Long story short: born a Catholic, adopted into a Jewish/Episopalian household (meaning I was raised both in synagogue and in church, but not baptized/ba’t mitzvahed). I am a Christian, but still respect the Jewish tradition (for the most part; I don’t keep kosher, for example, but do celebrate some High Holy Days as well as all Christian Holy Days).
Best friend and his family are Roman Catholic. He says that I am a catholic, I just haven’t figured it out quite yet. LOL. And he may be right.
So, on to the present issue. A mutual friend of ours, catholic, suicided in May of this year. He suffered from Major Depressive Disorder, an illness I am sadly familiar with. After about a month (about a month and a week), I started having dreams of this friend, of being in the car with him while he was shooting himself. I’d wake up, certain his blood was in my hair. This dream would repeat many times in a week, sometimes several times in a night, until I’d get up and shower and sob.
Needless to say, this sent me into a tailspin. My best friend brought me to his farm because I was losing my ability to see God in the world that surrounds me, and I was unable to pray. I’d just sit/lay there and cry. I was on the edge. Anyway, he and his wife prayed about it, brought me out, and offered me a 3-day healing retreat which I gratefully attended (when they offered it to me, it was the first inkling that God was still hanging around…a huge, overwhelming “YES” burst from my mouth before he even finished telling me about it). It was a prayerful, healing weekend, and I found incredible value in it.
This is getting long. I went to the retreat, I experienced a quieting of my soul, I haven’t had the dream since before I went, and I spoke with a Father there, in the confessional but not as confession (because I’m not Catholic). He instructed me to really learn about God’s mercy; to read St. Faustina’s Diary, to read more about Mary, to begin to understand the infinite mercy that Jesus offers if we but choose to accept it. This Father touched my heart with his gentleness and kindness, reassuring me it was all right to talk to him even if in the confessional, and during the rest of the retreat, he was available for any question I had. And at the closing of the retreat, he sought me out and gave me a hug (a very chaste one, mind you…very proper). He told me I would be in his prayers, and I believe that I am in them. I include him in my prayers, as well.
I learned how to do the Rosary, and have done it daily since returning home. I have also learned how to do the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and pray that daily as well. I offer my prayers to Jesus for mercy for my dead friend and for whatever soul needs them most.
All of this is to say that I’ve been feeling like I need to do a Divine Mercy Novena, but everything I’ve read says to do it starting Good Friday (granted, I’ve not read much). But I’d like to start it tomorrow, and continue it through the 9th of September. Further, I feel asked to fast from red meat, as an indication of intent.
So I suppose the question I have is, is that all right? I mean, for a non-Catholic to do a Novena, and to abstain from red meat during it? Will it be acceptable to Jesus? Or is it a grave sin to do this without being Catholic?
Thanks in advance.