The XXVI General Chapter of the Congregation of Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretian Missionaries) adopted this commitment: “To intensify the Cordimarian dimension of our spirituality: confession of God, the revolution of tenderness (cf. EG 88, 288), the hope of peoples and dream of a new world. We will creatively practice the devotions of our tradition and of our peoples” (QC 47). Inspired by this commitment, the General Prefecture of Spirituality and Community Life has called together eight missionaries, representative of the different geographical areas of the Congregation, to form a commission to prepare novenas to the Heart of Mary for the six-year period. The aim is not to set aside the formulas proposed in the Spiritual Directory (cf. nn. 147-148), but to offer an alternative inspired by the Cordimarian features highlighted in ‘Querida Congregación’ (cf. QC 47).
In the first year, the novena is centered on the confession of God, which is the first Cordimarian aspect highlighted in the Chapter Declaration. This confession is embodied in the Magnificat of Mary. Already in Missionarii Sumus the following was said:
“We gratefully acknowledge that the Lord has generously blessed us. Although sin has continued and continues to exist among us, the signs of his grace have been and are much more numerous. United with Mary, we wish to extend his Magnificat because the Mighty One has done great works.”(MS 36)
The Magnificat is a hymn that reflects the spirituality of the poor of YHWH. It is like a canticle that evokes the exploits of the divine arm and traces the features of God as manifested in his historical actions. Focused on the Lord’s prominence, it overlooks the human cooperation that he has brought about. Each day of the novena, following step by step the development of the Gospel canticle, we will stop at one of those features or facets that point to the divine identity revealed in his salvific dispensation.
The outline of the novena has four parts. In the introductory part, we find a monition, a hymn (each community can choose a suitable one), a greeting, and the opening prayer. The second focuses on the proclamation of a biblical text, followed by a brief moment of contemplative silence. The third part, entitled “Meditating with Mary and about Mary,” offers some brief reflections on the theme of the novena and two complementary texts (either from Fr. Claret’s writings or from other authors), which can illuminate the reflections. In the last part, you will find the prayers, the Lord’s Prayer, the concluding prayer (which will be the same for all nine days), the blessing, and the final hymn. Each community can use this material as they see fit, trying to adapt it to their needs.
The image used in the booklet is the image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the new icon of the Claretian Martyrs.
Download the Novena here: