Finding the True Source of Happiness: A Novena on the Beatitudes
Next week the Church Universal will celebrate the gift of our young people to our family of faith and the whole world as pilgrims begin to gather for World Youth Day in Kraków and here locally at “Kraków in the Capital” on the campus of The Catholic University of America. This is a special time for our young people – and all the rest of us in solidarity with them – to reflect on the call to discipleship and how to live as witnesses to Jesus’ love and mercy in the world around us.
In 2014, Pope Francis chose the Beatitudes as the basis for the theme of subsequent World Youth Days and this year the theme is: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” In the Catechism we read that the Beatitudes “shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristics of the Christian life” (CCC 1717). Further, at their Confirmation, our young people received in the gifts of the Holy Spirit a disposition toward the blessings that the Beatitudes promise.
In a culture that proposes happiness as something that can be purchased or found only in life on this earth, the Beatitudes help us to understand that happiness is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who can alone fulfill it (CCC 1718). As we look forward to these special days with the Holy Father at World Youth Day, let us pray that our young people become a beacon of light to the world by manifesting the beauty of the Beatitudes, which are paradoxical to what the world calls happiness, yet are a reflection of the life of Jesus and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In a particular way, you might join us on Facebook as we pray a novena that we may all grow in the life of beatitude. For these nine days leading up to World Youth Day, this novena prayer will focus on each of the nine Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12). You may also choose to say in addition, or as an alternative, the official prayer of World Youth Day set out below.
On this first day of the novena, we pray:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Lord Jesus, with confidence in your word, grant that I may be freed of the foolish pride of self-sufficiency and self-righteousness, and of the allure of worldly wealth and power. Help me instead to recognize and embrace my utter poverty and need for God, from whom all good things come, and to trust in his providence, seeking first in my life his kingdom of love and life, truth and peace. Amen.
God, merciful Father,
in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman. We entrust to you in a special way young people of every language, people and nation:
Guide and protect them as they walk the complex paths of the world today and give them the grace to reap abundant fruits from their experience of the Krakow World Youth Day.
Heavenly Father, grant that we may bear witness to your mercy.
Teach us how to convey the faith to those in doubt,
hope to those who are discouraged,
love to those who feel indifferent,
forgiveness to those who have done wrong
and joy to those who are unhappy.
Allow the spark of merciful love that you have enkindled within us
become a fire that can transform hearts and renew the face of the earth.
Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us.
Saint John Paul II, pray for us.
Saint Faustina, pray for us. Amen.