourself well within and do not on any account open the door, either to see who it is, or to drive the importunate fellow away. Eventually he will tire of shouting and will leave you in peace.”
St. Augustine says that the devil is a formidable giant to those who fear him, but only a miserable dwarf to those who despise him.
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I am going to show you a secret to holiness and happiness.
For five minutes every day let your imagination be quiet, close your eyes to everything they see, and shut your ears to of all the world’s noise so that you can withdraw into the sanctuary of your baptized soul, the temple of the Holy Ghost.
And speak to that Holy Spirit and say to Him:
“Holy Spirit, soul of my soul, I adore Thee.
Enlighten me, guide me,
strengthen and comfort me.
Tell me what I ought to do and order me to do it.
I promise to submit to anything that Thou requirest from me,
and to accept everything that Thou allowest to happen to me.
Just show me what Thy will is.”
If you do this your life will be quiet and peaceful,
and comfort will abound even in the middle of troubles.
For grace will be given to match any stress together with strength to bear it, grace that will take you to the gates of Paradise, full of merit. Such submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of holiness.
In my estimation, this prayer about covers it all! If we have the earnest desire to become a better wife that this prayer asks for, we are on the road to a brighter future!
“Lord, Help me to be a good wife. I fully realize that I don’t have what it takes to be one without Your help. Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things. Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation. Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy. I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment. Only You can transform me.
“Show me where there is sin in my heart, especially with regard to my husband. I confess the times I’ve been unloving, critical, angry, resentful, disrespectful, or unforgiving toward him. Help me to put aside any hurt, anger, or disappointment I feel and forgive him the way You do–totally and completely, no looking back. Make me a tool of reconciliation, peace, and healing in this marriage. Enable us to communicate well.
“Make me my husband’s helpmate, companion, champion, friend, and support. Help me to create a peaceful, restful, safe place for him to come home to. Teach me how to take care of myself and stay attractive to him. Grow me into a creative and confident woman who is rich in mind, soul, and spirit. Make me the kind of woman he can be proud to say is his wife.
I lay all my expectations at Your cross. I release my husband from the burden of fulfilling me in areas where I should be looking to You. Help me to accept him the way he is and not try to change him. I realize that in some ways he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could. I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect and never will be. Only You, Lord, are perfect and I look to You to perfect us.
Teach me how to pray for my husband and make my prayers a true language of love. Where love has died, create new love between us. Show me what unconditional love really is and how to communicate it in a way he can clearly perceive. Bring unity between us so that we can be in agreement about everything. May the God of patience and comfort grant us to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus. Make us a team, not pursuing separate, competitive, or independent lives, but working together, overlooking each other’s faults and weaknesses for the greater good of the marriage. Help us to pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. May we be ‘perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment’.
“I pray that our commitment to You and to one another will grow stronger and more passionate every day. Enable him to be the head of the home as You made him to be, and show me how to support and respect him as he rises to that place of leadership. Help me to understand his dreams and see things from his perspective. Reveal to me what he wants and needs and show me potential problems before they arise. Breathe Your life into this marriage.
“Make me a new person, Lord. Give me a fresh perspective, a positive outlook, and a renewed relationship with the man You’ve given me. Help me see him with new eyes, new appreciation, new love, new compassion, and new acceptance. Give my husband a new wife, and let it be me.”
It was one of those normal days…. housework, homeschooling, and the usual hubbub of grandchildren.
Vincent had been at work and came home late.
Now my husband is known for his charity. It exceeds the norm and the rest of us tremble when he comes up with his next venture in kindness. This was one of those trembling times.
I really struggle at times like this. I know God expects us to go the extra mile. But what about my kids…..!!!???
I uncomfortably agree to him staying in the addition (which is attached to the house) for a couple of days. And so that is what he does.
He eventually finds his way to an apartment and hubby employs him. This guy has had a rough past, that is for sure. You really have to wonder if this is going to be the time when he really gives it all up.
Hubby is hopeful, I am skeptical.
In the meantime, we have some good times with him. He plays volleyball with us, eats with us and just chews the fat with all of us as we sit around visiting.
One day we were talking. I don’t know if he was telling us about his own relationship with his deceased wife or if we were just talking about relationships in general. Our friend said something that has resonated with me since then. It was very profound and has depths of meaning in it.
It could really be a motto for any husband or wife. He said, “Do you want to be RIGHT? Or do you want to be HAPPY?”
How often through the years I have had to live by this motto.
It’s called overcoming your pride.
When we’re having one of our differences and he is really getting under my skin and I know my point of view makes more sense 🙂 , I have to ask myself, “Do I want to be right? Or do I want to be happy?”
We can stew about stuff, give him the silent treatment and wait for him to apologize (I don’t. It doesn’t work) but really when it comes right down to it….we want to be happy.
The differences we are experiencing don’t matter as much as loving one another…as keeping that friendliness and intimacy that is so important between husband and wife.
So we need to swallow our pride and apologize. Or if we have nothing to apologize for, just try to forget it and let him know you love him.
And things are so much better.
It is not worth it. Get over yourself and learn some humility….
As for our friend, he stuck around for about 6 months. Vincent gave him his small truck and he got it impounded because he returned to his life of drinking. Last I heard he was evicted from his apartment and has moved on.
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…
O merciful Lord God, who in the beginning didst take Eve out of the side of Adam and didst give her to him as a helpmate: grant me grace to live worthy of the honorable estate of matrimony to which Thou hast called me, that I may love my husband with a pure and chaste love, acknowledging him as my head, and truly reverencing and obeying him in all good things; that thereby I may please him, and live with him in all Christian serenity.
Keep me from all worldliness and vanity. Help me, O Lord, that I may, under him, prudently and discreetly guide and govern his household.
Let no fault of mine aggravate any sins by which he may be especially tempted; enable me to soothe him in perplexity, to cheer him in difficulty, to refresh him in weariness, and, as far as may be, to advise him in doubt.
Give me understanding so to fulfill my part in the education of our children, that they may be our joy in this world and our glory in the next.
Grant that our perfect union here may be the beginning of the still more perfect and blissful union hereafter in Thy kingdom; and this I pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-from Catholic Online
O Jesus, lover of the young, the dearest Friend I have, in all confidence I open my heart to You to beg Your light and assistance in the important task of planning my future.
O Mary Immaculate, sweet Mother of the young, to your special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future husband. You are my guiding Star!
Direct me to the man with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love and harmony in this life, and attain to eternal joys in the next.
-from Catholic Online
Father VanderPutten has been assigned to Nigeria and has been waiting for his visa to come through since January. It has finally come through and he will be leaving us July 10th for at least 3 years!
We ask for prayers for him. We have heard of the unrest in Nigeria and it makes us nervous for him, though he isn’t phased by it.
This is a picture of Father with his youngest sister, Sister Marie Hosanna from the Dominican Order. It was taken a few years back.
Keep them, I pray Thee dearest Lord.
Keep them, for they are Thine …
Thy priests whose lives burn out before
Thy consecrated shrine
Keep them, for they are in the world,
Though from the world apart.
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure,
Shelter them in Thy Heart.
In the hours of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice
For souls seems but in vain.
Keep them and O remember, Lord
They have no one but Thee
Yet they have only human hearts,
With human frailty.
I pray Thee for thy faithful and fervent priest,
For the unfaithful and tepid priest,
For the young priest, the dying priest,
For the priests who gave me the sacraments
Keep them as spotless as the Host,
That daily they caress;
Deign dear Lord every thought,
Word and deed, to bless. Amen