Novena in Honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The origin of the idea of praying for a special intention for nine days is very attractive and worth thinking about – it comes from the alleged length of time that Mary and the eleven remaining disciples spent praying together in the upper room, waiting for the Spirit to come upon them at Pentecost. In our imitation of them in these nine days, we’ll surely be in good company, especially with Mary, the one who shows us what our attitude in prayer should be: she always trusted, despite confusion; she continued to hope, despite the seeming darkness. The disciples were a small community of fragile yet hopeful trust, of confusion, yet deep desire within their hearts. In short, they were probably very much like ourselves at the beginning of this novena.

On each day of the novena, try to have a few quiet moments with yourself or with others to reflect on the scripture passage. Then, in your own time, move on to the reflection and think about what it might say to you today. Then pass on to the short prayer and make it your own. Always end with the Novena Prayer and include in it any intention you would like to make.

This novena can be prayed at any time but is specifically for the nine days leading to the feast of the Sacred Heart, which is always 19 days after Pentecost Sunday, and always falling on a Friday. (For 2024, the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on Friday the 7th of June). It was first published on Sacred Space in 2008 and has been made available occasionally since.

Novena Intentions

A Novena is typically a time to bring a special intention to prayer. Naming your desire to God helps you to clarify and focus. Making a note can also be helpful. The traditional printed prayers often included a space with “Make your intentions here” or a similar suggestion. You are encouraged to bring an intention, petition or intercession with you to the Lord, as you begin this novena. Maybe you don’t know what you want to pray for, and in that case, you can ask God to bless you and your loved ones as He sees fit, as He knows what you need even better than you know it yourself! And remember, as it says in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words.”. (Romans 8:26 NRSVue).