Novenas Superstitious?

Please forgive the somewhat provocative title, I’m not really trying to call into question the validity of praying novenas but rather get some clarification or deeper understanding on a popular aspect of many novenas. I’ve noticed that the instructions for certain novenas (e.g., st. jude novena pamphlets at a local parish) say that your specific novena intention will be granted “on or before the ninth day, never been known to fail.” What I have trouble with is this tagline which seems to smack of what has sometimes been dubbed “vending machine Catholicism,” the idea that we say the prayer and then regardless of God’s will you get what you want when the sheet says you get it. It seems to me if would be more appropriate if we were simply instructed to pray the novena with a faithful heart and be open to God’s will, even if that doesn’t include getting your wish on a specific day, or ever. Can someone please help me out with this? Did I miss something along the way?

Sometimes people are overly enthusiastic about novenas and their “effectiveness.” Lines of the type you cited shouldn’t be included because they are born more of superstition than of faith. After all, God doesn’t always say “Yes” to our requests, novena or no novena.

The ones I always stay away from are the ones that are in the classified ad section of my diocesan newspaper. I actually cannot believe those would be permitted. Those are the ones that say you must publish the prayer again in the paper after your request is granted. That just does not sound right to me.

I can understand, if one is thankful to a Saint for favours granted one might wish to spread devotion to that saint by publishing the prayer. But the idea that one MUST do so does indeed smack of superstition.

The ads list the prayer and then say that one must promise to publish. I will not ever do that. I pray lots of novenas, but not those newspaper ones.

The Apostles prayed for 9 days before Pentecost (after the Ascension) :slight_smile: --was that supestitious?

Not at all. The only novenas that I consider superstitious are the ones that say you must publish the prayer in a newspaper. That sounds almost like a chain letter.

I guess I didn’t make this clear enough in my first post, so here goes again. I do not believe Novenas are superstitious. I believe that believing they will definitely get you what you want, on or before the 9th day of praying them, may be superstitious.

i struggled a lot with this when i was going through my divorce (soon to be done… :slight_smile: ) … prayed so many novenas that i lost count… i believe now that though i prayed for reconciliation, God knew better and now that I have calmed down more, I know that this is the best thing that could have happened to me under the circumstances…

the point i am trying to make (in a very roundabout way) is that slowly through the prayers, HE was able to remove the desire from my heart… Novenas like any prayer changes you, not God’s will.

That is where the true understanding of what “answered prayer” actually entails. Sometimes we see the answer in what we “expect” to see or in the way that we “expect” our prayers to be answered. God ALWAYS answers prayer but maybe not the way we expect it to be answered or in the timeline that we think it should be. Maybe He seems to be saying “NO” to what we are praying for. That doesn’t mean He did not answer our prayer.
This is where trust in Him comes in. His will for us is PERFECT. How many times in my life have I looked back and said to Him, “thank you for not giving me what I was asking for! It would have been disastrous!”:eek: I guess that’s where the saying comes in; “Be careful what you pray for, you might just get it!” His will and His timeline is PERFECT for us, although, of course we don’t always see that at the time, and maybe we will not see it until we get to Heaven. But, yes indeed, He ALWAYS answers our prayers.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.