An Autumn Rain

A Novena With the Blessed Virgin Mary

Day 4 – Egypt

Coming into God’s Presence

Before praying, we become aware of God’s presence, especially in the most difficult moments of life.

The world likes to hide suffering and pretend like everything is fine all the time. It hides death and sadness and tries to numb us to the truth: life is a valley of tears. Wrestling with suffering is a challenge for every Christian. Jesus didn’t come to take it away, but to give it meaning. We look back at our lives and reflect on how God has been there in and through our suffering. He sends His grace, the autumn rain in the valley of tears. He is here now in whatever trials we may be going through. Lord, help me see You in my suffering.

We pause in silence to reflect on God’s plan for salvation.


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

Mary, you trusted God despite the trials of fleeing your home

// Teach us to be faithful despite hardship

Mary, you fulfilled your role in the midst of extreme trials

// Teach us to be faithful despite hardship 

Mary, you endured sufferings with patience and love

// Teach us to be faithful despite hardship 

Jesus, You know what it means to be lost in a foreign land

// Teach us to be faithful despite hardship 

Jesus, You know how it feels to be hated and persecuted

// Teach us to be faithful despite hardship 

Jesus, You experienced the struggle of living in a broken world

// Teach us to be faithful despite hardship

Optional Study: Life is Hard

Spiritual Lessons from the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Sacred Scripture – The Flight to Egypt

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (2:13-15)

When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.“ Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.“

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

Reading Options

St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary

The way was rough, unknown, through woods, and little frequented. The season was winter, and therefore they had to travel in snow, rain, wind, and storms, and through bad and difficult roads. Mary was then fifteen years of age, a delicate virgin, unaccustomed to such journeys. […] Oh God, how piteous a spectacle it was to see that tender Virgin, with that newly born infant in her arms wandering through this world! St. Bonaventure asks, Where did they obtain food? Where did they rest at night? How were they lodged ? What other food could they have, than a piece of hard bread which Joseph brought with him or begged in charity? Where could they have slept (particularly in the two hundred miles of desert through which they traveled, where, as authors relate, there were neither houses nor inns) except on the sand, or under some tree in the wood, in the open air, exposed to robbers, or those wild beasts with which Egypt abounded? Ah, if any one had met these three greatest personages of the world, what would he have believed them to be but three poor, roving beggars?

Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth The Infancy Narratives

With the flight into Egypt and the return to the promised land, Jesus grants the definitive Exodus. He is truly the Son. He is not going to run away from the Father. He returns home, and he leads others home. He is always on the path toward God and thus he leads the way back from exile to the homeland, back to all that is authentic and true. Jesus, the true Son, himself went into “exile” in a very deep sense, in order to lead all of us home from exile.

Interior Dialogue: Conversation Starters

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

Lord Jesus, our faith in You does not mean our lives will always be easy, but You allow us to be sanctified through our hardships. Where have I recognized You in a rough time in my life? Are there perhaps difficulties in my life today where I have not let You in?

Pause for personal prayer

Lord Jesus, You ask us to take up our crosses and walk with You in this life, and together with You the load is lighter. What crosses in my life am I trying to avoid? How can I invite You into my hard places to lighten the burden?

Pause for personal prayer

Lord Jesus, do I tend to run from the crosses in my life? Have I found what keeps me strong in moments of turmoil? Do I look for deeper meaning in Your promise of salvation?

Pause for personal prayer


Mary couldn’t foresee the hardships of her mission, however when trials came she embraced them with faith. Let us follow her virtuous example in life, as we pray

// Lord, give us peace and purpose in our suffering

In moments when we experience God’s consolation, that we would take advantage of His graces to prepare our hearts for the inevitable trials of life. Let us pray

// Lord, give us peace and purpose in our suffering 

In the dark and difficult times, when we experience sorrow or confusion, that we would find purpose in the cross of Christ. Let us pray

// Lord, give us peace and purpose in our suffering 

When our friends and family are struggling, that we would be there to support and strengthen them. Let us pray

// Lord, give us peace and purpose in our suffering 

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

Silently add your own personal petitions.

Let us pray

// Lord, give us peace and purpose in our suffering 

A Traditional Prayer: Memorare

Derived from a longer 15th-century prayer, Europe

Together we pray

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Closing Prayer

Let us pray

Father, with our limited human perspective we often despise the cross, and are confused when life doesn’t make sense. We are tempted to doubt that You are all-powerful or all-good. 

Teach us to have a solid faith like Mary, who carried her cross and did not waver when things did not make sense.

We commit to persevere in love and to give of ourselves in this life, with our eyes set on eternity.

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 – Life is Hard

There’s a common misunderstanding about being a Christian that comes back again and again: if I trust God and try to serve Him, then life will be comfortable and easy. But experience and  scripture show that following the Lord is difficult. The book of Ecclesiastes makes this point without hiding the fact that it’s also hard to understand. Sometimes we are led into situations that are not only confusing, but even lonely, frightening, or even dangerous. Pretending that Jesus will simply erase all our problems and struggles ignores the truth of the Cross and what we learn from looking at the lives of Mary and the other people who followed Jesus. Almost immediately after saying “yes” Mary is forced to flee her home as the king tries to murder her Son. Mary’s life shows us that authentically following God’s will is anything but easy and comfortable.

Doctrine – Perpetual Virginity

As the greatest model of following Jesus, Mary embraces the struggle of doing God’s will. She leaves behind her home to go on an exhausting journey with an infant and lives in a foreign land surrounded by strangers. Mary’s life of perpetual virginity shows her willingness to take on hardship to do God’s will. The Church teaches she was a virgin before, during, and after Christ’s birth. This is not just a nice theological truth, but something Mary and Joseph lived in their concrete lives. It must have demanded constant sacrifice. Rather than bring peace, her perpetual virginity may have led to many trials and misunderstandings. If Mary is our model for following Christ, we see that doing God’s will certainly leads to challenges and struggles! We should expect that if we faithfully follow Jesus we will face the same. 

Personal Takeaway

Mary is the “favored one” and so often we may think of her glowing, serene, and without a speck of dirt. The witness of Mary isn’t the fluffy piety depicted on most holy cards. Instead, they’re proof that it’s possible for everyone to take the hard road. Life is exceedingly difficult—especially for someone on the path of holiness. So we shouldn’t expect a smooth, steady ascent. Even Jesus fell three times as He carried His cross. Why shouldn’t we expect to find ourselves facedown in the dirt, covered in blood and sweat and tears? We have to remind ourselves that holiness is an imitation of Christ, so it looks a lot more like humiliation and suffering than it does a glorious victory.