“Children. The Sick. — As you write these words, don’t you feel tempted to use capitals? The reason is that in children and in the sick a soul in love sees Him.” The Novena for the Sick, with many quotes from St. Josemaria’s writings, encourages accepting suffering with a Christian spirit, uniting it to Christ’s passion and death, and asks God for a cure if such be his will.
Ever since St Josemaria died on June 26, 1975, hundreds of people have written about favors they have received through his intercession: material help, conversions, firm decisions to return to the practice of the Faith, and also the healing of people who were sick.
The person who composed the three novenas, Fr Francisco Faus, explained: “What moved me to write the three novenas to St Josemaria was my love for the founder of Opus Dei. I lived near him for two years in Rome (from October 1953 to July 1955) and then in Brazil during May-June 1974). That was an inestimably great grace for me.”
Fr Francisco continued: “This filial love for someone I always saw as a father – the Father –, and the devotion which, like thousands of others, I feel for him, impelled me to prepare these novenas and circulate them. I thought they might be a popular, simple, accessible way of introducing many people to St Josemaria’s teachings and to his intercession and help.”
The Novena for the Sick
The Novena for the Sick, with many quotes from St. Josemaria’s writings, helps one to accept suffering with a Christian spirit, uniting it to Christ’s passion and death, and asks God for a cure if such be his will.
Drawing from sickness and suffering he experienced in his own life and in the lives of those he served through his priestly ministry, St. Josemaria explained that, “Suffering is part of God’s plans. This is the truth, however difficult it may be for us to understand it. It was difficult for Jesus Christ the man to undergo his passion: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours be done.” In this tension of pleading and acceptance of the Father’s will, Jesus goes calmly to his death, pardoning those who crucify him.
This supernatural acceptance of suffering was, precisely, the greatest of all conquests. By dying on the cross Jesus overcame death. God brings life from death. The attitude of a child of God is not one of resignation to a possibly tragic fate; it is the sense of achievement of someone who has a foretaste of victory. In the name of this victorious love of Christ, we Christians should go out into the world to be sowers of peace and joy through everything we say and do. We have to fight — a fight of peace — against evil, against injustice, against sin. Thus do we serve notice that the present condition of mankind is not definitive. Only the love of God, shown in the heart of Christ, will attain the glorious spiritual triumph of men” (Christ is Passing By, 168).
Through the teaching and example of St. Josemaria, theNovena for the Sick by Fr. Francisco Faus invites those who are suffering from physical sickness, or any form of sickness, to turn to prayer—to God—to find peace and meaning. The novena is also helpful for those who are accompanying a loved one during a difficult time and are praying for their recovery.
The novena contains daily reflections from the writings of St. Josemaria, prayers for recovery from sickness, and the Prayer for the Intercession of St. Josemaria.
(To be said on nine consecutive days)
O merciful Infant Jesus! I know of your miraculous deeds for the sick. How many diseases You cured during Your blessed life on earth, and how many venerators of Your miraculous Image ascribe to You their recovery and deliverance from most painful and hopeless maladies. I know, indeed, that a sinner like me has merited his sufferings and has no right to ask for favours. But in view of the innumerable graces and the miraculous cures granted even to the greatest sinners through the veneration of Your holy Infancy, particularly in the miraculous statue of Prague or in representations of it, I exclaim with the greatest assurance: O most loving Infant Jesus, full of pity, You can cure me if You will! Do not hesitate, O Heavenly Physician, if it be Your Will that I recover from this present illness; extend Your most holy hands, and by Your power take away all pain and infirmity, so that my recovery may be due, not to worldly remedies, but to You alone. If, however, You in Your inscrutable wisdom have determined otherwise, then at least restore my soul to perfect health, and fill me with heavenly consolation and blessing, that I may be like You, O Jesus, in my sufferings, and may glorify Your providence until, at the death of my body, You bestow on me eternal life.