It's crunch time! Our wedding day is quickly approaching so now come our final preparations. This Thursday the 14th is a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church: The Ascension of Jesus, the return of His heavenly glory. Before Christ ascended into heaven, he commanded his Apostles to remain in the city of Jerusalem for the nine days until the feast of Pentecost, and there to await the descent of the Holy Spirit. With this, our Savior instituted the practice of the Christian Novena – nine days of prayer, especially in preparation for a solemn feast or in petition for some special grace.
Christ Jesus commanded this first novena both as a period of preparation (since the feast of Pentecost was approaching) and also as an act of petition to Mary and his disciples.
While we anticipate the Vigil of the Pentecost (May 23rd), we also get to anticipate our wedding (May 23rd)! It's kind of a cool coincidence that we get to acknowledge these nine days before our wedding in parallel to the preparation of the Feast of the Pentecost.
Many faithful Catholics like to celebrate this time by praying a Pentecost Novena for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, starting on the Friday following the Ascension. We're bending the "rules" and starting ours this Thursday, May 14th and ending the night before our wedding, Friday, May 22nd. St. Raphael the Archangel has had some significance in our relationship, through our marriage prep, and in our wedding, so we would like to invite any family and friends to pray a novena to St. Raphael with us, citing our marriage and relationship as your intentions! And of course you do not need to be Catholic to pray with us.
Significance of St. Raphael: Very Abridged
St. Raphael is the patron saint of happy meetings and good health. He is mentioned in the book of Tobit and was sent to help Tobias find his wife, Sarah. If you're unfamiliar with the story of Tobias and Sarah, Sarah had married seven times before, and each bridegroom had died on the night of their wedding before they could consummate their marriage. Raphael led Tobias to Sarah and Tobias knew Sarah's past and didn't even care... THE BRAVERY. The story of Tobias and Sarah provided much strength and meaning to Brock and I's dating relationship in its early years and is the reason Tobit 8:4b-8 will be the First Reading of our wedding.
On their wedding night Tobias arose from bed and said to his wife,
“Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord
to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.”
Sarah got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
They began with these words:
“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers;
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.’
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”
They said together, “Amen, amen.”
Brock was confirmed on Easter Vigil; St. Raphael the Archangel was also Brock's confirmation saint, which is pretty special. Many people ask St. Raphael to pray for them as they search for their future spouse. Though we already found ours, we feel like asking St. Raphael to pray with us in preparation for our marriage is equally suiting. Brock and I will be praying the below novena prayer for the nine days leading up to our wedding; the best wedding gift that we could receive are your prayers. So please join us!
NOVENA PRAYER TO ST RAPHAEL
-- Thursday, May 14th through Friday, May 22nd
(You may state your intentions, and meditate over your intentions throughout the novena, which may be recited each day for the nine days)
O Glorious St. Raphael, Patron and Lover of the Young, I call upon thee and plead with thee for thy help. In all confidence I open my heart to thee, to beg thy guidance and assistance in the important task of planning my future. Obtain for me through thy intercession the light of God’s grace, so that I may decide wisely concerning the person who is to be my partner through life. O Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand to find each other. May all our movements be guided by thy light and transfigured by thy joy. As thou didst lead the young Tobias to Sara and opened up for him a new life of happiness with her in holy marriage, lead me to such a one whom in thine angelic wisdom thou dost judge best suited to be united with me in marriage.
St. Raphael, loving Patron of those seeking a marriage partner, help me in this supreme decision of my life. Find for me as a helpmate in life that person whose character will reflect the traits of Jesus and Mary. May he (she) be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with chaste and unselfish love, we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please God to entrust to our care.
St. Raphael, Angel of chaste courtship, bless our friendship and our love, that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely that our future home may ever be most like the home of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Offer thy prayers to God for both of us and obtain the blessing of God upon our marriage, as thou wert the herald of blessing for the marriage of Tobias and Sara.
St. Raphael, Friend of the Young, be thou my friend, for I shall always be thine. I desire ever to invoke thee in my needs. To thy special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future wife (husband). Direct me to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love, and harmony in this life and attain to eternal joy in the next. Amen.
In honor of St. Raphael recite one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be.