An Autumn Rain

A Novena With the Blessed Virgin Mary

Day 6 – Jerusalem

Coming into God’s Presence

Before praying, we become aware of God’s presence and gift of freedom. 

Love can only exist where choosing not to love is an option, so God made us totally free. In creating us for love, the risk is that we would reject Him. The possibility of sin exists because of our freedom. Loving God or not will always remain a choice. Many times a day we are presented with this opportunity: to love or not. We have to constantly renew that decision. His respect for us is so great that He will never force or compel us. He doesn’t shout or insist. His question is always a soft whisper. “In this moment, this circumstance, will You love me?“

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 spent three days searching for your lost son

// Teach us to be daring in love

Mary, you found Jesus among the doctors in the temple

// Teach us to be daring in love

Mary, you kept all these things in your heart

// Teach us to be daring in love

Jesus, You lived to fulfill Your Father’s will

// Teach us to be daring in love

Jesus, You loved despite being misunderstood

// Teach us to be daring in love

Jesus, You lived for years in humble obedience

// Teach us to be daring in love

Optional Study: Vulnerable Love

Spiritual Lessons from the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Sacred Scripture – Losing the Child Jesus

A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to Luke (2:41-47)

Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

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

Reading Options

Pope Francis, Homily, 3 April 2020

Our Lady never asked anything for herself, never. Yes, for others: let us think of Cana, when she goes to speak with Jesus. Never did she say: “I am the mother, look at me: I will be the queen mother”. She never said it. She never asked anything important for herself within the apostolic college. She agrees simply to be a Mother. She accompanied Jesus like a disciple, because the Gospel shows that she followed Jesus: with her friends, pious women, she followed Jesus, she listened to Jesus. One time someone recognised her: “Ah, here is the mother”. “Your mother is here” (Mk 3:31)… She followed Jesus. All the way to Calvary. And there, on her feet… surely, the people would have said: “But, poor woman, how she must be suffering”, and the evil ones surely would have said: “But, she is guilty too, because if she had brought Him up well he would not have ended up this way”. She was there, with the Son, with the Son’s humiliation.

Pope Pius XII, Haurietis Aquas, 124

In order that favors in greater abundance may flow on all Christians, nay, on the whole human race, from the devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, let the faithful see to it that to this devotion the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God is closely joined. For, by God’s Will, in carrying out the work of human Redemption the Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably linked with Christ in such a manner that our salvation sprang from the love and the sufferings of Jesus Christ to which the love and sorrows of His mother were intimately united.

Interior Dialogue: Conversation Starters

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

Lord Jesus, the demands of love sometimes make it scary to accept the Father’s will. Where am I afraid to be vulnerable? Are there concrete ways for me to learn to trust You more? 

Pause for personal prayer

Lord Jesus, You are love and You fulfill our greatest desires, making us capable of the greatest sacrifices of love. When have You consoled me in my life? Where in my life have I been forgetting to look for You?

Pause for personal prayer

Lord Jesus, do I ask daily for a humble and willing heart? Do I persevere even when I am misunderstood, ridiculed, or made fun of? Have I made an effort to connect with people of Faith, to support them, and to learn from their example?

Pause for personal prayer


Mary’s faith and love kept her steadfast in carrying out the Father’s will. We ask God to strengthen our commitment, and to make us capable of heroic self-giving, as we pray

// Lord, help us risk everything for the sake of love

For the gift of willingness, so that our hearts would accept whatever God asks of us. Let us pray

// Lord, help us risk everything for the sake of love

For the gift of perseverance, that when the going gets tough we would continue to love despite the cost. Let us pray

// Lord, help us risk everything for the sake of love

For the gift of community, that we would never try to be faithful alone, and that our humble witness might serve to strengthen our brothers and sisters. Let us pray

// Lord, help us risk everything for the sake of love

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

Silently add your own personal petitions.

Let us pray

// Lord, help us risk everything for the sake of love

A Traditional Prayer: Virgo Gloriosa

20th Century, Ireland

O glorious Virgin, Mother of God, blessed among all nations, worthy of praise, intercede for me with your beloved Son, assist and deliver me from every difficulty and danger. Remember me, and forsake me not, I beseech you, at the terrible hour of my death. // O star of the sea, hope of the faithful, who surpasses in radiance the virgins and the angels, your presence gives joy to all the hosts of heaven. 

Therefore, O Mother of mercy, I place in the protection of your holy hands my going out, my coming in, my sleeping, my waking, the sight of my eyes, the touch of my hands, the speech from my lips, the hearing of my ears, // So that in everything I may be pleasing to your own beloved Son.

Closing Prayer

Let us pray

Christ Jesus, through Your Sacred Heart You have shown the world that love requires vulnerability.

Teach me to be like the Blessed Virgin Mary, who united her heart so much to Yours that she became vulnerable to sorrow and loss. Give me a deeper insight into love, that I would be more willing to join the affections and sacrifices of Your Sacred Heart.

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 – Vulnerable Love

When we choose the path of sacrificial love, we are not spared the consequences. We really are opening ourselves up to the violence and unkindness of sin. Although the world came to be through Him, “the world did not know him” (Jn 1:10). It will not know us either, and the more we resemble Him, the more we will be rejected. But this is never a good excuse not to live the Christian life. We are called to open ourselves up to this rejection and to never let fear stop us from loving. Mary’s heart shows the vulnerability of true Chrsitian love as she consistently accepts the risk of loss and pain, even going so far as to embrace it! At cost to herself, she chooses to bare her heart to the world—she dares to love.

Doctrine – Immaculate Heart of Mary

And every time she dares to love, she is met with pain and sorrow. In Mary’s Immaculate Heart, we see her great vulnerability. Outside of her body and open to the world, it receives the world’s blows. Her heart is pierced with a sword to show her suffering, and her heart longs for others with such intensity that it’s set on fire. In this way, the Immaculate Heart of Mary reveals her interior life and, through imagery, shows the true risk, intensity, and consequences of love. Her heart is shattered and scorched when she loses her Son in Jerusalem, left to search for Him for three days. She is wounded over and over again as she watches the redemptive love of her Son be rejected and ridiculed. Our mother readily embraces this risk of suffering and loss for both her Son and for us sinners here on earth, despite the pain it causes her.

Personal Takeaway 

Life is full of dangers for us as well, and they are often painful and disturbing. Every time we step out into the world there is risk. We could get hit by a car; we could be spat on and ridiculed for our beliefs; we could lose our loved ones to any number of things; we could find ourselves financially ruined. Even though we pretend all is safe, the truth is, our everyday lives are riddled with danger. But the Lord gives us two ways to respond: we can either try in vain to hide ourselves away from any threat, in turn losing our chance to love, or, like Mary, we can choose to risk everything, go into the battlefield, put our hearts on the line, and take bullet after bullet for love. God wants us to be daring, to be openly vulnerable, and to carry His light into the deepest, darkest depths of life, no matter what harm might come our way. If we do this, He will not abandon us. Life is a valley of tears, but He will always share His autumn rain with those who trust Him enough to enter into the darkness for love. Like Mary, we have only to trust that His grace is enough. If we do this, our hearts will not only burn and be pierced, they will also blossom with roses.