Novena in thanksgiving for the life of Blessed John Paul II
This was Totus2us's 1st novena and was prompted by the providential gift of the 5th anniversary of JPII's death being on Good Friday in 2010. There is a new novena to Blessed John Paul II in preparation for his 1st feast day on 22nd October 2011.
All the Ave Marias are sung by Anna Johnstone.
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The quote from Blessed John Paul II is different each day but the daily prayers are:
O Lord Jesus Christ, you are our future and our hope, in you we live and love and work.
Make us witnesses of your Word, mirrors of your goodness, friends for each other, light in the darkness, comfort for those suffering and a place of grace for all who seek your face, O Lord. (by JPII)
O Blessed Trinity, we thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the Cross of Christ,
and the splendour of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.
Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life
and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.
"We must not fall into the error of evaluating our lives solely on the basis of tangible results. No life is without value. The simple things of life, daily work in cooperation with others, the kindness of those who help their neighbours and appreciation on the part of those who are helped - these are facts that possess great importance in the light of the life of Jesus, transforming us into witnesses of the Good News.
That is the extraordinary thing which saturates the hidden divine force, the force that enables us to flourish wherever we are sown. We are called on to be great in small things. It is also the attitude of Mary, who at the angel's announcement said: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word."
We must look for gold in the earth that is under our feet, which means to value the life that the Lord has allotted us."
"It is precisely because I have experienced suffering that I am able to repeat the words of St Paul with even great conviction: "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Dear friends, no force or power exists that can separate you from God's love. Illness and suffering seem contradictory to what is important for man and what man desires. And yet no malady, no weakness, no infirmity can deprive you of your dignity as children of God, as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
By dying on the Cross, Christ reveals to us the meaning of our suffering. In His Passion we find the encouragement and strength to avoid every temptation to bitterness and, through pain, to grow into a new life. Suffering is an invitation to be like the Son by doing the will of the Father. We are offered the opportunity to imitate Christ, who died to redeem mankind from sin. Thus the Father wished suffering to enrich the individual and the whole Church."
"Christ is with us: this certainty spreads immense peace and profound joy in our hearts. We know we can count on him here and everywhere, now and forever. He is the friend who understands us and supports us in our dark moments, because he is the "man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief." He is the traveling companion who restores warmth to our hearts, enlightening us with the treasures of wisdom contained in the Scriptures. He is the living bread that came down from Heaven, who can light in our mortal flesh the spark of the life that does not die.
Let us therefore resume our journey with renewed energy. The Holy Virgin shows us the way. Like the luminous morning star, she shines before the eyes of our faith, "that sign of sure hope and consolation, until the day of the Lord shall arrive." Pilgrims in this "vale of tears", we sigh to her: "After this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!"
"It is also my hope that, after you have made the discernment of the essential and important questions for you youth, for the plan of the whole life that lies before you, you will experience what the Gospel means when it says: "Jesus, looking upon him, loved him". May you experience a look like that! May you experience the truth that he, Christ, looks upon you with love!
He looks with love upon every human being. The Gospel confirms this at every step. One can also say that this "loving look" of Christ contains, as it were, a summary and synthesis of the entire Good News. If we would seek the beginning of this look, we must turn back to the Book of Genesis, to that instant when, after the creation of man "male and female", God saw that "it was very good". That very first look of the Creator is reflected in the look of Christ which accompanies his conversation with the young man in the Gospel.
We know that Christ will confirm and seal this look with the redemptive Sacrifice of the Cross, because precisely by means of this Sacrifice that "look' reached a particular depth of love. In it is contained an affirmation of man and of humanity such as only he is capable of - Christ the Redeemer and Bridegroom. Only he "knows what is in every man": he knows man's weakness, but he also and above all knows his dignity."
"Suffering is an impenetrable mystery and so it is often difficult for us to understand, and to accept. The person who is afflicted by illness, or by any other sort of suffering, often wonders Why must I endure this pain? And almost immediately asks another question: Why, what is the meaning of this suffering? Not finding an answer, he is despondent, because the suffering becomes stronger than he is. Suffering is not a punishment for sins, nor is it God’s response to man’s evil. It can be understood only and exclusively in the light of God’s love, which is the ultimate meaning of everything that exists in this world. Suffering “is linked to love” – as I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris – “to that love of which Christ spoke to Nicodemus, to that love which creates good, drawing it out by means of suffering, just as the supreme good of the redemption of the world was drawn from the Cross of Christ, and from that Cross constantly takes its beginning. In it we must also pose anew the question about the meaning of suffering, and read in it, to its very depths, the answer to this question.
In sickness, or in any other suffering, we must abandon ourselves to the love of God, like a child who entrusts everything he holds most dear to those who love him, especially his parents. Thus we need the capacity that children have to entrust ourselves to the One who is love."
"Listening to Christ and worshipping Him leads us to make courageous choices, to take what are sometimes heroic decisions. Jesus is demanding, because He wishes our genuine happiness. He calls some to give up everything to follow Him in the priestly or consecrated life. Those who hear this invitation must not be afraid to say "yes" and to generously set about following Him as His disciples. But in addition to vocations to special forms of consecration there is also the specific vocation of all baptised Christians: that is also a vocation to that "high standard" of ordinary Christian living which is expressed in holiness (cf Novo Millennio Ineunte). When we meet Christ and accept His Gospel, life changes and we are driven to communicate our experience to others.
There are so many of our contemporaries who do not yet know the love of God or who are seeking to fill their hearts with trifling substitutes. It is therefore urgently necessary for us to be witnesses to love contemplated in Christ. …
Dear young people, the Church needs genuine witnesses for the new evangelisation: men and women whose lives have been transformed by meeting with Jesus, men and women who are capable of communicating this experience to others. The Church needs saints. All are called to holiness, and holy people alone can renew humanity. Many have gone before us along this path of Gospel heroism, and I urge you to turn often to them to pray for their intercession.
May Mary, "Eucharistic woman" and Mother of Wisdom, support you along the way, enlighten your decisions, and teach you to love what is true, good and beautiful. May she lead you all to her Son, who alone can satisfy the innermost yearnings of the human mind and heart."
""Mysterium fidei!" Every time he proclaims these words after consecrating the bread and wine, the priest expresses his ever-renewed amazement at the extraordinary miracle worked at his hands. It is a miracle which only the eyes of faith can perceive. The natural elements do not lose their external characteristics, since the "species" remain those of bread and wine; but their "substance", through the power of Christ's word and the action of the Holy Spirit, is changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ. On the altar, then, Christ crucified and risen is "truly, really and substantially" present in the fullness of his humanity and divinity. What an eminently sacred reality! That is why the Church treats this mystery with such great reverence, and takes such care to ensure the observance of the liturgical norms intended to safeguard the sanctity of so great a sacrament.
We priests are the celebrants, but also the guardians of this most sacred mystery. It is our relationship to the Eucharist that most clearly challenges us to lead a "sacred'' life. This must shine forth from our whole way of being, but above all from the way we celebrate. Let us sit at the school of the saints! The Year of the Eucharist invites us to rediscover those saints who were vigorous proponents of Eucharistic devotion (cf Mane Nobiscum Domine, 31). Many beatified and canonized priests have given exemplary testimony in this regard, enkindling fervour among the faithful present at their celebrations of Mass. Many of them were known for their prolonged Eucharistic adoration. To place ourselves before Jesus in the Eucharist, to take advantage of our "moments of solitude'' and to fill them with this Presence, is to enliven our consecration by our personal relationship with Christ, from whom our life derives its joy and its meaning."
"The Eucharist is therefore the memorial in the full sense: the bread and the wine, through the action of the Holy Spirit, truly become the Body and Blood of Christ, who gives himself to be the food of men and women on their earthly pilgrimage.
The same logic of love presides at the Incarnation of the Word in Mary's womb, and at his becoming present in the Eucharist. It is "agape", charity, love in its beautiful, pure sense. Jesus insistently asked his disciples to abide in this love of his (cf Jn 15: 9).
To stay faithful to this mandate, to abide in him like branches joined to the vine and to love as he loved, it is necessary to be nourished with his Body and his Blood. In telling the Apostles: "Do this in memory of me", the Lord bound the Church to the living memorial of his Passover. Although he was the only Priest of the New Covenant, he wanted and needed to have human beings who, consecrated by the Holy Spirit, would act in intimate union with him by distributing the food of life.
Therefore, while we fix our gaze on Christ who institutes the Eucharist, we become newly aware of the importance of priests in the Church and of their bond with the sacrament of the Eucharist. In the Letter I wrote to Priests for this Holy Thursday, I wanted to repeat that the gift and mystery is the Sacrament of the Altar, the gift and mystery is the Priesthood, and that both sprang from the Heart of Christ during the Last Supper.
Only a Church in love with the Eucharist brings forth, in turn, many holy priestly vocations. And she does so through prayer and the witness of holiness, offered especially for the new generations.
At the school of Mary, "the woman of the Eucharist", let us adore Jesus truly present in the humble signs of the bread and the wine. Let us implore him never to cease calling priests after his own Heart to the service of the Altar.
Let us ask the Lord never to let the People of God lack the Bread that sustains them throughout the earthly pilgrimage. May the Blessed Virgin help us rediscover with wonder that the whole of Christian life is linked to the mysterium fidei which we are celebrating solemnly this evening."
"Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Evangelist John, who, when a solider on Calvary pierced Christ's side with his spear, sees blood and water flowing from it. Moreover, if the blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified: "My daughter, say that I am love and mercy personified", Jesus will ask Sr Faustina. Christ pours out this mercy on humanity though the sending of the Spirit who, in the Trinity, is the Person-Love. And is not mercy love's "second name", understood in its deepest and most tender aspect, in its ability to take upon itself the burden of any need and, especially, in its immense capacity for forgiveness?
Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind.…..
Jesus told Sr Faustina: "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy." Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked for ever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time."