novenas & prayers & things

I feel like I have made repeated reference to this conversation I had a couple of months ago. It was via text message and with the co-worker-turned-friend who has become my prayer partner. Around January, she and I realized that there was some greater message that we were missing. It all came together in that aforementioned conversation.

I don’t think, though, that I have talked about what happened the next day. When I walked into her classroom, she had novenas in her hand. Printed from the internet.

I haven’t prayed a novena since I was 14. I remember the last time clearly. We lived in walking distance from a church so I actually prayed it in the church every day for nine days. My mom would walk with me. I don’t know what she did, but I would kneel in the front of the church and cry as I prayed.

The other thing I haven’t done since I was 14 is pray the rosary. My whole family used to pray it together after dinner. I’ve only prayed it since at funerals.

The unfortunate thing is that both of these things, particularly the St. Jude novena, are associated with negative memories in my mind.

In the past few months, I have learned to combine the two with my Ignatian practice of the examination of consciousness–yea, like to be alive. When I started that seven years ago, I would spend five minutes doing it. A few months ago, it was about 30 minutes.

Then, yesterday morning, I thought I would flip the order of my day and do the prayer first. An hour and a half. It was pretty awesome.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me how I pray. I retold the advice that was given to me by a spiritual advisor two years ago. He said that if we truly believe that God is within us, then our only task in praying is to still ourselves long enough to hear the voice of God.

And when I read “The Valkyries” and learned of another’s interpretation of that “second mind,” it made me feel a huge sense of peace. Especially in the wake of my dreams.

So, when my friend walked me home, he asked what I was going to do for the next few weeks. I said that I thought I needed to find my guardian angel (you have to read the book for that to make sense). And as he crossed the street, he shouted, “your angel is always there. Just remember you have to still yourself long enough.”

So, I am grateful to my friend (who is probably sipping a martini on the beach in the south of France as I type) for handing me the novenas. My friend for tattooing the Blessed Mother onto his arm to remind me to pray the rosary every time I see him. And my friend who is so in tune with my soul that he knows when to remind me of what I already know and point me in the direction of things I don’t.

Prayer. Indeed.

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