Category Archives: Faith/Theology/Spirituality

Impossible: Day 9

Well friends, we are there!  We have reached the ninth day of our novena.

The prayers, as always, are found here.

I don’t know how this one will end – for me or for you.  Know that I have been praying for your intentions as well as my own and that I am grateful for all of your prayers for me.

I will share that many years ago I prayed this exact novena for a special cause.  On the ninth day in the evening I stood face to face with the woman I would marry.  And yes, I knew at that moment that my prayer had been heard and answered favorably.

St. Rita, advocate of impossible causes, pray for us!

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Impossible: Day 8

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What will it be?

There is a point when driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, well past the mosaic tiled state line divider that always amused me as a boy, where the bright fluorescent lights mounted to the ceiling give way to the grayish light gently streaming into view in the distance.  It is exactly and not proverbially the light at the end of the tunnel.  Even though the tunnel lights are somehow reassuring – bright, constant, warm – in contrast to the uncertainty of the “natural” light ahead, there is a real sense that the light ahead is just that – natural.  Whether it be bright sunshine densely packing a deep blue sky powered by high pressure or faltering light struggling to find the room to breathe in a sky choked cold with winter’s thin and biting air; that light is still natural.  Natural is always preferable to artifice.  As I reflect on the sentences preceding this one I am struck by how forced and formulaic they are.  My apologies.

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St. Rita, pierced with a thorn, pray for us!

The novena we’ve been praying, found here, is drawing to a close.  The thing is that the light at the end of the tunnel is scary.  I’m confident it will be natural but what will it look like?  I have a vision in my mind of what I want it to look like but God painted that sky and it might be nothing like what I’m looking for.  It might even be darkness dotted by even more man-made lights.  And that can be pretty too.  Many times I emerged from the Tunnel at night to be surrounded by high rise buildings lit up like Christmas trees.  There’s a real beauty in that.

The point is that ultimately I’m still going to drive forward.  We shall see what awaits us.  Until the end, though, know that I am praying your light will be as impossibly marvelous as mine will be.

Impossible: Day 7

Posting a little late…

On day 7 of our novena to St. Rita, found here, we continue to pray for my intention and yours.

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Mom, my niece (named after my mom), and my son with St. Rita standing guard.  From an elevator in the National Shrine of St. Rita, Philadelphia.

The reason I’m posting the next morning is because I was out at the airport last night picking up a very special guest.  My mom flew into town for a few weeks.  And there’s a big connection here (other than the obvious).

My mother it the one who first introduced me to St. Rita!  The story she always tells is that when she was about to make her confirmation way back in 1946 she was searching for a saint to take as a patron.  Wanting to impress her mother, she took the name of a visiting aunt who happened to be named Rita.  There are worse reasons to pick a saint.  The point is that many years later when I was in 8th grade I read a story about St. Rita in a book on Catholic world culture and remembered my mom’s connection.  Years after that, with both of us having a “fascination” about the saint of the impossible we discovered that her national shrine was a mere hour and a half away from home.  We took a trip to visit and the devotion was established.

St. Rita, help of those in need, pray for us!

Impossible: Day 6

More than halfway there in our novena to the saint of the impossible.  I hope that those of you who have been praying with me have been able to set your heart on the goal of peace.  As much as she is a saint of impossible causes, Rita’s entire life speaks of a desire for interior peace, peace in one’s family life, and peace in the world.

In the prayers, found here, we read:

“St. Rita, generous in forgiving, pray for us!”

Often times the first step to accepting the peace of Christ is imitating Our Lord in forgiving those who have wronged us.

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“I would like a rose… and some figs.”

Tonight’s image of Rita comes once again from the beautiful stained glass windows found in the Shrine in Philadelphia.  This one depicts Rita on her deathbed, thorn ground deeply into her head.  Look closely and you will notice a bright red rose laying delicately on her lap.  The rose is a powerful symbol of God’s power to make possible that which is impossible to human skill and effort.

Impossible: Day 5

Our novena continues.  Click here for the prayers.

I prayed mine this afternoon on my drive home from work and I thought of each of you joining me and I prayed for your intentions.  St. Rita will come through for us.  I am confident.

With that in mind, a friend who has been praying with us shared the following picture.  She captioned it thus:

“Thought you might like seeing the image of her inside of the devotional handed down to me. The copyright says April 1924!”

 rita advocate

Impossible: Day 4

Our novena continues in day 4.  The prayers can be found here.

After posting last night I reached out to the blogger from whom I had borrowed the picture of the statue of St. Rita.  That blogger wrote back with the generous permission to use the image and a beautiful note about being a fellow devotee of our saint of the impossible.  Please continue to pray for me as I am praying for a now-growing list of your intentions.

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Icon of St. Rita including her symbols – the rose and thorn.

Impossible: Day 3

It’s the third day of our novena to St. Rita, patron of impossible causes.

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Beautiful statue of St. Rita

Tonight I wanted to continue to offer my thanks for those of you who are praying with me and to assure you again of my prayers for you.

I also want to take a moment to say something about one particular line in the novena.

In the Litany of St. Rita we encounter the line

“St. Rita Persevering in Prayer, pray for us!”

Hard as it is sometimes, we must never give up on prayer.  To do so would be like deciding to stop talking to someone because of a perceived lack of attention or, worse yet, unfriending someone because he or she didn’t hit “like” enough times.

Keep praying with me.

Thanks!

PS: The image of the statue in this post is taken from a blog I came across while searching for images of St. Rita.  That blog can be found here.  I happily recommend the author’s original post and the prayer contained therein.  I have received the author’s permission to use the image.