Advent isn’t always an easy season for single Catholic men and women to navigate.
Secular society jumps straight to Christmas by the time Thanksgiving is over (or earlier!). You might even feel alone as you enter into a season of preparation for Christmas. Perhaps you’re wondering if you’re the only one making space in the holiday busyness to prepare your heart for Christ’s coming.
The good news is that you’re not alone. All around the world, Catholics are thoughtfully entering into Advent preparations. Thankfully, there are so many rich spiritual practices that the Catholic Church gives us during the season of Advent. One of these spiritual practices is the Saint Andrew’s Novena. Well, this novena is actually more like a super-novena. It lasts much longer than nine days that novenas typically last.
The novena stretches throughout the entire length of Advent. It consists of a Nativity-centered prayer said multiple times each day. This means that the St. Andrew’s Novena can be a great practice to help us prepare well for the coming of Christ on Christmas.
What is St. Andrew’s Novena?
Advent doesn’t start on the exact same day every year. The feast of St. Andrew on November 30th helps determine when Advent starts each year. The Sunday that falls closest to this feast is the first Sunday of Advent.
The St. Andrew’s Novena begins on the feast day of St. Andrew and ends on Christmas day. Contrary to what its name seems to suggest, the St. Andrew’s Novena isn’t actually a prayer you say to St. Andrew, or even a prayer that St. Andrew wrote during his time here on earth.
St. Andrew is obviously a fantastic saint for us to get to know as single Catholic men and women. He was a personal friend of Jesus and left everything behind to follow him. But this particular prayer is actually focused on the birth of Christ, rather than on the saint whose feast day begins it.
Through this novena, you can pray that Christ grants your deepest needs and desires at the moment that you enter into the celebration of his birth at Christmas.
Here are the words used in the prayer:
“Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires…through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.”
This isn’t an easy novena
Even though the prayer itself isn’t overly long, there is a small catch to it, difficulty-wise: The novena prayer is said fifteen times each day.
With most novenas, you simply recite the prayer once per day over the course of nine days. Even if you’re used to praying regular novenas, a prayer said fifteen times per day for many days might sound a little daunting.
But there are a few simple methods you can try out to make sure you’re able to say it fifteen times each day.
- You could simply say the prayer all fifteen times at once each morning or evening throughout Advent. If you choose this method, you might also find that the words of the novena can be a helpful starting point for further prayer and meditation as you prepare for Christmas.
- You can make tally marks on paper or in a note in your phone each time you remember throughout the day to say it. Then, at the end of each day, you can check your tally marks to make sure you’ve gotten all fifteen of them in.
- Or perhaps the easiest way to make sure to say the prayer all fifteen times would be to break it into three groups of five. Many Catholics who try to pray the Angelus regularly each day set alarms on their phones for 6 am, 12 noon, and 6 pm to remember to pray the Angelus. You could consider taking up the Angelus and adding in these prayers each time, or simply setting your alarm three times per day to say five sets of the novena prayer.
Saying a prayer fifteen times a day is a big commitment. This is especially true if your daily schedule as a single Catholic man or woman is busy However, it’s a great way to help you return your focus back to God. After all, this season is all about preparing our hearts for his birth.
What should you pray for?
The St. Andrew’s Novena a good Advent prayer that helps you focus your days on preparing for the momentous occasion. But it’s also a way to ask God throughout the Advent season for what you need.
There are many things you can bring as intentions to this novena, such as the needs of family members, conversion of friends, or your own temporal needs.
Or you might consider using this novena to ask God to send you the future spouse you have been longing to meet and trying to find.
This novena is thought to be a very powerful prayer. Tradition holds that your requests will be answered if you pray this novena with devotion. It is possible that God might answer your prayers in a way or a time that you weren’t expecting.
If you do pray for your future spouse and are disappointed to reach the Christmas season with no sight of him or her, don’t despair.
Even if it seems like God has not heard your prayers in the St. Andrew Christmas Novena, have faith that he has indeed heard you. It might feel difficult, but trust that he is lovingly preparing to give you all that you need.
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