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4/16/2002     What Happens After 9 Days?
   
One of the most common misunderstandings about the way a Novena works has to do with what happens when it's over.  Some people feel that the Novena is a separate, stand-alone event that happens in a vacuum.  It's as if we are happily humming along in our lives until a problem arises.  Then when we feel it's beyond our control or means to resolve, we turn to St. Jude to "save the day".  We diligently say our Novena for 9 days, and then hope a miracle will happen.  If it eventually does, our normal reaction is to say thanks, but eventually we find ourselves back "in control" of our lives (until the pressures of daily life take over  and we find ourselves struggling at some point again, at which time the pattern is repeated.)

Unfortunately, this approach misses the spirit of the Novena, and more importantly, denies us of some truly special gifts.  Rather than a special occasion, a Novena should be an integral part of the arsenal we use in dealing with life's everyday battles.  While St. Jude has the reputation as being the "saint of last resort",  there is certainly no rule that says you can't call on him for more mundane help, when you're down, need some extra support or comfort, or just plain feel confused. 

Likewise, the Novena itself should be seen as marking a new beginning in your life.  While praying the Novena, take the opportunity to really reflect on your life, where you are at,  and where you want to be.  In fact, God wants you to CONTINUE having an open, loving communication long after the 9 days of praying
are over.

So, if you are a regular follower of St. Jude who has said Novena's before, consider how you can better integrate the  comfort and support of St. Jude and the love of God in your daily life.  And if this is your first Novena, try to look at this beautiful 9 day prayer as a new start, a new outlook, and a new life for you, one that will last a long time after the Novena has been said.


Best regards,

Daniel

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