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Prayer isn’t ultimately about changing God’s will — it’s about changing ours.
And that’s what I really like about the Glorious Mysteries Novena I did. It very well might be the first novena I have ever finished with 100% fidelity, saying the prayer on each of the nine days (if one middle-of-the-night Rosary counts), and it reset my priorities.
The novena is simple: Pray the Five Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary nine days in a row for that interpersonal issue that is so painful in your life.
The Glorious Mysteries are like an instruction manual on how to handle personal problems.
That could mean starting a daily Rosary if you don’t pray it already, or adding an extra Rosary if you do.
The interpersonal issue could be any of the thorny problems we face:
The family issues life inevitably brings, pitting “father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Workplace issues from unemployment to overemployment to poison workplace politics.
It could be an issue with your luckless love life or your pathetic parish life, your sabotaged social life or your ruinous run-ins with your next door neighbor.
Pray the first mystery, the Resurrection, for faith that nothing is impossible for God.
The problems we face can look insolubly difficult. But so can the problem of Jesus Christ being rejected by his followers, sentenced to death before a cheering crowd, and buried for three days.
“Faith” is often listed as the fruit of the first glorious mystery, and faith is the first thing you need to face your problem: Faith that Jesus Christ, whose Resurrection changed all of human history, is powerful enough to create a change in your life, too.
Pray the Ascension for the fortitude to do what is necessary to solve your problem.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Jesus said before he ascended to heaven. But he didn’t follow that with “therefore, leave everything to me.” Instead, he said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them … [and] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
God usually doesn’t solve problems without our involvement. He wants us to act: to confront who needs to be confronted, explain what needs to be explained, and risk what needs to be risked. But he also adds: “And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
Pray in the third mystery that the Holy Spirit will be your partner as you face your problem.
The Holy Spirit is the solver par excellence of interpersonal issues, discouragement, and miscommunication. At Pentecost, he united the fractured Apostles, turned them from cowards into heroes, and allowed them to communicate with a vast array of people from different circumstances who “didn’t speak the same language,” both literally and figuratively.
I have been surprised over the years how true it is that the Holy Spirit will “teach you what to say.” This happens in obvious ways, when I pray for words and get them; and in less obvious ways, when I am muddled and tongue-tied but he helps others hear me anyway.
It’s no wonder that the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are all about judging situations rightly and reacting appropriately — and are exactly what you need.
Pray that the Assumption will reset your priorities.
I was going through the Glorious Mysteries this way, focusing in on how its lessons directly apply to my intention — when along came the Assumption, which isn’t about life on earth, but about life in heaven. Our Lady goes to heaven, body and soul, in what the Catechism calls “a sign of certain hope” for us.
Then it dawned on me: We pray to improve our lives with others here and now. What God wants is a better life for all involved hereafter. We start out praying that certain crosses in our lives will disappear; God responds by inspiring us to carry whatever crosses will lead ourselves and others to a life with him.
Fifth, leave it all in the hands of Mary with the coronation.
Imagine your mother was given the power to direct the operations of every area of your life: Family and workplace, social life and love life. She would definitely look out for you and strive to make problems that irk you disappear. But she would also probably direct things in the way that she thinks best, even if you disagree.
This is, of course, exactly the position we are in with Mary.
She is the Queen of Heaven and Earth, a powerful intercessor with God himself, and she is our mother. If we invite her intercession into the circumstances of our life, she will look out for us just like our mom would.
She will make life easier in many ways, more difficult in certain ways, and better for us in every way.
This appeared at Aleteia.
Image: Our Lady of Grace Fountain in the Academic Quad at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.