*warning - personal story tonight*
In November, Karen and I were both struggling with some things in our lives. I was sharing with her my worries one day, specifically, I recall with my eye. I've had difficulties with my eyes for years, and this year I had even more difficulty, with two incidents of something that starts with an "e" and causes my eye to hurt, become imflamed, red, splotchy, etc.. I had a recurrance in October, and into November I was still having issues with my eye. It was very frustrating, and it drove me nuts when awake and sleeping.
Karen was also sharing some of her struggles, and then, out of nowhere she said, "you should do a 54-day novena with me". I knew of novenas (typically a catholic thing) and how its a set of nine prayers, but not of a 54-day one. Sounded like a challenge, but what better way to spend my time than in prayer rather than in worry? We decided we should do it.
I started a day before Karen, and so my 54 days ended on January 5, Ephipany, which I thought was kind of neat. I am happy to report that everyday I started the rosary (not only was this novena 54 days, it was also of the rosary), but I honestly cannot tell you if I finished it everyday.
Specifically, there were two nights where I dozed off...one night I woke up at 10:30 and started again, but then fell asleep again. I woke up at 11:55 in a panic and started spewing out memorized prayers in my stupor (probably not the point of the novena at all, but I didn't want to just give up!). I may or may not have finished. I don't recall. There was another night where I could not remember the next day if I finished or not.
Karen and I both discussed how at first, we were both very diligent and took time to really pray when we did this...then, as the days went on, it sort of became mechanic. The first 27 days you pray in petition...the next 27 days you pray in thanksgiving, no matter what the outcome was from the first 27 days. We stuck with it even though we both felt like we were letting ourselves down a little by not getting 'into it' as much as we should...at the same time, I think we both felt that God understood how human we really are, and expected as much from us.
I am always hesitant to share my prayers/praying with others - too often I have seen the looks, heard the comments, the judgments. I would say 99% of the time, the worst comments come from those who are Christian - which I have always found so odd. It seems that many Christians, especially those who consider themselves really Christian, have some sort of disgust with Catholics. Either way, my relationship with God is very personal, so it does have an impact on you when people look at you oddly when you say you pray something like the rosary.
During my 54-day journey, many things have happened. While I won't share with you what I prayed for and if it happened, I will say that during the past 54-day period, I have received many blessings. I simply cannot attribute them all to good luck or fortune, and during times of severe stress, there has been a voice to calm me which I know cannot be my own, and truly, this is one of the greatest blessings to me.