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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Number Nine, Number Nine....

I'm so sorry to have been absent for so long. For some reason quite a number of blogs here on this site were tagged as spam by robots and shut down. Then I had to type in the wavy numbers to prove I am not a robot. I got a message that said, "You are obviously not a robot since you are reading this message. Please be patient while the robots review your blog."

So I really am in the Matrix.

I had to offer it up. There are no people on this site to whom one can complain or plead their case. I just had to wait for two days until the robots okay'd my blog again. HO, HO, HO.

My cookies were really frosted, I don't mind telling you. We have a few more questions about novenas:

Sister, I think you are being a little hard on the would-be novena sayer. That's okay; nuns are supposed to be hard on people to keep them in line. But do you really think St. Anne will cover her ears and say "I'm not listening anymore" if she takes the novena up again on Monday instead of starting over? Maybe in the strictest sense you couldn't call it a bona fide "novena" anymore. But I think it could be a little scrupulous to think the prayer won't be effective. (Now I'm stuck with a funny mental image of St. Anne singing out "La la la la, I can't hear you!")

That's not what I said at all. I said stopping the novena because it slips your mind is like putting St. Anne on hold. For two days, no less. Who do you think you are, the IRS? Seriously, how rude.

A novena is a nine day commitment. Praying to St. Anne for five days, and then stopping for two, and then starting up again is simply praying to St. Anne for five days and then stopping and then starting up again. I'm sure St. Anne is fine with it; she probably has some sewing to do while she is on hold. But it is not a novena.

Dear Sister, I have some additional questions regarding novenas. Is it ok to say them to multiple saints at the same time for the same problem? What about simultaneous novenas for different issues? Thanks!

Are worried the saints will find out? Afraid they'll be talking over coffee and suddenly realize that you are praying to all of them for the same thing?

You'll be responsible for the next war in heaven.

I'm sure it's okay. Go for it. If you are like the person who wrote the original question, you are going to need some more post it notes and some string to tie around your thumb. Maybe you should make some type of chart.

Sister, a novena-related question: I remember one of my friends saying with great conviction, "I KNOW I'm going straight to heaven --I made my Nine First Fridays!" I think that she was referring to attending Mass and receiving communion on the first Friday of every month for nine months in a row. It seems like a sort of very long novena. Would you please tell us more about that devotion? Or was she just making it up?

The poor thing. She is not making that up, but she is struggling under a very silly misconception.

A novena can indeed be nine first Fridays. It is a very long novena (and you have to actually leave your house), which is why it has a very special indulgence attached to it. That 'get out of purgatory free' card is only good, however, for the sins she has already committed. If she walks out of the Mass on the ninth First Friday in that ninth month with her soul full of grace and her brand new indulgence and steps right into the path of the Number Two bus, she will indeed go to heaven.

But, if on her way out the door, she entertains some mean thoughts about her neighbor, or starts planning a robbery, she is back to square one. For her to believe that her nine First Fridays novena is good for life is wrong. As soon as she sins again, bam! She's back in the Purgatory pokey.

LOL. Now I feel like should go pray a novena. Is there one for parents whose children don't want to be homeschooled? A moody 13 year old boy at that.

Of course there is: St. Monica, the patron saint of mothers of teens. She had to deal with no less than St. Augustine during his party animal days. It all worked out fine for her and for him.

Apparently Spanish parliament is passing a law that gives monkeys human rights. Sister, does this mean we can have simian saints?

Oh boy, don't get me started. We'll have to come back to this on Monday....


Anonymous said...

So what good book were you reading that you couldn't put down? I'm really low on reading material and would love to add some good books to my list. Can you tell us a few of your favorites when you have time?

Soutenus said...

I am sooo glad you are back! I was getting worried. I missed you. God bless!

Jade Dunlop said...

Sister, could you give me some information on St. Margaret D'Youville? Her feast day is on my birthday and she's a Canadian, like me! I'd like to get to know her better.

Anonymous said...

Sister, thanks for answering my Matrix question! But I have another one. On my window sill, we keep all kinds of medications. We have two different bran bottles labeled "St. John's Wort". At first I thought, what has St. John got to do with worts? But they are mood enhancers. So is St. John a saint of mood enhancement? (I'm guessing the St. John's Wort is a plant, but I'm still so confusd)

Anonymous said...

Ok, This is the original novena lady, who cannot figure out how to register to leave comments with my name on them by the way, though I did figure out how to get my prayers said on the weekends. There's always a way to do things if you priortize correctly. It's just that I live with Baptists. They figure once you've been baptized, you are home free for life--even if you you live like Jack the Ripper. Yes, I did ask the pastor that exact question. Don't ask me where it is in the Bible. I was too floored to ask at that point. Anyway, they don't spend time praying, except for sick people, since they don't believe in Purgatory. Will they be surprised!

Is there a patron saint for pie bakers? We're having a pie sale this weekend, and I'd like to suggest to the CCW on Wednesday that we pray for it in earnest. We're tryng to expand the church as the basement, loft and narthex are all full at Mass. People are being amazingly generous, but a few fundraisers should help as well.

Also, how about a saint for people in rest homes? And a saint for people with power of attorney for them who I don't agree with? Long story. Serious prayer needed here.

Thanks for your straightforward advice. You're wonderful!

bill7tx said...

According to Wikipedia, "The common name [of St. John's wort] comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John's day, 24 June."

It's also known as Tipton's Weed or Klamath Weed. Probably, for medicinal marketing purposes, St. John's Wort has a better ring to it. (Besides, there are a LOT of St. John's.)

Anonymous said...

I've always considered it a little selfish to keep a plenary indulgence for oneself...

Anonymous said...

Dear Jez, St. John's Wort is a plant, hypericum perforatum, with a yellow blossom that blooms around St. John's Day (i.e. near the end of June). It seems to act as an anti-depressant, possibly by making people more sensitive to sunlight. (Seasonal depression is caused by lower levels of daylight in winter.) "Wort" is a mediaeval word related to the Old English word for "root," but it generally refers to herbs used medicinally.

Anonymous said...

I am the only Catholic in my family and I'm starting to suspect the only Christian. I am praying for the conversion of my family, but there are so many of them and only one of me ... so I could use some help. Which saint would you recommend I turn to?

Anonymous said...

Line: seek the help and prayers of Mary, Help of Christians.

As for your family, if they were baptized with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, then they are valid Christians.

But that doesn't mean they are living lives of virtue, or have nothing to repent of.

Chinga said...

Is it proper to pray more than one novenas, even for the same purpose, every day?