Pray with Us: 9 Days for Life Novena (January 16-24)

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Tomorrow marks the start of the 9 Days for Life Novena sponsored by Respect Life is a project of the USCCB that is dedicated to teaching about “respect for all human life from conception to natural death.” The goal of Respect Life is to promote a culture of life and organize for the protection of the unborn. As Catholics, we understand the most effective method of achieving this goal is through prayer. As Michiganders, we desperately need this shift toward a pro-life culture as the Census Bureau estimated that Michigan had the 49th slowest rate of population growth among the 50 states from 2000-2022, only beating West Virginia.

The Respect Life Novena will last nine days until January 24. According to the Respect Life website, “Each day’s intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life.” These actions are small and simple sacrifices that we offer to God throughout the novena. For example, day one suggests taking a break from TV, day two calls for abstaining from meat, and so on.

These daily practices help us reflect on the suffering of others, specifically those victimized by abortion. According to Pope Francis, fasting builds solidarity with others and helps us to understand their hardship. As we abstain from meat and supplant TV time with prayer, let us consider the dire injustice of abortion, all the suffering it causes, and what we can do to make a difference.

Why a novena? Tradition tells us that the concept of a novena, nine days of intentional and focused prayer, originated in the book of Acts when Mary and the Apostles prayed fervently in the nine days between Jesus’ Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Other sources say that ancient Christians would pray a novena leading up to Christmas to reflect on the nine months Mary carried Jesus in her womb. This latter case provides a powerful connection to the 9 Days for Life Novena. Pregnant Mary is a profound image for anyone struggling to recognize the humanity of an unborn child. By making a mother’s womb His dwelling place, God concretely affirms that life is sacred from the very beginning. 

We invite you to join us over the next nine days in praying for an end to abortion and healing for all who have suffered from the evil industry. You can sign up for novena alerts here or see daily posts from the Diocese of Grand Rapids' Facebook Page. Through prayer, God shines his light and the darkness cannot overcome it. Let us pray!