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  #16  
Old Oct 23, '13, 1:46 pm
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dshix dshix is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

Eleven,

I am sorry if I have offended you, but I have responded to you in answer to the way you seem to be speaking. You may not consider God a vending machine but at one point I distinctly got the impression you did.



The fruits of our prayers are often hidden from us until after death, and we will not see the full effect of all our good works until after our death. This is an undeniable fact. It may be frustrating to not be able to point to good results and say, "This was an effect of prayer." but that is not the point. Prayer is not supposed to prove something to our fellow men, but to be a supplication to God, between him and us exclusively.

This is all I have to say.
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  #17  
Old Oct 23, '13, 2:37 pm
vames vames is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

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Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
If we are to share the joy of an obtained petition by praising the saint to others, what do we say of the saint when the petition is not obtained?
That those who composed the text of such a novena or prayer were in error. We should be aware that such texts shouldn't include elements such "never fail novena" or "Saint X is the ultimate wonderworker" or "spread the word about the power of this magical devotion". The saints in question usually had no idea that their name would be used that way. They didn't boast about their intercessory power and didn't claim that God is compelled to obey their prayers.
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  #18  
Old Oct 23, '13, 5:25 pm
Eleven Eleven is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

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Originally Posted by vames View Post
That those who composed the text of such a novena or prayer were in error. We should be aware that such texts shouldn't include elements such "never fail novena" or "Saint X is the ultimate wonderworker" or "spread the word about the power of this magical devotion". The saints in question usually had no idea that their name would be used that way. They didn't boast about their intercessory power and didn't claim that God is compelled to obey their prayers.
Ok, thanks.
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  #19  
Old Oct 23, '13, 5:29 pm
Eleven Eleven is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

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Originally Posted by Jon S View Post
\You cannot control God, which is what you infer when you indicate your prayers can create a certain result.
On the contrary, because of Christ we can approach the Father and ask him for an egg and not expect a scorpion. I would not call it "control," because we remain powerless without His "action." But this is the generosity of God, just as He will not save us without our consent. Would you agree that the Church teaches us to pray with the expectation that God will hear us? That does not mean we demand. It means we say, "You are God. You can obtain for us that which we cannot obtain for ourselves. Have mercy and hear our prayer."
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  #20  
Old Oct 23, '13, 5:34 pm
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Jon S Jon S is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

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Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
On the contrary, because of Christ we can approach the Father and ask him for an egg and not expect a scorpion. I would not call it "control," because we remain powerless without His "action." But this is the generosity of God, just as He will not save us without our consent. Would you agree that the Church teaches us to pray with the expectation that God will hear us? That does not mean we demand. It means we say, "You are God. You can obtain for us that which we cannot obtain for ourselves. Have mercy and hear our prayer."
Yes!

Pray without ceasing!

Pray for that Lamborghini!

Whenever we pray it brings us closer to God. That is the whole point.

God knows what we need and he doesn't need us to ask, but sincere prayer will align our wills with his and make us receptive to following him.

Your problem lies with an expectation of answering it.

You can't expect that.


Here is an example

We pray constantly through generations and generations for the conversion of men, Daily prayers are offered in the thousands. . God of course wants this, and yet it has not occurred. It may not occurr until the final judgement. Just because it doesn't happen how we want it means nothing.
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  #21  
Old Oct 23, '13, 5:34 pm
coachdennis coachdennis is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

I was told once that God always answers prayers, but sometimes he says "No."

No, is a valid answer. It may be the one we don't want to hear, but it is an answer.

What we do and how we react to the "No" is our response to God.
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  #22  
Old Oct 23, '13, 6:26 pm
fred conty fred conty is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

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Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
So as I understand with novenas, we make an effort to praise a saint like St. Jude for the miracle or answer to prayer we obtained through the novena to that saint. What do we do if several novenas have not produced an answer? I know the standard reply is that the prayer was answered - just not how we wanted. But when one prays for something that is intrinsically "good," and that something does not come to pass after much time, prayer, and hope, what are we to say of the saint we prayed to? God's ways are not our ways and that's it? We have good desires in our hearts that shall go unfulfilled? How is this a witness to skeptics?
I heard a woman here on CAF not long ago say she had been praying with no answer. Then she added fasting to her prayers. And she was happy that her prayers were answered.

You might consider what she did.

Just a thought.
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  #23  
Old Oct 24, '13, 7:31 pm
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robwar robwar is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
I'm going to politely skip addressing those who have suggested I treat God like a superstitious vending machine. And anyone who suggested I expect "instant" results hasn't read the thread.

A couple things remain unaddressed. How does one suggest we witness to skeptics who know we have been praying for things for many years and we are unable to witness to them by pointing out how our perseverance paid off when there is nothing to show them? Have you ever told a skeptic that you've been praying for 20+ years without the result of the intention? Do we just keep crying out with Israel for some signal vindication of our faith? We tell them the prayer is being answered in some unseen way? We read: "John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." Do we explain to those skeptics that it's our own fault the prayer has not been obtained because we must not have asked properly "in his name"?

And secondly - as I also mentioned in the OP, the tradition behind many novenas, such as the St. Jude prayer, includes sometimes in the very words of the prayer, the promise to share the answered prayer and to praise the saint for obtaining the favor requested as a witness to others. What are we to do when we cannot state this affirmatively? Do we say nothing about the saint to others? Do we keep telling them "the answer is coming"? But we don't know if the answer is coming, because as some of you have pointed out, what we ask for might not be what God wants for us. If we are to share the joy of an obtained petition by praising the saint to others, what do we say of the saint when the petition is not obtained?
I wouldn't worry about what any skepic thinks because even if what you have been praying for is answers, they would probably find another excuse to question or disbelieve. I know St. Monica prayed 30 years for her son who was living in sin and was as far from God as one could get. Yet her prayers were finally answered and not only converted but became a great saint and a Dr. of the Church. I understand your frustration, I think it is honest when we have been praying for someone or something a long time with no seeminly results but I would not give up, I would ignore the skepics and maybe find a priest that you can talk to about your frustrations. don't give up. Blessed Mother theresa of Calcutta said god calls us to be faithful not successful.
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  #24  
Old Oct 24, '13, 10:05 pm
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the phoenix the phoenix is online now
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
So as I understand with novenas, we make an effort to praise a saint like St. Jude for the miracle or answer to prayer we obtained through the novena to that saint. What do we do if several novenas have not produced an answer? I know the standard reply is that the prayer was answered - just not how we wanted. But when one prays for something that is intrinsically "good," and that something does not come to pass after much time, prayer, and hope, what are we to say of the saint we prayed to? God's ways are not our ways and that's it? We have good desires in our hearts that shall go unfulfilled? How is this a witness to skeptics?
1) What do we do if several novenas have not produced an answer?

Say several more. Rinse, and repeat. And realize that you are being answered.

2) But when one prays for something that is intrinsically "good," and that something does not come to pass after much time, prayer, and hope, what are we to say of the saint we prayed to?

I would rather speak to the saint than about the saint in such an instance. Or at least ponder the saint's life to see how the saint handled setbacks, disappointments, and suffering, and what I might learn from the saint ... who after all reached Heaven!

3) God's ways are not our ways and that's it?

God's ways are not our ways, and praise be to God.

4) We have good desires in our hearts that shall go unfulfilled?

There's good, and then there's better.

5) How is this a witness to skeptics?

Your steadfastness and living a Christian life is even more of a witness.

~~ the phoenix
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  #25  
Old Oct 29, '13, 7:26 am
Eleven Eleven is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

Just putting this reading from Sunday here from the book of Sirach 35. I would appreciate all prayers in light of this passage that those who cry honestly to the Lord are satisfied.
The one who serves God willingly is heard;
his petition reaches the heavens.
The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;
it does not rest till it reaches its goal,
nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds
,
judges justly and affirms the right,
and the Lord will not delay.
Thanks to all who have responded so far.
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  #26  
Old Oct 29, '13, 8:42 am
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Contra Mundum Contra Mundum is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

I think that when it comes to praying for other people - conversion, for example - we must not forget that they have free will. God will not force things upon them, even if what we pray for is for their good.
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  #27  
Old Oct 29, '13, 11:06 am
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clem456 clem456 is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
I'm going to politely skip addressing those who have suggested I treat God like a superstitious vending machine. And anyone who suggested I expect "instant" results hasn't read the thread.

A couple things remain unaddressed. How does one suggest we witness to skeptics who know we have been praying for things for many years and we are unable to witness to them by pointing out how our perseverance paid off when there is nothing to show them? Have you ever told a skeptic that you've been praying for 20+ years without the result of the intention? Do we just keep crying out with Israel for some signal vindication of our faith?

Your faithfulness to God is witness itself. Because everyone will suffer, everyone will have "unanswered" prayers, those who inspire are us are not those who get results, but those who witness with their lives to courage, faithfulness, fortitude, trust. Mother Teresa asked God for years for spiritual consolations and received none. Why is Mother Teresa such a powerful witness? She centered her life around prayer, but trusted God for the results, and witnessed with her faith, trust, courage, fortitude.

We tell them the prayer is being answered in some unseen way? We read: "John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." Do we explain to those skeptics that it's our own fault the prayer has not been obtained because we must not have asked properly "in his name"?

And secondly - as I also mentioned in the OP, the tradition behind many novenas, such as the St. Jude prayer, includes sometimes in the very words of the prayer, the promise to share the answered prayer and to praise the saint for obtaining the favor requested as a witness to others. What are we to do when we cannot state this affirmatively? Do we say nothing about the saint to others? Do we keep telling them "the answer is coming"? But we don't know if the answer is coming, because as some of you have pointed out, what we ask for might not be what God wants for us. If we are to share the joy of an obtained petition by praising the saint to others, what do we say of the saint when the petition is not obtained?
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  #28  
Old Oct 29, '13, 12:34 pm
styrgwillidar styrgwillidar is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
So as I understand with novenas, we make an effort to praise a saint like St. Jude for the miracle or answer to prayer we obtained through the novena to that saint. What do we do if several novenas have not produced an answer? I know the standard reply is that the prayer was answered - just not how we wanted. But when one prays for something that is intrinsically "good," and that something does not come to pass after much time, prayer, and hope, what are we to say of the saint we prayed to? God's ways are not our ways and that's it? We have good desires in our hearts that shall go unfulfilled? How is this a witness to skeptics?
Well, I always thank the saint/saints that I've prayed to for their efforts. Ultimately, whether the prayer is granted isn't up to them. I trust they're doing what they can and I'm grateful that my brother/sisters in heaven would make an effort on my behalf.

I also spend some time apologizing to my guardian angel. They must shake their head a lot watching me go through life.


Do you understand the law of unintended consequences? I might pray for something and have no idea of all the interconnections and secondary affects it might have. Regardless of whether it is intrinsically good, there are always unforeseen effects and unknowable consequences not just to myself, but all of those around me.

I prayed for reconciliation with my ex-wife, it hasn't occurred. Perhaps God sees more to be gained from my setting an example to others. (Even assuming that He could give her the nudges compatible with free-will to achieve it) I've given advice and insight based on what I went through to others, am I a more valuable servant to God by using my experience to assist others? No idea. (ETA: my daughter has written stories and poetry about the break-up, its affect on her, that other children hav found moving and helpful. She wants to pursue a career helping troubled kids...so)

Recall, God told His own Son no at least once, so we're in good company.

"How is this a witness to skeptics?" Heck, I'll go farther- how is this a support to believers, or our own children? How does God continuously saying no to our prayers assist in building the faith of anyone? When reality doesn't match what we've been told to expect from prayer? Jesus said upon His return, will He find anyone of faith? I've always wondered how He can expect faith without providing anything to validate/vindicate it.

But, He says in several places to persist in prayer, to nag Him. Old woman and the unjust judge, this past weeks reading for example. The point of prayer really isn't in having our prayers answered, the point , according to the catechism is to raise our hearts and minds to God. If your heart is far from God, the words of our prayers are in vain. (sorry, in a hurry so can't look up the exact quotes) If you're praying despite being told no-- then you must believe, otherwise you're just talking to yourself. Receiving no for an answer is driving you to ask questions about God, to know Him at a deeper level, to attempt to understand His ways, His nature. Would you be seeking that same sort of understanding if he'd said yes? Would you have devoted yourself to Him in prayer for as long?

As I said above, I always thank the saints for their efforts on my behalf, however I'm answered. If your prayer is answered, I recommend you commit yourself to devoting as much prayer in thanksgiving as you did in petitioning and requesting intercession.

God bless you and yours always, I'll say some prayers on your behalf- but don't expect much, I'm certainly no saint

Last edited by styrgwillidar; Oct 29, '13 at 12:45 pm.
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  #29  
Old Oct 29, '13, 5:33 pm
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Elizium23 Elizium23 is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

Quote:
Originally Posted by vames View Post
That those who composed the text of such a novena or prayer were in error. We should be aware that such texts shouldn't include elements such "never fail novena" or "Saint X is the ultimate wonderworker" or "spread the word about the power of this magical devotion". The saints in question usually had no idea that their name would be used that way. They didn't boast about their intercessory power and didn't claim that God is compelled to obey their prayers.
I often find photocopied "novenas" to St. Jude and others slipped into pews or in the flyer racks in the narthex and our pastor has demonstrated to me (the parish receptionist) exactly what I should do with these "novenas": I am to crumple them into a tiny ball and throw them in the circular file. One of the problematic aspects of these "prayers" is that they require the petitioner to make nine copies on each of nine days and leave them all in the church. This is commonly known as "littering" or, as I put it, a "Catholic chain letter". These are not earnest prayers to be answered, they are superstition. They commonly also include verbiage such as "never known to fail".

Now I know there are good, approved novenas to St. Jude and others and your novenas may not have these problematic aspects. But good Catholics should be wary of any which do contain them. No novena will require you to make 81 copies of it in order to be effective. That is simply viral and not in a good way.
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  #30  
Old Oct 30, '13, 2:56 pm
styrgwillidar styrgwillidar is offline
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Default Re: "Failed" novenas

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Originally Posted by Elizium23 View Post
I often find photocopied "novenas" to St. Jude and others slipped into pews or in the flyer racks in the narthex and our pastor has demonstrated to me (the parish receptionist) exactly what I should do with these "novenas": I am to crumple them into a tiny ball and throw them in the circular file. One of the problematic aspects of these "prayers" is that they require the petitioner to make nine copies on each of nine days and leave them all in the church. This is commonly known as "littering" or, as I put it, a "Catholic chain letter". These are not earnest prayers to be answered, they are superstition. They commonly also include verbiage such as "never known to fail".

Now I know there are good, approved novenas to St. Jude and others and your novenas may not have these problematic aspects. But good Catholics should be wary of any which do contain them. No novena will require you to make 81 copies of it in order to be effective. That is simply viral and not in a good way.

Thought it worth adding this about superstition from the catechism:

2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.
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