There can be a thin line between superstition and devotion, but years ago, during desperate times, I combined three so-called “never fail” Novenas: the basic Infant Jesus novena; the Novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots (Pope Francis’s favorite); and St. Jude. Later, I added in the original Novena, the Novena to the Holy Spirit. It really *has* been a “never fail” Novena. Especially when I leave my requests open-ended, help has always come almost immediately–this time, it may have been answered a day after I started the Novena.
We must always avoid a superstitious or magical approach to prayer. We should not think of the words themselves as having power or giving us power over God. When a novena is identified as “never failing,” it requires openness to God’s resolving the problem His way. It is better to make one’s intention as general as possible than to ask God for a specific resolution. Nevertheless, these four novenas have been demonstrated to be efficacious, particularly because they focus on the Scriptural commands to pray and they have the aforementioned openness to God’s will. The Novena to the Holy Spirit is the prototype for all novenas: commemorating the Nine Days that Our Lady, the Eleven and some of the other disciples spent after the Ascension, waiting in the Upper Room for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, although we should not put too much import on the formulas or…
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