Many people pray novenas regularly. It is even easier now with Pray More Novenas sending them directly to your inbox. Last month had the novenas for St Jude and St Therese, among others.
St Therese is often said to have send people a rose to confirm their prayers were heard by God and will be “answered.” The title of this post is from a friend’s facebook status and lifted (although not in its entirety) with permission. She had never prayed this novena before but was urged to by friends and family members for a few intentions in her life. The last day of the novena she received a rose, I don’t have permission to share more details but it was unexpected and unusual in the way it happened.
And still, none of her intentions has come to pass.
No, she didn’t “pray it wrong.” I don’t know the answer as to why she got the rose but her intentions did not, but we have to consider the possibility that the rose means God heard and answered her prayers…and they answer was it wouldn’t happen immediately or the way she planned or no.
I will be honest, I’ve prayed a lot of novenas for a lot of intentions. Almost none of those intentions were happened the way I expected, if at all. To encourage people in their prayers, Pray More Novenas often sends out emails of positively answered prayers after or just before a novena. Last year another friend who had prayed for a safe pregnancy lost her baby the last day of the novena, she was extremely saddened reading how many people had prayed for a baby and found out they were pregnant the same time she lost her baby. We have to realize that even with intercession, God’s answers are rarely going to be our own. And even more rare do they show up on our timeline.
The rose or any “sign” attached to a novena can be troubling in a sense that people have the ability to hinge their faith on it. But what about people who had intentions answered positively and didn’t see or get a rose? We don’t want our expectations to be the personification of this Woody Allen quote: ‘If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss Bank.’ The rose and other tangible signs are great, but how often does God do that for any of us? Best not to get hung up on it.
Don’t stop praying novenas because God isn’t a genie who will grant you a wish…keep praying them to increase your faith and your reliance on Him. So many of the novena’s last day prayer includes something about giving us the grace and strength if the answer is no. Sometimes that’s incredibly difficult. And it’s then we must cling tighter and pray harder.