Start the month with reading this months theme. The meditation and the text will give you the topic for meditation for the whole month. The novena prayer below is used as you wish: every day, every week or once a month. It is the same prayer for the nine months novena.
Fruit of the Spirit: CHARITY
Love is the fruit of the Spirit par excellence. Love was Thérèse’s calling, what she strove for as well as the fulfillment of the Christian life. Thérèse had experienced love in her family and got to know the essence of God: God is love. Love within the family had been nourished by God’s giving of Himself at Holy Mass. Therefore, she knew that love is nourished by sacrifice and devotion; indifference was something that was alien to her. Her dedication to religious life found its fuel in him who – she knew – loved her; she knew that Jesus was the real force and agent whenever she loved. It is through union with Jesus that we also become love. That’s where we become one with our neighbour, just as we become one with Jesus in Holy communion. To this it is that our Little Sister and her holy parents want to pull us, now that they’re finally arriving.
Week 36: That we may consciously open our hearts and welcome Jesus at Holy Mass.
Week 37: That we may from our heart commit ourselves to our neighbour and not shut ourselves off from anyone.
Week 38: That we may take the time to attend Holy Mass as often as we can and may, then, faithfully live the self-giving of the Holy Mass in everyday life.
Week 39: That all of us, who are now about to honor Little Thérèse and her parents on their pilgrimage through our countries, may receive the plentiful graces we have longed for during these nine past months of preparation.
Novena prayer to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face
(We use this prayer for nine months)
Dear St. Thérèse, little flower of Jesus,
with joy and gratitude I look forward to your visit
to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Island and Finland
in company of your holy parents.
I ask you to prepare me for your visit,
so that I can receive all the grace
God wants to give me by means of it.
I ask you to pray for our countries
and for our Catholic dioceses here.
Little Thérèse, scatter your rose petals of grace over our families
– so that they more and more may resemble your family.
Pray especially for our priests and for vocations to religious life.
Pray for Carmel in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Island and Finland.
Pray for all children, for those who are elderly, for the lonely and suffering.
Dear St. Thérèse, you who wanted to spend your heaven doing good on earth,
receive then also this special intention of mine,
which I trustfully place in your hands (say your intention).
Dear St. Thérèse, I want to become a saint.
Teach me to love Jesus like you,
with a pure and undivided heart
and trustfully to surrender my life to God’s Merciful Love
through the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Lead me on your little way
so that I speedily may reach perfect love. Amen.
Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory…
August: Inner Peace and Abandonment
To wish for what Jesus wants, how hard it is unto us who possess such strong self-will! If the heart is filled with the will of God, one’s inner self remains always deeply at peace. But how does one get there? Abandonment, time after time, of course, and trust. We know that God does not allow more than we can bear, he knows what is best for us and others. Our whole life is in His hand; through all that happens to us, He wants to shape us in His Son’s likeness. When it gets too painful, we must gaze at His cross, muster strength and hope in the knowledge that it did not end there. Life is but a short moment between two eternities, while we are invited to share Jesus’ own life, which always consisted in doing the will of the Father. Life can then become so simple that we may live with the Blessed in the impregnable city of unassailable peace that Christ is, where nothing can stir us.
Week 31: That we may learn to thank God for all that comes to pass, for all which He allows.
Week 32: That we may live with Heaven in sight, but with our feet well-grounded on this earth.
Week 33: That we may take our refuge to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who remained under the Cross and was then taken to Heaven.
Week 34: That we may empty our hearts to all things that are not pleasing to God.
Week 35: That we may abandon into God’s hands what belongs to the past, what is
July: Self-restraint, self-abnegation
We were created to rule over Creation, we fell, but He in whom we were created reinstated us into freedom, and we can now, in the Holy Spirit, love Creation through the true new kingdom. In this fully developed self-control, the new Man radiates, that new person who is Jesus in us. We can try, again and again, to be our own masters, struggling to achieve pride and self-realisation. It is only when we understand that we cannot do anything by ourselves that the fruit of self-restraint ripens, and that we are able truly to love Jesus and our neighbour as He did, in Him, as one with Him. Here, one is completely in God’s hand, a tool that He uses for the good of others. Self-abnegation then comes true and makes love bear the most beautiful fruits.
Week 27: That we may realise our high calling and dare to live it.
Week 28: That Little Thérèse’s example in self-abnegation may inspire us to make sacrifices of love.
Week 29: That, in difficult situations, we may imitate Little Thérèse, who expected everything from Jesus.
Week 30: That we in prayer and deed may allow the Holy Ghost to lead us.
Whether it be in the consecrated life or in marriage, love always requires sacrifice and faithful endurance, for, day after day, one must conform to God’s way and will. One’s feelings may rebel, but with the will of love we can continue to espouse the right path. Both spouses Martin had, before their marriage, tried the consecrated life, but both had been sent away. God had another path for them, a path that, through their faithful love to each other, would lead them, through the sacrament of marriage, to becoming the saints God meant for them to be. God allows for love to be put to the test, so that it can grow and grow; indeed it becomes a foundation to build upon. He thus purifies it so as to shape us ever more into His Son’s likeness. The purer love is, the more faithful it is, and a faithful love, such as Little Thérèse felt, lives on into eternity.
Week 23: That those either preparing for marriage or already married may realise the dignity of this sacrament and may understand that it is meant to transform them into saints.
Week 24: That those who are tested in their vocation, either in the consecrated life or in marriage, may turn to God and obtain the strength to be faithful to their calling.
Week 25: That we, in the simple aspects of everyday life, may choose to be faithful to God, His Church, as well as our intentions.
Week 26: That people who have been let down or betrayed may again come to believe in faithful love.
Mankind is a family; and so is the Church; therefore, Little Thérèse is our sister, which she became in a deeper sense on April 9th, 1888, when she entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux. She had been raised in a family that was open and life-giving, even to those outside of it; she therefore knew that the true and divine kindness is never exclusive. Kindness should apply to “ALL who dwell in the house; without exception “(S S p. 199), i.e. even to those whom we personally have not chosen and whom we emotionally do not “like” and who may in no way share our beliefs nor our choice of life. Little Thérèse exemplified this when she decidedly acted against her natural antipathy towards a sister and did “all that I would do for the one I hold dearest”. M. and Mme Martin also showed their kindness when they had to accept soldiers into their own home.
Week 14: That everyone with a vocation to the consecrated life may prove, in words and deeds, to be true brothers and sisters of the Risen Lord.
Week 15: That we may be given the supernatural insight that our neighbour is a beloved sister or brother.
Week 16: That our families and communities may be open and life-giving even to those who do not belong to them.
Week 17: That we may choose to show kindness even to those whom we perhaps dislike.
The fruits of the Spirit grow as we stick to the Tree. Little Thérèse experienced this at the time of her first communion. When she “was united with the divine Power”, she, the exiled, was filled with “all the joy of Heaven”, and because of its greatness and depth she could only cry. People around her misunderstood her, but during the family celebration that ensued this joy was transformed into a “calm joy”. The joy she tasted in that moment would, by Christmas, become a persistent source of joy, as she learned that this kind of joy follows from one “forgetting oneself for the sake of others’ happiness.” So it was for her mother Zélie too, who once she started living entirely for her children found all her joy in them. Communal life, such as is family life, produces joy in us if we forget ourselves for Jesus’ sake in order to attend to the happiness and joy of others.
Week 9: That all the children now preparing for their first Communion may experience the same deep encounter with Jesus as Little Thérèse did. And that catechists and parents may receive God’s grace and assistance to help prepare the children for such a wondrous sacrament.
Week 10: That the hope of Heavenly joy may bring comfort and joy to all who suffer and mourn.
Week 11: That we in our communities and families for the sake of Jesus may choose to forget ourselves so that we may give joy to others
Week 12: That all parents may experience what the saints Zélie and Louis discovered, that children are one’s joy in life, and that they may be given the help and wisdom to raise their children for Heaven.
Week 13: That we may all, who now enter Holy Week with Jesus, remain faithful to Him and, like Him, carry the crosses that come our way, as to partake with Him in the joy of Resurrection.
February: Patience and Forbearance
St. Thérèse writes that “perfect love means to show forbearance with the defects of others, not to be surprised at their weaknesses” and that she herself wouldn’t be able to love perfectly unless Jesus “himself loved” through her. She showed this perfect love in practice towards her sisters in the convent for instance by helping Sr St. Pierre and being indulgent with the sister who made a noise during prayer time. Perhaps her patience was most severely tried when she was lying on her sickbed. When she once had failed to show patience she wrote, not without a hint of irony, to Sr Agnes: “Alas! Tonight I have really shown you my virtues and my treasures of patience!” But she is happy that Jesus now gets the chance to be patient with her. She meets her own lack of patience with patience.
Week 5: That we in our families and communities out of love may show forbearance with each other’s differences, weaknesses and deficiencies.
Week 6: That we may fully trust Jesus’ own power and ask for it when our patience is tried.
Week 7: That all who suffer in body or soul may get patience and strength to bear each day’s burden.
Week 8: That we may have patience with ourselves and trustfully get up when we have fallen.