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Novena to St. John of the Cross

(December 5th to 13th)

Read the Word of God slowly
Give a silent pause of a minute or two
Read the reflection meditatively
Leave a few minutes of silence for interiorization and personalization before the novena prayer

Day 1

Reading: Mt. 18: 1-5

True Greatness

Who does not want to be great? We all do it to excel in our work and studies and tell others of our superiority. But the true greatness, that of the little children is altogether a different logic. St. John of the Cross understood it so well that he burnt all his written works at least thrice. His literary works thrive today because they were in the hands of some other individuals who found in them the treasures of spiritual growth. St. John would have laughed at his own fame as a mystic. He was content to be himself without the applause and honours of others.

Will I survive without social applause and appreciation?

Prayer 1

Lord, grant us the grace to spend the best time of the day at your feet. We may have many things to do but none of them in spite of the urgent needs that call for attention is as urgent as the need to listen to you and try to respond to you. Help us to understand this need. We make this prayer in your precious name, Amen.

Day 2

Reading: Mt. 6: 25-34

Total Dependence on God who cares

Inspite of all good will many times our basic physical needs dominate us and dictate our actions. Then the most difficult aspect of our life is to trust in God and in us. St. John of the Cross was at peace without food or with plenty of it. One mid-day it is said, that his community remained in the choir praying while the cook was waiting jobless in the kitchen. Food did come at the right time. Food was not the focus of his thoughts and preoccupation.

How about me?

Prayer 2

Take O Lord, my liberty, my understanding and my whole will, all that I am and I have I give to you to be made use of according to your good pleasure. Give me only your love and your grace with these I am rich enough. Amen.

Day 3

Reading: Mt. 17:1-9

Ascend Higher to be Lighter and Happier

The Carmelite Saints often speak of an imagery of ascending or climbing or being on the way of perfection. They took the symbols from Jesus who went alone to the mountains to pray, climbed the hill to preach about the Kingdom. The higher you go, the better is your capacity to see your reality down in the valley from a global perspective. The air is lighter and fresher away from air and noise pollution. But the condition is that I have to leave behind the heavier luggage of my sins and colourful varieties of my selfishness.

Am I prepared to leave? Do I rest comfortably stagnant where I am? Have I lost interest to grow higher?

Prayer 1

Day 4

Reading: 1 Jn. 1: 1-7

Jesus, The meeting place of God with humans

Jesus is the Icon of the Father. Whoever encounters Jesus encounters the Father. If Jesus makes us free we really become the children of the Father. For in Jesus God has told us all we ever wanted to know of him, so says St. John of the Cross. In Jesus, we have the complete and perfect human being. This Jesus invites each one of us to grow up to his stature, the stature of love and service of others. Only thus, we will be His living temples.

How far can I think of myself as the visibility of Jesus in our community and the society.

Prayer 2

Day 5

Reading: 1 Jn. 4: 5-12

God is Love

In the evening of our life we will be judged by love and love alone. These are the profound and significant words of John of the Cross that shed light on who God really is and the correct way to get to him. Asceticism is necessary but true love alone is able to lead us to the one whom we know loves us.

Is my love of God verified, concretely in my selfless love of others?

Prayer 1

Day 6

Reading: Eph. 6: 10- 18

Integral Growth

“If we claim to have grown in one virtue, we will have grown in all other virtues proportionately. On the other hand, if we have not grown in other virtues let us also know that our claims for spiritual growth are often not true.” There cannot be a better maxim of spiritual integration than this one given by St. John of the Cross. We can fool others for some time, but we cannot fool others and ourselves all the time.

Can I say that I am an authentic and committed Christian?


Prayer 2

Day 7

Reading: Phil. 3:3-11

True Freedom

Where your treasure is there will your heart be. In a re-echo to these words of our Lord, St. John of the Cross, in his dark night sings of his house being at complete rest to be able to slip out without hesitation in search of the beloved like a panting deer to the fresh springs of water. Human heart is restless in spite of all the achievements and appreciation of the public on the platforms, unless they rest in the Lord progressively freed from every form of interior enslavement. Then in total interior freedom we can really sing with St. John “The heavens are mine and the earth is mine”.

Prayer 1

Day 8

Reading: 1 Cor. 12: 12-27

One among many

St. John of the Cross could find no contradiction or conflict between one and many. He advises us all through his precautions to restrain from judging others prematurely or falsely. Even if we were living among angels we will find so much to criticize about. So, the mature path of life is to promote and encourage others and not discuss others’ faults.

Did I encourage and support anyone today?

Prayer 2

Day 9

Reading: Gal. 2: 15-20

God plants and gives the growth

Life on earth is fragile. Though we handle our life with care, yet we get hurt, hurt by others and even hurt by our own blunders. We tend easily to blame others for our problems and take shade under fake umbrellas. So john of the Cross refuses to look at the hostility and pain caused by others in a unique manner. He said, “we are rough marble stones and God has charged others with giving us a better shape by chipping out chunks of stone from us- some delicately and others even roughly so that, finally we get the right shape of a master piece in God’s hands. Nobody can take away our happiness except we ourselves.”

Prayer 1


HAPPY FEAST [ December - 14th ]


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