Immaculate Conception Novena: Day 1

29 Nov 2018

Immaculate Conception Novena 2018

The reflections for this year’s Immaculate Conception Novena are taken from Pope Francis’s messages for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 World Youth Days.  He chose three Marian themes for young people to reflect on because of hishope for young people and for all that we “will continue to press forward, not only cherishing the memoryof the past, but also [moving] with couragein the present and hopefor the future.  These attitudes were certainly present in the young Mary of Nazareth and are clearly expressed in the themes chosen for the three coming World Youth Days. [For 2017] we will reflect on the faith of Mary, who says in the Magnificat: ‘The Mighty One has done great things for me’ (Lk 1:49).  The theme for 2018 – ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God’ (Lk 1:30) – will lead us to meditate on the courageous charity with which the Virgin welcomed the message of the angel. The 2019 World Youth Day will be inspired by the words ‘I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word’ (Lk1:38), Mary’s hope-filled reply to the angel.”

As the Salesian Family prepares to celebrate the beginning of Don Bosco’s mission under Mary’s guidance, may Mary’s example and intercession continue to guide us on our journeys, and may the Holy Father’s reflections help us in our accompaniment of young people on their vocational journeys.

Elements for the Novena

– Reading of the day (see below)
– Moment of silence
– Intentions (particularly when the novena is not a part of or does not follow communal praying of Evening Prayer)
– Prayer: Act of Veneration to the Immaculate Virgin Mary (see below)
– Invocation: Mary Immaculate, Help of Christians, pray for us

Reading of the Day: 

Day 1 – November 29: “The Mighty One has done great things for me”

When Mary has received the message of the angel and said “yes” to the call to become the Mother of the Savior, Mary is very young.  What she was told is a great gift, but it also entails great challenges. The Lord assured her of his presence and support, yet many things remain obscure in her mind and heart. Yet Mary does not shut herself up at home or let herself be paralyzed by fear or pride.  She is no couch potato!  If her elderly cousin needs a hand, she does not hesitate, but immediately sets off.

It was a long way to the house of Elizabeth, about 90 miles.  But the young woman from Nazareth, led by the Holy Spirit, knows no obstacles.  Surely, those days of journeying helped her to meditate on the marvelous event of which she was a part.  So it is with us, whenever we set out on pilgrimage.  Along the way, the events of our own lives come to mind, we learn to appreciate their meaning, and we discern our vocation, which then becomes clear in the encounter with God and in service to others.

Act of Veneration to the Immaculate Virgin Mary (Pope Francis, December 8, 2013)

Virgin most holy and immaculate, to you, the honor of our people,
and the loving protector of our Church,
do we turn with trust and love.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary! In you there is no stain of sin.

Awaken in all of us a renewed desire for holiness:
may the splendor of truth shine forth in our words,
the song of charity resound in our works,
purity and chastity abide in our bodies and hearts,
and the full beauty of the Gospel be evident in our lives.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you the Word of God became flesh.

Help us always to heed the Lord’s voice:
may we never be indifferent to the cry of the poor,
or untouched by the sufferings of the sick and those in need;
may we be moved by the loneliness of the elderly
and the vulnerability of children,
and always love and respect the life of every human being.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you is the fullness of joy born of a blessed life with God.

Help us never to forget the meaning of our earthly journey:
may the kindly light of faith illumine our days,
the comforting power of hope direct our steps,
the contagious warmth of love stir our hearts;
and may our gaze be fixed on God, in whom true joy is found.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
Listen to our prayer, graciously hear our plea:
may the beauty of God’s merciful love in Jesus remain in us,
and may this divine beauty save us,
our Church and the entire world.  Amen.