In the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults the Glossary (page 521) states: Novena: Nine days of prayer, usually invoking the intercession of the Virgin Mary or a saint. The novena traces its development to the scriptural nine days of prayer by Mary, the Apostles, and disciples asking for the gift of the Holy Spirit after the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Original Novena
When Jesus ascended into heaven he promised to send his Advocate. He told the dismayed disciples: "...John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." He also said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Juseaand...to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:4,8) While they waited for the arrival of the Advocate and the power he would bring, the Apostles and disciples gathered in the Upper Room for prayer. The Acts of the Apostles tells us, "All these (Apostles and disciples) were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus...". After the nine days, a "Novena," of prayer from seemingly orphaned or abandoned friends of Jesus, the promise Jesus gave was fulfilled: "And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit...". We know how with a new vigor, love and courage the Apostles and disciples immerged from the Upper Room to start the fire of evangelization which still burns today.