Friday, June 17, 2011

A Novena And A Passport

St. Anthony was a traveler as were so many of the saints. Although profoundly associated with Padua in Italy, he was born in Portugal (known as Lusitania in the Latin of the Catholic Church). That meant dealing with changes, transition, and, of course, loss. For modern travelers, all that is still the case. But some losses can threaten the experience itself. Hence the intervention of a holy fellow traveler: “Hi. My name is Gregory and I'm currently based in India. It was in the month of October 2008 while I was traveling by bus from my work place to home in Dubai, UAE that I lost my passport which was kept in my trousers pocket. I searched frantically high and low at all the places I walked along on the way to the bus stop. I was worried for about two weeks and did not inform my wife as she would get very upset...I was equally tense as we were about to cancel our employment visas as my wife, daughter and myself had decided to come down and settle in India by the last week of December 2008. Then someone advised me to recite St. Anthony's Novena for 9 days starting from Tuesday. I did so and guess what, after the 9 days I visited the Police Station and to my utter surprise I found my Passport with the Police Officer at the Police Station.
I truly consider St. Anthony to be a very powerful saint as he is very good in helping you find things which you have lost. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share this experience of mine with you.” Gregory had recourse to a Novena, which is an ancient form of prayer over nine days. The original Novena was that of the disciples of the Jesus Christ who waited and prayed with his Mother, Mary, for nine days, following the Lord’s Ascension. That Novena was followed by the overwhelming spiritual explosion of Pentecost--an event which turned those disciples into travelers, carriers of the faith and presence of Christ into the world. Most often today, a Novena involves a prayer that is repeated over nine days for a specific intention. Some Novenas follow formulas, others are quite spontaneous. Regardless, a Novena is a way of praying that goes back to Mary, the Apostles and the other earliest followers of the Lord--and can help all of us, who are lost travelers at times, find our way.