Thursday, June 03, 2010

Not Superstition!

The following advertisments appeared scattered throughout EoR's local newspaper this week. The advertisements appear without any source or explanation.

A novena, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia is

A nine days' private or public devotion in the Catholic Church to obtain special graces. (...) Catholics know from their own experience that the novena is no pagan, superstitious custom, but one of the best means to obtain signal heavenly graces through the intercession of Our Lady and all the saints. The novena of prayer is thus a kind of prayer which includes in it, so to speak, as a pledge of being heard, confidence and perseverance, two most important qualities of efficacious prayer.

The instructions for the Novena Prayer to Saint Anthony seem long and convuluted, while Saint Theresa has a far more devil-may-care attitude:

Sometimes, just a long personal talk with St. Therese, in your own words and from your heart, is just as powerful. Therese proposes and used a very simple spirituality. While some people have proposed that certain prayers must be said at certain times and before certain hours, and connected with other prayers, this is not Therese's "little way". She took seriously Jesus' request that we not use lots of words, but rather pray to God our Father in simple, hidden and honest ways. Because a certain formula, place or time works for someone, it should not be canonized as the way to pray. Some people do a real disservice to Therese and her devoted friends by surrounding her and devotion to Therese with superstition. It is not important or even significant that a certain novena prayer be said before a certain hour or in conjunction with other prayers. This is nothing but superstition, not piety, as are chain letters, etc., which seem to be popular.

Of course, the ability to replace tubercular lungs with a shiny new fully-functioning set is not superstition. That's apparently 'supernatural' only.

What EoR finds most amusing, if these are indeed public prayers from some person of faith, is that the "make your petition here" and "mention here" references haven't been replaced with the appropriate peititon.

Since saints appear to have time to peruse community newspapers as well as curing the dying, EoR presumes they supernaturally intuit the petitioner's request. That would be a pious act. And not at all superstitious.

1 comment:

  1. Well may you smirk but I got up this morning to find the entire suburb littered with bloody roses!

    I don't suppose someone wants to beg for Therese/Theresa to come and clean up her mess.

    What intrigues me with these things is the perceived apathy of these saints who we apparently have to plead with in order to get them to do the things they promised to do.

    Are they all nine year olds?


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