St Valentines Novena


Daily Novena Prayer for love

Day 1        6th February - Feast of Sts Paul Miki and Companions – Japanese Martyrs

Day 2        7th February - Feast of St Colette (a Poor Clare Saint)

Day 3        8th February

Day 4        9th February

Day 5        10th February   Feast of St Scholastica (a Benedictine Saint)

Day 6        11th February  Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (World day for the sick)

Day 7        12th February

Day 8        13th February

Day 9        14th February - St Valentines Day

Additional Love Prayers

Prayer for Friendship

Prayer for a Loving Marriage Partner

Prayer for Those with Marital Difficulties

A  “P.S” Prayer

 

Daily Novena Prayer for love
Heavenly Father, source of love and goodness.
Your Word promises that You will give us a new heart,
a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Give me a heart capable of truly loving.
Fill my heart with Your love so that I may see others
as You see them and be enabled to love them.
I know that true love is something of the will, a decision I make.
Take away any fear that is in my heart so that I may truly be free.
I also ask that others be given the grace to see beyond my faults to my true self,
so that I too, may receive love from those around me.
Heal my heart of all the times it has been hurt, times when I have felt taken for granted.
I also ask that You heal anyone that I have treated in that way.
In all my relationships, help me to have realistic expectations of others.
I ask all of this in Jesus name. Amen.

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Day 1     6th February - Feast of Sts Paul Miki and Companions – Japanese Martyrs

Optional Reflection –         Love is… patient

Patience means great serenity in the face of injury.  It implies, not only patience with others, but also, and what is perhaps hardest of all, patience with oneself.  Patience is creative and transforming.  In our dealings with others, however hurtful and unkind they are, we must exercise the same patience that God has exercised with us.  While we cannot achieve this by our own power, we should ask God to help us, so that we can really experience His peace.


“Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor disturbance” St. Francis

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Day 2     7th February - Feast of St Colette (a Poor Clare Saint)

Optional Reflection – Love is…Kind

Kindness has to do with being inclined to do good to others.  It actively reaches out beyond oneself.  Love is kind because it repays evil with good.  Far from being a sign of weakness, it is a sign of incredible inner strength. 

It was said of St. Francis, that 
“there were three things in him that corresponded to the divine - Beauty, Truth and Goodness:  He had a nature sensitive to beauty; a soul in love with an ideal; a heart inclined to kindness.”         St. Bonaventure 
It is perhaps what made St. Francis so appealing.  

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Day 3    8th February
Optional Reflection – Love is never jealous or boastful

It is not jealous because it covets nothing in this world; it has an inner contentment which knows that ‘enough is enough’.
It is not boastful, because it realises that everything is purely a gift from God.  We have done nothing to deserve God’s love

We must have… 
“the ability to see what is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God: not only as a gift for the brother or sister who has received it directly, but also as a ‘gift for me’.”         Pope St John Paul ll

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Day 4    9th February

Optional Reflection – Love is never rude or selfish

It is good to reflect on this as these days so much emphasis is placed on ‘self-fulfilment’ and ‘self-esteem’.  While it is important to have a healthy self esteem and value our own worth as children of God, it must also be borne in mind that “I” am not the centre of the universe!  The culture of today doesn’t help much; we are surrounded with things like ‘i-phones’, i-pods’, i-pads, etc.  The thing they all have in common is that they all revolve around ‘i’ (thankfully with a small ‘i!).  
However a life that constantly revolves around my needs and wants will never be a happy one.  True happiness and inner contentment can only be found in making a gift of myself to others.  It may involve becoming vulnerable, which is a risk, but it is the only way to wholeness and peace of heart.


“O Divine Master, 
grant that I may not so much seek 
to be consoled, as to console; 
to be understood as to understand; 
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life”
Prayer for peace, attributed to St Francis

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Day 5     10th February   Feast of St Scholastica (a Benedictine Saint)

Optional Reflection – Love …does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth.

…And the truth is that each of us is made in the image and likeness of God and are precious to Him.
His Word to you is, “You are precious in my eyes… and I love you” (Isaiah 43).  And God loves everyone this way.
So, we must look for and encourage the good in others

“Look only for good qualities in anyone you meet; you will find them.  Never look for faults, for you would find them.  Act thus, and you will easily develop the habit of love.” 
            Servant of God  Frank Duff

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Day 6   11th February  Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (World day for the sick)

Optional Reflection –  Love bears all things

This is about trying to see the ‘bigger picture’.  We know that the death of Jesus was all powerful and brought about the salvation of the whole world.  He could see beyond what others saw as failure, to a greater reality.   He has the power to transform things in our lives too, that seem like failures.  “We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28)
In our daily lives we ask for the grace to see that the everyday occurrences, when done in union with Him, have immense power.   Having experienced His love, we want our lives to have meaning. And so we try to bear all things in love, knowing that we console Him

“Love Him totally who gave Himself totally for your love.”  
St. Clare

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Day 7   12th February

Optional Reflection – Love is … always ready to hope

Hope believes when there is no reason to hope.  If it were seen, it would not be hope (and we may need to remind ourselves of this if we are going through a dark patch).  We need to cultivate hope in order not to give in to despair.  In pure hope we try to cultivate trust in God whom we do not see, simply because He loves us.
The image that comes to mind is of a parent encouraging their child to take the first steps and walk.  The child can’t yet walk, but the parent stands with arms outstretched , and coaxes.  The parent cannot actually make the child walk, but love, transmitting hope, imparts the trust the child needs to step out.  Love sees the potential and hopes.  When we trust God to do this for us, we blossom.  

Part of love is also seeing the potential in others.  Focussing on what is positive in others helps us to hope that what is good in them may flourish.  Doing this for others often liberates them from things by which they have been enslaved, in order to achieve their true potential.  

A miracle happens each time a seed of hope blossoms in a person’s heart; everything seems different even if nothing has actually changed.  To give hope to someone is the most beautiful gift that can be offered.  
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap

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Day 8   13th February

Optional Reflection – Love is… always ready to endure whatever comes

“Love is as strong as death” Song of Songs

This is the love that decides definitively for the other person.  It is the love that is professed in the marriage ceremony.  This love can say, “For better or for worse, in sickness or in health”, knowing that we do not know what lies ahead in the future, but that the future is in Gods hands and that He is love. 

It is encouraged in many ways in Scripture

Do not give up if trials come Romans 12:12,

Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patienceEphesians 4:2, etc.

When St Paul was struggling, the answer he got from the Lord was, “My grace is enough for you: My power is at its best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:8).

We need God’s grace to live like this.

“Mercy loves when love is not deserved”                                                

From “Calm the Soul”, by the Poor Clares

This is what we hope for from God.   May He give us the grace to live this out in our relations with others.

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Day 9  - St Valentines Day

Happy St Valentines Day!!!

Well done to all those who have been with us for the last nine days. 

We have been with you in prayer all along.

Optional Reflection – Day 9

We hope that you have seen an answer to your prayers!  And that you have found love or have come to a deeper appreciation of what love is.  To be loved and to love is at the core of what it means to be human.  We all need love.  So, it was good to have spent time looking at what love is and praying for it. 

St. Francis understood that the human person is “wired” for God; the desire for God is built into the structure of what it means to be a human.   If we seek love and wholeness we need to pay attention to our desires for they are the deepest cravings within us.  While desire is the first step to knowing God and thus the way to happiness, it can also be the root of sin and pain.  It is probably no coincidence that a high rate of depression and loneliness today relates to the misplaced desires of the human heart.  Tragically we often end up with experiences that leave us very hurt.

God’s love for you is a free gift, it is unconditional.  He loves you as you are right now.  We have to do nothing to earn this love.   When we truly allow ourselves to be touched by God, His love is healing in itself, because life and the way we view it, changes when we are loved. 

Listen to Him speaking words of love in Scripture and realise that they are addressed to you, personally.  As you hear God speak, allow the reality of His love for you to penetrate your heart. 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.  I still maintain my faithful love for you”. (Jer 31:3)

“You are precious in my eyes... and I love you”. (Isaiah 43:4)

All of us have accumulated hurts and burdens within us which may prevent us from really believing this. Also, our sins can become an obstacle to receiving God’s love.   God does not want us to be weighed down in this way.  Spend some time consciously thinking of what is weighing you down.   Realising that God is truly present when we call out to Him in prayer, hand over these hurts and burdens to Him.  The powerful healing Presence of Christ can be experienced in a particularly profound way, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where our sins are wiped away and we can make a fresh start.  So consider going to Confession.  

“Unload all your burdens on to him, since he is concerned about you.”

(1 Peter 5:7)

As you hand everything over to the Lord Jesus, invite Him to heal you in all the ways that you need healing: ask Him to fill you with His peace.

One of the great gifts of our Christian faith is that Jesus has shown us the way to true love. Let us ask Our Lady, as His mother and ours, to help us to be open to what God wants to give us.

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Additional Love Prayers

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, we give below some additional prayers for love in different areas of life.  You might find one that suits where you are at this point in time.  They are as follows:
Prayer for Friendship
Prayer for a Loving Marriage Partner
Prayer for Those with Marital Difficulties
A    “P.S.” Prayer 


Prayer for Friendship
Lord, friendship was always important to You and You turned to your friends for comfort in difficult moments.  I realise that friendship is a rare and special gift. 
I have so much to be grateful for but sometimes I feel that nobody loves, cares for or understands me.   I often feel lonely, sad and friendless.   Help me to move away from being preoccupied with these feelings.  Let me, rather, to focus on other people and on ways in which I can make the world a better place. You have said ‘Give and there will be gifts for you’ and ‘there is more happiness in giving than receiving’. 
I thank and praise You for the gift of life that You have given me and for so many other gifts….. (here you may like to list other things that you would like to thank God for) 
As I recall all that You have done for me in the past, help me treasure my friendship with You and trust that You will help me to experience true friendship in my life. Amen.

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Prayer for a Loving Marriage Partner
Heavenly Father,
The deepest desire of my heart is to meet someone
with whom I can share love. I would really love to get
married, to meet someone who could be a true soulmate,
someone I could love and cherish, as I wish to
be loved myself.
It seems so hard today. People are afraid of
commitment and, in truth, there is some fear in my
own heart.
So I ask You, Lord, to grant this desire of my heart
and let Your grace and love grow in me. I ask this in
Jesus’ name.   Amen.

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Prayer for Those with Marital Difficulties
Heavenly Father,
I thank You for my marriage partner, for the gift of our
married life together.
At this point in time, as You know, we are struggling.
And it can be so painful at times – to be living so
closely with someone and yet unable to communicate
in a constructive way.
I ask You to come into the situation.   
You are the third person in our marriage 
and we need Your grace to continue on.
Let Your Spirit of love and reconciliation 
renew and deepen our love for each other 
and help us to grow in trust.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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A  “P.S” Prayer
Lord Jesus,
There is something that continues to ache in my heart.   I have had the experience of love in my life ...of family, of friends...and yet as I consider my future, there is something that seems to say to me that that human love, beautiful and good and necessary as it is, will never fully satisfy me.
So Lord I ask you to guide me in my life.    Lead me in Your way.    Grant me the courage to say yes to whatever You want me to do.    Lead me into the fullness of Your love and make me an instrument of Your love for others. 
If You are calling me to a life of consecration to You in the priesthood or religious life, help me to respond wholeheartedly, and with love.
May Mary, Your Mother and mine help me to do ‘whatever You tell me’ (John 2:5) Amen

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Our vocation is a great gift


St. Clare