An Autumn Rain

A Novena With the Blessed Virgin Mary

Day 8 – Calvary

Coming into God’s Presence

Before praying, we become aware of God’s presence, with a renewed sense of gratitude for the cross. 

The cross seems like madness. There is nothing necessary about it. God could have saved us another way, but He chose a path that allowed Him to show the depths of His love. It is an overwhelming display of His abundant love. That same God is here now and wants me to encounter Him and the depths of His love.

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 stood firm and fearless at the foot of the cross

// Teach us to die to self and embrace God’s will

Mary, you trusted God’s will and accompanied your son

// Teach us to die to self and embrace God’s will

Mary, you loved despite the darkness and the immense pain

// Teach us to die to self and embrace God’s will

Jesus, You gave Yourself as a lamb to be slaughtered

// Teach us to die to self and embrace God’s will

Jesus, You were treated as the world’s worst criminal

// Teach us to die to self and embrace God’s will

Jesus, from the midst of Your pain, You gave us Your mother

// Teach us to die to self and embrace God’s will

Optional Study:Death to Self

Spiritual Lessons from the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Sacred Scripture – The Cross of Christ

A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to John (Jn. 19:25-27)

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.“ Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.“ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

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

Reading Options

Bl. Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, I am a Daughter of the Church

On Calvary, when hatred triumphs and seems to have destroyed everything of the person, the work, and the reputation of Christ Jesus, Mary is standing at the foot of the Cross. By her presence there and her attitude she affirms her strength, her mission, and the triumph of her maternity […] A silent shadow in the night, Mary spreads sweetness without suppressing suffering, creates a soft shadow without dissipating the darkness. […] To know that its Mother is there, watching over it in the night, makes the heart of the child glad, renews its strength, fortifies its hope, gives it light and peace; yet the violence of the crucifying ardors within does not grow less.

Pope St. John Paul II, Encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, 21

Worn out with grief, Mary, the ewe, seeing her own lamb taken to the slaughter, followed with the other women and cried: […] “I never thought I would see you, my child, in such necessity nor did I ever believe that the lawless would rage so, and unjustly stretch out their hands against you; for still their infants cry ‘Hosanna’ to you; still the road is strewn with palm-branches proclaiming to all how the lawless had sung your praises. And now a worse deed is done, and for whose sake? Alas; how is my light snuffed out, how to a cross is nailed my son, my God? You are going to unjust slaughter, my child, and no one is suffering with you. […] The friends and companions who were to judge the tribes of Israel, where are they now? None of them is here; but one, alone, for the sake of them all, you are dying, my child; because instead of them you have saved all, because instead of them you have loved all, my son, my God.“

Interior Dialogue: Conversation Starters

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

Lord Jesus, when Mary said yes to being Your mother, she said yes to everything. Am I willing to say yes to anything You ask?  Or only the parts I find acceptable? 

Pause for personal prayer

Lord Jesus, at the Cross Mary was sorrowful but strong in faith. Have I been grateful for the sorrows and hardships in my life? Am I willing to be more like Mary, enduring with fortitude the struggles and tragedies I face?

Pause for personal prayer

Lord Jesus, am I instrumental in leading my family closer to You? Am I an example of obedience to Your will? Have I grown used to seeing You on the cross or do I treat the crucifix with reverence and gratitude?.

Pause for personal prayer


Faithful during the death of her Son, Mary stands as our model of obedience. Let us strive to be like her, and ask God for the gift of perseverance, as we pray

// Lord, give us the grace of perseverance

For Christian families, that they would be faithful witnesses to the Gospel through word and example. Let us pray

// Lord, give us the grace of perseverance

For parishes, that they would serve as places of refuge and encouragement amid the storms of life. Let us pray

// Lord, give us the grace of perseverance

For all Christian communities and organizations, that they would be light and leaven in the world, never ceasing to preach the crucified Lord. Let us pray

// Lord, give us the grace of perseverance

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 the grace of perseverance

A Traditional Prayer: Salve Regina

14th Century, Added to the Divine Office by Pope Clement VI, Rome

Together we pray,

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, Hail our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Closing Prayer

Let us pray

Lord Jesus, we stand with Mary at the foot of the cross, overwhelmed by Your sacrifice. You held nothing back. Your love for us cannot be measured or understood. Like her we unite our own sacrifices to Yours. We will not leave You. 

Teach us to see the cross as the ultimate symbol of love and hope, so that we can also bring salvation to the ends of the world.

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 – Trusting Till the End

Trust isn’t a single moment. A married couple’s “yes” at the altar is an act of trust that is lived again and again throughout their marriage—all the way to death! The same is true for Mary. Her “yes”, with all its faithfulness and trust, leads all the way to its final destination: the Cross. What started as a “yes” to the angel is lived all through her life all, and then to the very end. Obedience to that “yes” brings her to the death of her Son. She doesn’t turn, resist, or leave. She patiently dies with Him while she awaits the fulfillment of His promise.

Doctrine – New Eve

Through disobedience Eve failed to persevere through temptation. In trying to grasp and possess life without God she found only death. Through obedience Mary perseveres all the way through to the end and dies with Christ on the Cross, only to rise with Him to new life. The old Eve brings death and sorrow from the wood of the tree. Now, the new Eve is present as Jesus brings life to the world through the wood of the cross. As St. Jerome said, “Death came through Eve, but life has come through Mary.” With on of His last breaths, Jesus gives Mary to be our mother. Now we will have a mother of selfless obedience rather than one of selfish disobedience. Eve was promised that her seed would crush the serpent’s head. Mary sees this promise fulfilled before her eyes at Golgotha, the place of the skull.

Personal Takeaway

Mary accepts Simeon’s prophecy that a sword will pierce her heart and lives it. As the nails are piercing her Son to the Cross, her heart is being stabbed through. She follows Him all the way to the height of helplessness, despair, and loss. She watches the hope of the world, her Son, God Himself, die at the hands of sin. But death isn’t the end! As St. Paul says in Romans, “If we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” Death does not have the last word. St. Paul is the Apostle and preacher of the cross, but only because he is the preacher of joy. “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” and “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”