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A Unique Novena: Weekly Message for 07-09-2019
Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, Pax Christi:
We want to be – and help others to be – creative evangelizers. That’s one value at the very heart of everything we do here at RCSpirituality. By “evangelizers” we simply mean we are always seeking ways to help people find Christ more easily, know him more deeply, and follow him more and more closely. By “creative” we simply mean we are always stirring up the pot to find new and more effective ways to do that. Our upcoming St. Mary Magdalene Novena is a good example.
Traditional novenas put previously composed vocal prayers within our reach for a specified period of time (usually nine days; “novena” comes from the Latin word for “nine”). The idea of vocal prayer (using someone else’s words to pray) is straightforward: by using the words of a prayer composed by someone else, we align our hearts and minds with the meaning behind those words, and in that way, we connect to the Lord. Favorite vocal prayers, including at times favorite traditional novenas, are a staple of any lively spiritual diet. St. John Paul II, for example, had a special fondness for litanies.
But in our evermore secularized and materialistic world, vocal prayers can easily lose their resonance. So we thought about coming up with a different kind of novena. Jennifer Ristine, a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi, has spent the last few years of her life ministering to pilgrims in Magdala, Galilee. She has had a unique opportunity to dig deeply into the history and spirituality of that Gospel location, and of the most famous person connected with it – St. Mary Magdalene.
Jennifer has not only written a book about the spiritual experience of St. Mary Magdalene (Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala) and how we all can be enriched by it. She has also composed our upcoming original novena (you can sign up for the novena here), which uses narrative and descriptive language – almost like a story – to bring us pray-ers inside the mind and the heart of St. Mary Magdalene. Following along this particular novena, therefore, will help us get to know this intriguing saint more personally. That will bring the Gospel alive for us in a fresh, unexpected way.
That’s the kind of thing we mean by being, and helping others to be, “creative evangelizers.” There is always more to discover and experience in our journey with Christ. So let’s keep discovering and experiencing.
In the midst of summer, I want to finish by offering a special thanks to all of you digital missionaries who not only make good use of the resources we offer but also support us spiritually and financially so we can continue living our creative evangelizing mission. We pray for you every day.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Fr John Bartunek, LC