This weekend marks the beginning of the 9 week Novena in thanksgiving for the beatification of John Paul II. Our Novena will be dedicated for the intention of families. John Paul II was concerned much about families. He prayed for families and always had encouraged families to be faithful to God’s plan of salvation. In our Novena we will read John Paul’s words regarding family and then offer a short prayer. The Novena will be prayed after each Sunday Mass. We encourage you to pray it at home, too.
WEEK ONE – Family Prayer:
Words of John Paul II: Prayer makes the Son of God present among us: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20). It is significant that precisely in and through prayer, man comes to discover in a very simple and yet profound way his own unique subjectivity: in prayer the human “I” more easily perceives the depth of what it means to be a person. This is also true of the family, which is not only the basic “cell” of society, but also possesses a particular subjectivity of its own. In the solemn nuptial blessing during the Rite of Marriage, the celebrant calls upon the Lord in these words: “Pour out upon them 1 the grace of the Holy Spirit so that by your love poured into their hearts they will remain faithful in the marriage covenant”. This “visitation” of the Holy Spirit gives rise to the inner strength of families, as well as the power capable of uniting them in love and truth. Prayer should first of all be an encouraging witness on the part of those families who live out their human and Christian vocation in the communion of the home. Experience shows what an important role is played by a family living in accordance with the moral norm, so that the individual born and raised in it will be able to set out without hesitation on the road of the good, which is always written in his heart. Unfortunately various programs backed by very powerful resources nowadays seem to aim at the breakdown of the family. At times it appears that concerted efforts are being made to present as “normal” and attractive, and even to glamorize, situations which are in fact “irregular”. Indeed, they contradict “the truth and love” which should inspire and guide relationships between men and women, thus causing tensions and divisions in families, with grave consequences particularly for children. The moral conscience becomes darkened; what is true, good and beautiful is deformed; and freedom is replaced by what is actually enslavement. In view of all this, how relevant and thought-provoking are the words of the Apostle Paul about the freedom for which Christ has set us free, and the slavery which is caused by sin (cf. Gal 5:1)! It is apparent then how indispensable is the witness of all families who live their vocation day by day; how urgent it is for families to pray and for that prayer to increase and to spread throughout the world, expressing thanksgiving for love in truth, for “the outpouring of the grace of the Holy Spirit”, for the presence among parents and children of Christ the Redeemer and Bridegroom, who “loved us to the end”. At Cana in Galilee, where Jesus was invited to a marriage banquet, his Mother, also present, said to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Now that we have begun our celebration of the Year of the Family, Mary says the same words to us. What Christ tells us, in this particular moment of history, constitutes a forceful call to a great prayer with families and for families. The Virgin Mother invites us to unite ourselves through this prayer to the sentiments of her Son, who loves each and every family. He expressed this love at the very beginning of his mission as Redeemer, with his sanctifying presence at Cana in Galilee, a presence which still continues. PRAYER: Almighty God, we give thanks to you for your great gift to the Church of Christ in the person of John Paul II, whom we will call Blessed in a very short while. May his teachings enlighten our minds, may he transform our doubts into faith, may he form our families in love, and may the example of his life and his love for the Savior, which we desire to imitate, bring all of us into closer union with you. We ask this through your Son, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen. OUR FATHER… Glory Be to the Father….