An Autumn Rain

A Novena With the Blessed Virgin Mary

Day 1 – Nazareth

Coming into God’s Presence

Before praying, we become aware of God’s presence and His plan for us.

We are a tiny speck in the middle of a huge universe. It’s amazing to think that the all powerful God cares about our life and what we do. He doesn’t force or demand us to do His will. He gives an invitation in the silence of our hearts. Before coming to prayer, we take a moment to check the dispositions of our hearts. Are we aware that He is present now, waiting for us? Are we open to hearing His will? Are we ready to do it? “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.”

We take a few moments in silence to become aware of God’s presence.


+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Mary, you embraced God’s invitation to become His mother

// Teach us to embrace the Father’s plan

Mary, you offered yourself as the handmaid of the Lord

// Teach us to embrace the Father’s plan

Mary, you chose to follow the Lord into the unknown

// Teach us to embrace the Father’s plan

Jesus, You invited a simple girl to be a part of our redemption

// Teach us to embrace the Father’s plan

Jesus, You became man through the power of the Holy Spirit

// Teach us to embrace the Father’s plan

Jesus, You took Your place in Mary’s womb

// Teach us to embrace the Father’s plan

Optional Study: Embracing God’s Will

For people who want to delve deeper in their knowlege of and love for Our Lady.

Click here to jump to the study

Sacred Scripture – The Annunciation

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (1:28-38)

And coming to her, [the angel Gabriel] said, ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.’ […] But Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?’ And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.’ […] Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’

The Gospel of the Lord // Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ

Reading Options

Pseudo-Chrysostom, On the Annunciation to the Mother of God and Against the Impious Arius

The Lord is with You! He who is everywhere is in you; he is with you, and he comes from you, the Lord in heaven, the Most High in the abyss, the Creator of all, Creator above the cherubim, Charioteer above the seraphim, Son in the womb of the Father, Only-begotten in your womb, the Lord—he knows how—entirely everywhere and entirely in you […] 

Receiving the angel’s words with a good disposition, she answers him: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word (Lk 1:38). As a handmaid, I submit to the Lord’s orders; as clay, I entrust myself to the hands of the Potter; let the Craftsman realize his design in me, according to his authoritative will; let him miraculously bring about the extraordinary pregnancy in me, in conformity with his love for men…

Navarre Bible Commentary on the Gospel of Lk 1:30, 38

The Annunciation is the moment when our Lady is given to know the vocation which God planned for her from eternity. When the archangel sets her mind at ease by saying “Do not be afraid, Mary,“ he is helping her to overcome that initial fear which a person normally experiences when God gives him or her a special calling.
Once she learns of God’s plan, our Lady yields to God’s will with prompt obedience, unreservedly. She realizes the disproportion between what she is going to become—the Mother of God—and what she is—a woman. However, this is what God wants to happen and for him nothing is impossible, and therefore no one should stand in his way. So Mary, combining humility and obedience, responds perfectly to God’s call: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.“

Interior Dialogue: Conversation Starters

We take time for a peaceful moment to converse with God.

Lord Jesus, You chose Mary and prepared her in a special way to cooperate with Your divine plan, which opened the gates of heaven to all who believe. How have You also prepared me to participate in Your plan for salvation? Where are You asking me to say yes with humility, faith, and gratitude?

Pause for personal prayer

Lord Jesus, You ask us to trust Your divine plan with faith, especially when we cannot see where that will lead us. Are there areas of my life where I need more trust? How are You asking me to let go of my human security?

Pause for personal prayer

Lord Jesus, am I grateful for the gifts You have given me? Do I follow the Church’s teachings even when they contradict my plans? Where do I need to trust You more?

Pause for personal prayer


Contemplating the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we reflect on our place in God’s design for salvation and ask for the faith to embrace God’s plan, as we pray

// Lord, fill us with faith

For those of us who struggle to embrace our talents with humility, that we might learn to use the gifts God has given us for the benefit of all. Let us pray

// Lord, fill us with faith

For all Christian families, that we might accept God’s will as the surest path to peace, happiness, and holiness. Let us pray

// Lord, fill us with faith

For all those who don’t believe in God, that they would come to understand the plan that God has for their redemption and eternal happiness. Let us pray

// Lord, fill us with faith

Let us pause to ask God to show us where we can grow.

Silently add your own personal petitions.

Let us pray

// Lord, fill us with faith

A Traditional Prayer: From the Angelus

11th Century, Monastic Custom, Europe

Together we pray:

Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts: that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen

Closing Prayer

Let us pray,

Holy Spirit, sweet guest of our souls, we renew our faith that You are present in our lives and in the Church. We trust that You are guiding us, and that You will always guide us until the end of time. We love You because You have loved us first. You are the best of friends and the greatest support in our troubles. We thank You for Your strength, guidance, and peace. We beg You for the courage to let You into our lives completely. Help us rediscover Your amazing love and enkindle our hearts to love each other in imitation of You.

We ask this through Christ our Lord // Amen

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Pray with Us

This novena is an attempt to summarize what the Church teaches about Mary’s role in our lives and what she means for the Church. It is an opportunity to enter into the real, concrete moments of her life, to experience the depth of her sorrow, sacrifice, and love, and to learn from her how to follow Jesus.

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Optional Study

Theme – Embracing God’s Will

When a couple gets married, they say ‘yes’ without knowing what the future holds or having perfectly laid out plans. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The new responsibilities of married life mixed with uncertainty for the future still makes life difficult. But one thing has changed—in the midst of the unknown they have each other. Something similar happened when Mary gave her “yes” to God. She may not have had complete clarity about her future or seen everything that life would send her way, but still she said yes and lunged into the unknown! In the midst of the uncertainty, she was certain of one thing—no matter how dark life might get, the Lord was with her. She did not give her yes to some abstract plan, but to a person. He is the one who gave her the confidence to go forward without seeing.

Doctrine – Immaculate Conception

The Lord prepared her for this moment. She was created for her unique role as the “favored one” (Lk. 1:28). Catholics believe she was “preserved from all stain of original sin,” the Immaculate Conception (Ineffablis Deus). At the same time, the Lord gives Mary complete freedom to respond to this central moment in salvation history. She is not a slave to God’s will. Like us, she has the ability to say yes or no. This is the intense reality of human freedom. Like a bride at the altar, we can all say “no” to God. But instead, she used her freedom to trust the Father’s plan. The Immaculate Conception is simply the recognition that God prepared Mary for her mission in a special way. None of us have this gift like Mary, but the Lord has prepared all of us for whatever our mission is. And that allows us to take a leap of faith into whatever unknown plan the Lord has in store for us.

Personal Takeaway

God invites each of us to do His will and gives us the freedom to respond. We are called to imitate Mary and follow the Lord into the dark. We stand at the entrance of the valley of tears. And somewhere in the distance we can hear the call of the Lord. He invites us to enter, to set our sights on Him, to trust Him. Life following the Lord becomes a great adventure! Step by step, we make our way to Him. We do not know all the sufferings and trials that will come, but we know there will be many. We know that God has prepared us, like Mary, for our mission in life. He will be there—present, gentle, patient, and loving. He will pour out His autumn rain on us and will never leave our side, no matter how dark life might get. Will we embrace the freedom Jesus gives us? Will we love Him enough to risk walking forward without perfect clarity? Will we enter into the valley of tears? Like Mary, He has prepared us, but He won’t make us go. He leaves it up to us to decide.