New Here, Non-Catholic, doing a Novena


#1

Hi.

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.

In prayer,
Beggar


#2

Oh Beggar, this is abosolutelly awesome! Sin? NO WAY! I think this is an great way to get closer to our Lord. I wish I had the dedication like you have!

So are you planning comming to the Church? :slight_smile: If you’re not yet sure then pray about it. Since you’re a Christian by faith you now need to get baptised.

You’re in my prayers.

Pax Christi,
~G


#3

Hi, Gandalf.

Thank you for the reassurance. I’m sure it’s a strange post, but it’s what’s been happening in these last few months.

I didn’t think it would be a sin, not exactly. But wasn’t sure. And I know I was encouraged to pray by the Father I met and spoke with. And as I deepen my prayers, I feel closer to Jesus than before.

Yes, I am Christian. And I am considering the Catholic Church as my place of worship. My friend teases me, says I fit in the Church better than he does. LOL. Not sure about that, but still…it feels right. There is a solemnity and majesty that I just haven’t found elsewhere; and the mystery of Mass is amazing. I’m still not sure when to kneel and when to not, and so feel lost a bit, but that’s all right…lost is a perfect place to be when one gets ‘found,’ you know?

I wish I had the dedication like you have!

I don’t know if it’s dedication, but I do know that on those few days I’ve missed saying either the Rosary or the Divine Chaplet, I feel like I’ve forgotten something; almost like when you leave for work, and you think - wow, I think I forgot to lock the back door…and then you worry about it all day or go home and check.:slight_smile:

I know that most of the dreams had an aspect of them that my friend was not resting, and that I needed to pray for him. But I was so lost in his loss that I didn’t know how. Once I started, I know the dreams have stopped.

I understand more about purgatory now, too…and the need for those souls for our prayers. So I try to accommodate them, too, and include them in my begging of Jesus to sort of ‘assign’ the prayer to whomever needs it/them most.

I don’t know if that’s dedication…but it’s what I’m drawn to do, and feel off somehow when I don’t…I am going to miss my burgers, though! But that’s all right…they’ll be here in 10 days.

Thank you again for the response. I feel somewhat awkward here, but wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to make God mad if a non-Catholic was doing a Catholic thing.

In prayer,
Beggar


#4

Beggar,

I’m very sorry about your friend. This is terrible… I am very proud of you for your strength and your effort to reach out to God.

God can heal your heart!! The Novena is an excellent offering of prayer to our Father. I’m sure that God will be smiling with you. And giving up the red meat is a difficult thing to do. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a moment of weakness and grab a burger.

In reality you will be celebrating lent in the “off season” and I think that’s great!!

God Bless You! I will be praying for you and your intentions.

P.S… This would be a great time to enter RCIA classes… The best thing I ever did was attend…You will learn very quickly when to kneel and why… Makes you feel so at home.

Pam


#5

Beggar,

I am very moved and inspired. I will start a Divine mercy novenna this Friday for your intentions and may Merciful God hear us. Also I hope you will enrole to that RCIA class soon.:wink:


#6

anyone can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet any time of day, any time of year. it is a request for God’s mercy on the individual and on the whole world, so the whole world can pray it.

the other question is "are you Catholic?"
by born Catholic do you mean your parents were Catholic?
Is there any indication you were ever baptized?
would the adoption agency have that information?
It is important because if you were baptized you are Catholic, no matter what ceremonies you undergo in any other faith.

Bat or bar mitzvah is not “Jewish baptism”. A boy is bar mitzvah, admitted to the Torah, eligible to be part of the minyan (minimum of 10 men needed for worship) when he turns 13, regardless of whether he undergoes and special training or ceremony. It is automatic. The bat mitzvah for girls, usually age 12, is a modern innovation, so has less tradition and I can’t comment. but in any case it is not baptism. A Jew is a Jew from birth, through his or her mother, not by any ritual. A non-Jewish boy adopted into a Jewish family becomes Jewish by circumcision, by which he becomes partaker in the covenant.

by being raised “Jewish/Episcopal” I don’t know what that means, because a conservative or orthodox Jewish family would not be in such a marriage, and practices in reform or more liberal Jewish congregations vary a lot. From your post it sounds like they did not keep kosher but did observe the Holy Days.

In any case, if you are so drawn to the Catholic Faith it could be by virtue of the graces received at your Catholic baptism as an infant, or it could be responding to the current promptings of the Holy Spirit, or both. You have already done the first thing, start praying. The next is to find good Catholic friends, which you have. the third is to start asking questions, and this is the perfect time because most Catholic parishes are just starting their Inquiry sessions, which lead for those who wish it to RCIA, preparation for the sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church.

welcome home and we will be praying for you.
why not go to your Catholic friend and ask him to be your RCIA sponsor and watch his reaction.


#7

If it comes from the heart, it isn’t a sin it is a request. You are finding your own way to healing and I hope that you make it. If you choose to fast, ensure that it is okay by your doctor, especially if you have any medical problems. Good luck:thumbsup:


#8

Christ our eternal King and God, You have destroyed death and the devil by Your Cross and have restored man to life by Your Resurrection; give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant Beggar’s friend who has fallen asleep, in Your Kingdom, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all men, pardon all the sins he has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no man or woman who lives and sins not, You only are without sin.

For You are the Resurrection, the Life, and Repose of Your servant Beggar’s friend, departed this life, O Christ our God; and to You do we send up glory with Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and forever and to the ages of ages.

You have given us grace at this time to offer You a common prayer together and have promised that when two or three are gathered together in Your name, that You will grant their requests; fulfill, Lord, the prayers of Your servants, which are for Beggar’s welfare, grant the knowledge of Your truth in this world and life everlasting in the world to come. Amen.


#9

I am praying for you…I am so glad that you have found CAF. This is an awesome place to be.
God bless you!


#10

I am sorry for your lost, Beggar. I am also very proud and blessed to know that you are praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy. God is awesome, and in all situations, He is there for you and with your willing, you are opening your soul to let His light shine through.

Praying and fasting are awesome. You are in my prayer.
Thank you for coming to this forum.
Thank God for having the priest, friends and people who are supporting you.

God bless your journey home.


#11

Pyropam said:

God can heal your heart!! The Novena is an excellent offering of prayer to our Father. I’m sure that God will be smiling with you. And giving up the red meat is a difficult thing to do. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a moment of weakness and grab a burger.

That’s just it…I feel like since I said yes to the retreat, and attended it, there is a drawing closer. It was never that God abandoned me; rather, it felt like I was abandoning Him, and didn’t want to. And if God is smiling, then I’m happy to honor Him that way.

As for the burger, it was hard at the BBQ yesterday, but I did it…like I said, burgers will still be around on the 10th, and if they’re not, there’s a whole lot more I need to be praying about, you know?

Mahleh said:

If it comes from the heart, it isn’t a sin it is a request. You are finding your own way to healing and I hope that you make it. If you choose to fast, ensure that it is okay by your doctor, especially if you have any medical problems. Good luck

Thank you. Abstaining from red meat, while a trial for me, is not a medical danger. Rather…it’s quite probably very beneficial! LOL. Cheese, chicken and tuna fish are the menu for protein until the 10th, and I’m making sure I get the proper amount of it, too. I’m being careful, I promise.

Pani Rose, thank you for that beautiful prayer. I said it aloud, and appreciate you praying it and posting it. I really do appreciate it.

Bless you all.

In Prayer-
Beggar


#12

Zooey said:

I am praying for you…I am so glad that you have found CAF. This is an awesome place to be.
God bless you!

This is a great website. I have so much to read and learn here…and many people to ‘meet’. I am so glad I found this site.

Water said:

I am sorry for your lost, Beggar. I am also very proud and blessed to know that you are praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy. God is awesome, and in all situations, He is there for you and with your willing, you are opening your soul to let His light shine through.

Praying and fasting are awesome. You are in my prayer.
Thank you for coming to this forum.
Thank God for having the priest, friends and people who are supporting you.

God bless your journey home.

Thank you so much for your post - He is there and I am willing… and I am trying to let my soul accept His Will.

Thank you for welcoming me to the forums, and yes, I thank Jesus daily for the Father I spoke with, and I always pray for my friend and his family. They are dear to me, very dear, and he’s an amazing man. I am blessed to have met them, and to be in their lives.

In Prayer-
Beggar


#13

Thanks for the reassurance. In St. Faustina’s diary, she is always praying the Divine Mercy chaplet, so I didn’t figure God would be mad…but I wasn’t sure.

the other question is "are you Catholic?"
by born Catholic do you mean your parents were Catholic?

My birth mother was. I don’t know about my birth father.

Is there any indication you were ever baptized?

Not that I can find.

would the adoption agency have that information?

Because I was adopted in 1965, the files are closed. I was adopted through the county rather than Catholic Services, and so there is no available information about a baptism.

It is important because if you were baptized you are Catholic, no matter what ceremonies you undergo in any other faith.

Since I don’t know, I suspect I will choose to be baptised at some point, rather than leave it to chance.

Bat or bar mitzvah is not “Jewish baptism”. A boy is bar mitzvah, admitted to the Torah, eligible to be part of the minyan (minimum of 10 men needed for worship) when he turns 13, regardless of whether he undergoes and special training or ceremony. It is automatic. The bat mitzvah for girls, usually age 12, is a modern innovation, so has less tradition and I can’t comment. but in any case it is not baptism.

It is the welcoming to the faith as an adult, with full understanding of the responsibilities and faith that acceptance requires. It is not baptism, but it is a public affirmation and private acceptance of the Jewish faith.

A Jew is a Jew from birth, through his or her mother, not by any ritual. A non-Jewish boy adopted into a Jewish family becomes Jewish by circumcision, by which he becomes partaker in the covenant.

Yes. And a Jewish female is also accepted into the community by legal adoption as well.

by being raised “Jewish/Episcopal” I don’t know what that means, because a conservative or orthodox Jewish family would not be in such a marriage, and practices in reform or more liberal Jewish congregations vary a lot. From your post it sounds like they did not keep kosher but did observe the Holy Days.

Yes, they do vary. And vary widely. My Dad observed the Holy Days, but was liberal in my upbringing. My mother had us at church for Easter, but we would also go to Synagogue and home seders for Passover. It was a bit confusing at times, but we managed to work it out. As I said, I don’t keep kosher (and my family doesn’t), but do observe High Holy Days, but not necessarily at Synagogue or in kosher style.

In any case, if you are so drawn to the Catholic Faith it could be by virtue of the graces received at your Catholic baptism as an infant, or it could be responding to the current promptings of the Holy Spirit, or both. You have already done the first thing, start praying. The next is to find good Catholic friends, which you have. the third is to start asking questions, and this is the perfect time because most Catholic parishes are just starting their Inquiry sessions, which lead for those who wish it to RCIA, preparation for the sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church.

welcome home and we will be praying for you.

Thank you for the advice. I am indeed drawn to the Catholic faith…no doubt or question. I feel peace when saying the Rosary before Mass, and that was never felt in either faiths I was raised in.

why not go to your Catholic friend and ask him to be your RCIA sponsor and watch his reaction.

I might do that…but he lives in a state far away from me, and I am not sure if that works. Do the sponsors have to be local?

In Prayer-
Beggar


#14

Beggar,

I am drawn by the Holy Spirit to pray for those in purgatory and so right now I pray for your friend that God’s Divine Mercy shone on him in his final agonizing moments. I pray that you will be brought along in your journey by God’s loving hand to wherever that takes you in His service. I would ask the Holy Spirit to keep watch over you and continue to guide you steadily. I ask your guardian angel to continue to pray for you also and I rejoice with all those who have been awaiting your arrival at this point in your own life. Amen!! Alleluia!!

Because this is for prayer intentions I wanted to pray but also would like to share that my spiritual director has a ministry helping people with faith questions surrounding such events. She is just away speaking in Ireland at a worldwide meeting abt faith in the wake of suicides to a large audience. I tried to do a search but found too many similar named groups, Healing Hearts Ministries. Her name is Anne Tyson. If you’d like to get any info from her email me and I will get it to you. I don’t see her again for a couple of weeks but would be glad to be instrumental where possible. Blessings, Wendy


#15

I will be praying for you to come and remain in the Grace of our Lord Jesus. I can tell you have a zeal for our Lord so trust and remain in Him always and He will always guide you to His love.


#16

Keeping in prayer too…


#17

Thanks for the prayers and friendship, you all. It’s day six, I miss red meat, but I am learning and feeling so much when I pray the Novena.

In Prayer-
Beggar


#18

I am praying with you for your friend and for you, that this novena will inaugurate you on a new path of life, but lol, as you like to say, that is like praying for the sun to rise! I guess it will!

Praying for the departed is a very, very powerful practice, especially when you add the intention that grace be distributed to all in need. It is a wonderful, blessed, inspiring thing you are doing.

It seems like your original question has been well answered, but I’ll add this: I started the Rosary and a few novenas I liked a few years ago, very much in an unboundaried interfaith style, and look where it landed me: my first RCIA class is next Thursday night. Watch out!!! This stuff works!!!


#19

So many blessings here. I hope you will keep us informed of your journey of faith. You are a blessing to others who also are searching in the heart. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is miraculous and I witnessed this for myself when my dad passed away a few months ago.
You are in my prayers,

Linda


#20

I don’t know how my journey will help others, but if someone can draw from me, then that’s just fine.

I finished the novena Sunday, and it was interesting. I am far more aware of mercy - and how much I need to grow in being merciful towards others, as well as accepting Jesus’ mercy in my own life. It was a good thing, these days of prayer.

And because it feels right, I’m continuing to do a Divine Mercy Chaplet after my Rosary each evening.

Thanks for all the support, pms, and words of encouragement. I am proud to say I never did break down and get a burger, although I was mightily tempted. LOL. :o

In Prayer-
Beggar


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