I have never attempted the St. Andrew Novena until this Advent season. The novena, traditionally started on St. Andrew’s feast day which is Nov. 30, actually runs for 25 days – Nov. 30-Dec. 24. Not only is this a longer than usual novena (novenas are typically 9 days long), it is also a rather demanding novena. You pray the same prayer 15 times each day. I really wanted to spread the 15 times throughout the day, filling my whole day with prayer, rather than sitting down and saying the same prayer 15 times in one sitting. To accomplish this, I found a simple version of the prayer to put on my phone as a lock screen and had a counter widget that I could click to keep track of where I was during the day. (The widget app is called Counter Widget for iPhone users. I’m not sure if there is an Android version but even if it isn’t this particular app, there ought to be something you can use).
I did not expect to love this novena as much as I did. I found myself praying it almost without thinking. Do you know how you will be singing a song in your head for a while but not be fully conscious of it, and then you suddenly realize you’re singing along? That’s what was happening. These words were becoming a part of me, even deeper than fully conscious thought. I had LASIK surgery during the second half of Advent and the whole time I was having the procedure, this prayer was running through my head over and over and over. It kept me calm, it kept me secure in myself. I’m not sure how I would have made it without this prayer.
As Advent is drawing to a close, I have been feeling a little anxious about letting this prayer go. What’s going to fill its space? I have enjoyed having this special and unique prayer to help focus my month and I’m hungry for more.
I’m not sure I will ever adequately put into words just how grateful I am for all the little details the Holy Spirit has inspired within the Catholic Church. Did you know that even the months of the year have their own unique devotions? Here’s a quick list:
- January – The Holy Name of Jesus
- February – The Holy Family
- March – St. Joseph
- April – The Holy Spirit
- May – The Blessed Virgin Mary
- June – The Sacred Heart of Jesus
- July – The Precious Blood of Jesus
- August – The Immaculate Heart of Mary
- September – Our Lady of Sorrors
- October – The Rosary
- November – The Holy Souls in Purgatory
- December – Advent and the Coming of Christ at Christmas
The Holy Spirit really sparked this idea in me because, in a flurry of typing, I went from, “Well this are nice” to “Oh my gosh I need to make lock screen wallpapers for every month so everyone who wants to pray in this way can have one too!”
So here they are. 11 of my own creations, courtesy of Canva’s design space, free for you to download. The 12th is the lock screen wallpaper I am using this Advent from The Simple Saints website. Big thank you to them for inspiring my Advent this year. I will be using this wallpaper again next year (I chose the blue one with the stars if you’re curious).
I think I’m going to be sticking with the 15 times a day model. That seems to be doable for me. It’s often enough I have to keep it at the forefront of my mind but not so often I find myself running through the repetitions just to achieve a magic number.
If I’ve inspired you to consider trying out praying this way, I’m so excited for you! I intentionally did not put the month on the individual wallpapers so if you find one you want to pray with for longer, you don’t have to try to edit anything. Or, if a prayer really speaks to you and it doesn’t exactly line up with it’s designated month, that’s ok! The Holy Spirit moves us as He will and it’s not always according to a calendar (just ask my editor at Catholicmom.com and how many day-of-deadline posts I send her because the inspiration wasn’t exactly timely).
I’m not sure I will get out another post before the end of the year. Perhaps, I have an idea mulling around that came to me while trying to equally divide pumpkin zucchini bread batter into 2 loaf pans and wondering about how recipe creators account for the waste left in the pan, on the spoon, and on licked toddler fingers…..hmmm. Just how used to having “waste” or “extra” are we and do we carry that influence into our spiritual journey?
With that, may you all have a very Merry Christmas and a joyful start to your New Year! May Christ’s everlasting peace be with you and yours in this Christmas season.
Remember, December’s wallpaper comes from The Simple Saints website. Not sponsored, but if for some reason these wallpapers or prayers do not work for you and you want to try your hand at designing, everything you see here I made using the free images and templates available on Canva.com. It’s fun to play around with and you just might find something that fits you more perfectly than what I’ve created here. Here’s to a Year of Prayer!