Thursday, June 20, 2019

Novena Season- Summer 2019

It's novena season! Pentecost came late this year since Easter was so late, so I just recently finished the novena to the Holy Spirit (the original novena) right as my school year ended. The weekend of Pentecost and the first weekend of my summer I spent in DC, an old and special stomping ground for me. As Pentecost is a celebration of the birthday of the early Church, I was in DC to celebrate. I had a friend who after many years of study, finally received his doctorate from Yale, and another friend who was celebrating her 40th birthday.

 God brought this lovely lady into my life after I had left the convent and she had just broken off an engagement of her own. We worked together for about 2 years before I started teaching and even though we don't see each other often, those roots from that time in our lives run deep!
These folks became ride or dies after my time in the convent as well. All of us are teachers, CUA grads, and perhaps the sassiest people you will ever meet. 

My love for Pentecost is documented on this blog almost every year because there have been times in my life when I felt extreme moves of the Spirit. This year, I also felt the movement of the Spirit, but in much smaller, but no less important ways. Being with these folks above (and also staying with and spending time with two other friends equally important to me but not pictured) reminded me of the good work that God has done and is still doing in my life. He has called me to work for the Church in so many different capacities and many of the folks I reunited with over this celebratory weekend have been a part of that and called to serve God and His Church in their own ways. Some of the ways have been big- I recently reunited with a friend who has opened her own art collective. One of the fellows pictured above graduated with a doctorate from Yale! Another wrote a book! God hasn't been calling me in big ways like that right now, but I know that I am happy and content because I am not envious of my friends who are doing big things. I am genuinely happy and proud of them. And I am certainly glad and grateful to call these fabulous people friends!

My summer this year doesn't include much gallivanting which is usually my claim to fame as well. Since I made the trip to the Holy Land earlier this year, that kind of covered my big, glamorous international travel for the year. I will be making a little retreat to Asheville, NC and then Savannah, GA next week- two places I have been told that I will love- so I look forward to exploring my own corner of the world a little bit.

In addition to travel, this is the time of year when I prepare for another important feast in my life: the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. My annual novena to St. Paul starts today! Typically, I am in some exotic place when the novena to St. Paul ends: Prague, Lisbon, and Salvation Mountain, CA (can't make this stuff up!) have been locations in the recent past. I will be in NC at this time next week and I have no idea what St. Paul will have in store.

 Today's first reading was from 2nd Corinthians where Paul is basically begging them to get themselves together and get on the right track in terms of their faith in the Lord. I love Paul for many reasons, but his passion to educate and evangelize about Christ is certainly tops. 
Before the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on the 29th, however, is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 28th. It might be weird that I am praying two novenas at one time, especially since all of my prayers are entrusted to Jesus anyways, but I also have started the novena to the Sacred Heart. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began in France when Christ appeared to St. Margaret Mary and told her to tell others to devote themselves to His Heart. When I was in the Arlington Diocese, the bishop at that time started a movement to increase our devotion to the Sacred Heart. We were given images to have blessed and put in our homes. He wrote a document about the devotion and gave it to people in the diocese as well. I currently am a parishioner at a parish named for the Sacred Heart. Even though I am entrusting Paul to bring my prayers to Jesus, why not also consult the Man Himself, right? I am reminded that Christ is always knocking on the doors of our hearts. There is that saying and image that we used often in our retreats during my time with NET Ministries:
We literally had a talk we would use called: Open Wide the Doors to Christ. It is an image that I haven't thought a lot about in a while, but I am reminded of it as I meditate on Christ's Sacred Heart this month. 

The door image and the "knocking on our hearts" can go two ways. This image shows Christ wanting us to let Him into our "homes" and our lives. I can certainly use this image to help me this summer. Even though I have been called to open my heart to Christ in many ways in my life, there are still times where it shuts a little. And I believe by praying these novenas this month, I am knocking on Christ's door as well (aka "listen to me! Please!" :). It is a mutual desire to visit and listen to one another, which is a pretty beautiful image to think and meditate on.

I pray that everyone has a blessed summer, no matter what big or little things are going on in our lives. And if anyone would like to join me in this Novena to the Sacred Heart or Novena to St. Paul, you should find them in those links.

Happy Summer and Blessed "Novena Season" :)