Monday 28 June 2021

Handbook of Scriptural Novenas - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston and Raymond Edwards - CTS Devotions

Handbook of Scriptural Novenas
For Various Needs and Intentions
Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Raymond Edwards
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784690663
eISBN 9781784694302
CTS Booklet D798

I picked this up after reading and preparing reviews for the companion volumes:

All three Hanbooks of Novena’s are great booklets. It is the eighth volume from Glynn MacNiven-Johnston that I have read, and the sixth from Raymond Edwards. Over the last several years I have read almost 200 books from the Catholic Truth Society. They have many great series, and books. And the CTS Devotions is among my favourites. The description of this booklet is:

“These newly composed novena prayers present figures from Scripture form whom we learn lessons in faith and prayer. The situations and difficulties they faced frequently mirror our own worries and concerns. Thus Hannah prays for the gift of children, Job learns to be honest with God, Martha complains that she does all the work, Deborah and Barak learn what to do when overwhelmed, and Jonah too when God's plan doesn't seem to make sense. These and other figures open the Scriptures to us, and we learn more of the Novenas as a form of prayer.”

The chapters in this booklet are:
Immaculate Conception
Sacred Heart
Exaltation of the Cross
Christ the King

In the introduction we are told:

“The novenas in this book are slightly different. They focus on particular figures from the Bible, most from the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures) because from the start, the Christian life has been lived after the model of the Old Covenant. 4 Scripture is a record of God’s mighty deeds with his people, which are the pattern for his deeds with us today. Biblical figures are not given to us for our imitation, not in all the details of their lives (King David was a murderer and an adulterer, Jacob deceived his father and cheated his brother, Jonah was grumpy and rebellious) but rather in one particular - their ability to accept, often after a struggle, the action of God in their lives, and his will for them. This acceptance, however it was mediated and however it played out, allowed their lives to assume a particular shape and conform to the providential pattern God intended.”

We are also informed in the introduction that:

“There are many different sorts of novena; you can make a novena using any prayer you want: the main thing is to pray it regularly for nine days in a row. Nevertheless most people will make a novena using a prayer composed for the purpose. Some novena prayers are long, and may include litanies, or meditations; others are short. You can make a novena using the same prayer nine times, or nine different prayers, one for each day. There are no rules; what follows are only suggestions.”

And they are some wonderful suggestions. I have set calendar reminder’s to do a few of these Novena’s over the next year. There is also a companion volume we are informed:

“Many novenas (including those in the companion volumes Handbook of Novenas to the Saints (CTS, 2010) and Handbook of Scriptural Novenas (CTS, 2015)) ask the intercession of a particular saint or biblical figure for whatever our intention may be. As well as interceding (praying) on our behalf, the saints are also examples of how the Christian life has been lived.”

At the end of the introduction is a section called How To Use This Booklet and it states:

“Each novena in this booklet focuses on one or more figures from the Bible. You may want to read the relevant passages from Scripture, so at the start of each novena we have said where these can be found. You do not have to read these passages before making a novena; but you may find it helpful. Then each novena is arranged into nine days. For each day, there is a short passage of Scripture, then a short reflection and prayer. 

On each day of the novena, say these, and add your particular intention, if you have one; then say the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. Do this on each of the nine days. 

You may find it helpful to keep a short time of silence after reading the passage from Scripture. Scripture is the Word of God; God speaks to us through it. But to hear what he wants to say to us, we need to be quiet and listen. We may have much to say to God; he surely has something to say to us.”

The novena’s included are:

Moses - discerning and accepting our vocation 
Elijah - finding strength in God 
Tobit - Marriage Hannah - the gift of children 
Joseph & his brothers - for peace in the family 
David & Absalom and the Prodigal Son - estranged children 
Martha - being the one that does all the work 
Ruth and Naomi - feeling abandoned and forgotten 
Deborah and Barak - when things seem too much for us. 
Jonah - when God’s plan doesn’t seem to make sense 
Job - being honest with God
Abraham - old age

We have 11 excellent novenas. This is an wonderful little volume. A great book to have in your collection. And pray the novena’s around specific needs. It is an excellent resource that I highly recommend. And you will likely want to pick up the companion volumes as they are just as good.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Glynn MacNiven-Johnston:
Maria Goretti Teenage Martyr
Pier Giorgio Frassati Inspiration for Students
Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers
Martin de Porres

Rita of Cascia 

Prayer Books:
Handbook of Novenas for Feasts and Seasons
Devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
The Infant of Prague
Handbook of Novenas to the Saints: Short Prayers for Needs & Graces
Handbook of Scriptural Novenas: For Various Needs and Intentions
Devotion to St Jude: Patron of Hopeless Cases

A Book of Novenas

Books by Dr Raymond Edwards:
Catholic Traditionalism
The Dowry of Mary 
Handbook of Novena to the Saints
Handbook of Novenas for Feasts and Seasons
Handbook of Scriptural Novenas for Various Needs and Intentions
J.R.R. Tolkien - His Life, Work & Faith
Prayer on the Go
A Simple Glossary of Catholic Terms
Stories of World War I
The Miraculous Medal
The Reformation in England
A Book of Novenas

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