Day 1: The Devotion to the 14 Holy Helpers

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

The practice of honoring and invoking the saints to obtain, through their intercession, help in the various needs of body and soul, is as old as the Church.  At what period, however, the custom of having recourse to the 14 saints called Holy Helpers originated, is unknown.  Nevertheless it is certain that each one of them was invoked for his intercession with God since his entrance into Heaven.  Prayer is the Christian's resource in every difficulty: and difficulties and trials are never wanting on Earth.  The needs of mankind on earth are various; therefore, the faithful selected certain saints as intercessors in certain cases of distress, and obtained relief; hence these saints came to be regarded as special patrons in such trials, and were called Holy Helpers.

Practice

Make this novena with full confidence in the power of the intercession of the 14 Holy Helpers.  During their earthly life they devoted their whole energy to the spreading of God's kingdom and the relief and succor of their fellow-men.  Much more efficiently can they do so now when they are in the enjoyment of eternal happiness, and can supplicate for us at the very throne of God.  The saints can help us through their intercession.  God hears their prayers and He wrought miracles to confirm us in this belief, even whilst His servants sojourned here on Earth.  They desire and are willing to help us. Saint Bernard says, "In Heaven hearts do not grow cold; they are rather rendered more affectionate and tender.  By receiving the crown of justice the saints were not hardened against the sufferings of their brethren on Earth."  Therefore, in calling on them, have full confidence in their power and ability to come to your aid.

Prayer

We beseech Thee, O Lord, to hear the prayer which we send up to Thee in honor of Thy glorified servants, the 14 Holy Helpers: and as we cannot rely upon our own justice, grant our petition through the intercession of those whose merits have made them especially dear to Thee.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Day 2: The Destiny of Man

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

The Holy Helpers faithfully co-operated with God's designs concerning their eternal destiny.  No obstacle could prevail on them to stray from the path of duty.  Always and everywhere they fulfilled the will of God.  You, too, have an eternal destiny.  You are not your own master, but belong to God, whose servant and property you are.  Therefore you must obey Him, and not your own inclinations; you must do His will, and not your own.  God had the right of requiring our submission to Him without giving us a reward, because He is Our Lord; nevertheless He promised to give us Himself in reward for our faithful service.  Ought this not be sufficient inducement for us to serve Him zealously and gratefully?  Remember, moreover, that you shall be unhappy both in this and in the next world if you do not give yourself entirely to God, for Whom you were created.  Saint Augustine says, "Thou hast created us for Thee, O Lord, and our heart remains restless till it rests in Thee."

Practice

Thank God for the undeserved grace of creation and redemption.  Make an act of contrition for having served Him so negligently. Promise amendment, and invoke the aid of God's grace through the intercession of the Holy Helpers.

Prayer

O God, Who according to the decrees of Thy providence hast created man for eternal bliss; grant, through the intercession of the Holy Helpers, that I may attain to my destiny by being united with Thee in this life and loving and praising Thee forever in Heaven.  Amen. 

Day 3: The Virtue of Faith

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

The Holy Helpers were so thoroughly imbued with the virtue of divine faith, that they believed its sacred truths with perfect abandonment of their intellect, will, liberty, and whole being.  They wavered not amid the severest torments, but remained firm until death in the confession of Christ.  Our time is noted for assaults on the Faith and on the Church that teaches it.  The Church, the depository of divine revelation, is blasphemed in her doctrine, in her precepts, in her sacraments, in her ministers, in her cult, in her entire essence.  Were you never ashamed of your Catholic name?  What cowardliness, what timidity, what downright malice!

Practice

Revive your faith by the consideration of the example of the Holy Helpers.  Do not, from human respect, neglect the sanctification of the Lord's Day, the observance of days of fast and abstinence, the reception of the holy sacraments, the profession of your belief in the real presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, etcetera.  Meditate frequently on the words of Christ, "He that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in Heaven."

Prayer

O God, I beseech Thee, through the faith of the Holy Helpers, grant me the grace to treasure in my heart the doctrines of our holy faith, to believe them firmly, to confess them bravely, and to live according to their precepts, that through that same faith I may become worthy to be admitted to Thy beatific vision in heaven.  Amen. 

Day 4: The Virtue of Hope

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

"Hope confoundeth not."  According to the commentators these words of Holy Scripture are to be understood in the sense that our works must be in conformity with that which is the object of our hope; that is, we must live in such a manner that we really merit the reward of Heaven.  We sin against hope also by presumption in God's mercy, by despair, and by over-confidence in our own righteousness.  According to Holy Scripture we cannot, of our own efficacy, perform a good act, but can do all in Him that strengthens us.  All these truths are exemplified in the lives of the Holy Helpers.  Their hope was based on the firm foundation of faith, and consequently, like it, firm, constant, and unwavering.

Practice

Like the Holy Helpers, hope to obtain from God all things necessary to salvation, for "the Lord is good to them that hope in Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."  Live so that He can fulfill His promises.  Place no obstacle to His bounty and might by a sinful life.

Prayer

Eternal God of love and mercy, I thank Thee for all the benefits Thou hast conferred upon me, and hope to obtain, through the intercession of the Holy Helpers, all the graces necessary for my salvation.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Day 5: The Love of God 

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

The love of God which inflamed the Holy Helpers showed forth in their whole life, and particularly at their death.  We, too, ought to be inflamed with such love, for without it faith, wisdom, the gift of tongues, and good works in general, avail nothing; for the love of God must inspire them all. " We know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good."  Such, and such alone, will receive the crown of life.  Did not God love us first?  To redeem us from sin and eternal death He spared not His only begotten, divine Son.  All goods of life and fortune are gifts of His love, evidences of His infinite love.  We find it difficult to return this love?  How ungrateful not to love God with your whole heart!

Practice

Imitate the Holy Helpers in their ardent love of God.  Implore their intercession to obtain it.  Meditate often on God's love for you, and your heart will be enflamed with love for Him.

Prayer

O God of mercy and love, I thank Thee from all my heart for the countless graces which Thy infinite love has bestowed on me.  By the ardent love which the Holy Helpers had for Thee, I implore Thee to enkindle in my heart the flame of Thy love, so that I may remain in Thee and Thou in me.  Amen.

Day 6: The Virtue of Charity

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

Charity is one of the fundamental virtues of the Christian religion.  The moral doctrine preached by Christ is comprised in the words, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like to this.  Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets."  As in everything else, the Holy Helpers are our exemplars also in charity.  Charity consists in wishing well to our fellow-men, rejoicing with the glad and sympathizing with the sad, doing good to all, excusing their faults whenever possible, disclosing them only when necessary, being friendly, indulgent, meek, and helpful toward them. We love our neighbor if we succor the poor and distressed, if we harbor no envy for the rich, if we esteem the just for their virtue, and hate - not the sinner - but sin.  We love our neighbor if we are not content with harboring these sentiments in our heart, but show them by our actions.

Practice

Endeavor to exercise this charity according to the spirit of Christ.  The love of your neighbor must not be a sentimental affection; it must not originate in casual qualities of character or rank, in inclination, etcetera, but must have the love of God for its motive.  We must exercise charity toward all because God wills it, and in the manner in which He wills it.  "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Prayer

O God of charity, Who dost will that I love my neighbor for Thy sake, grant me the grace, through the intercession of the Holy Helpers, to be animated with that spirit of charity which embraces all and excludes none, which "is patient, kind, envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things, and never falleth away."  Amen. 

Day 7: Human Respect

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

By the conscientious fulfillment of the duties of their state of life the Holy Helpers show us that the will of God alone was the motive of all their actions.  Human respect, regard for the opinion of others, did not influence them.  The cowardly fear, "What will people say?" was the ruin of many a soul.  The enemy of mankind is ever intent upon preventing us from doing good through human respect.  He insinuates that virtue and piety are out of date and ridiculed.  From human respect many a person boasts of that which ought to make him blush; he thinks it discreditable to be less remiss in his religious obligations than others.  Ought the opinion and ridicule of the world influence us to prevent our pleasing God?  Saint Paul says, "If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."  Our Lord Himself tells us, "He that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in Heaven."

Practice

Our Lord says, "So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven."  Do not stray from the path of duty on account of human respect; do not let yourself be influenced by the judgments of the world.

Prayer

Merciful God, Who gavest the Holy Helpers the grace to fulfill Thy will regardless of human respect; grant that we may obtain through their intercession and merits the courage to despise the opinion of men, and ever serve Thee with a fearless heart.  Amen. 

Day 8: Prayer

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

The Holy Helpers, well knowing the efficacy of prayer, assiduously devoted themselves to it.  From it they drew that wonderful strength which sustained them in their combat for the Faith.  Prayer is the elevation of the mind to God, intercourse with Him by acts of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, and petition. Saint Chrysostom says of prayer, "Without prayer it is impossible to lead a good life; for no one can practice virtue except he humbly implores God for it, Who alone can give him the necessary strength.  Who ceases to love and practice prayer, no longer possesses the gifts of the Spirit.  He that perseveres in the service of God, and deems it an irreparable loss to miss constant prayer, possesses every virtue and is a friend of God."

Practice

Offer yourself at the beginning of each day to God, and thereby you will belong to Him throughout its whole course.  Renew your consecration to Him frequently during the day by short acts of virtue and especially by a good intention, thus rendering all your work a prayer, and you will attain perfection.

Prayer

O God, I implore Thee through the merits and intercession of the Holy Helpers, to grant me the spirit of prayer, that following their example I may walk in Thy presence and ever enjoy the consolation of intercourse with Thee.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

Day 9: Perseverance

Preparatory Prayer by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Great princes of Heaven, Holy Helpers, who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions, wealth, preferment, and even life, and who now are crowned in Heaven in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory; have compassion on me, a poor sinner in this vale of tears, and obtain for me from God, for Whom you gave up all things and Who loves you as His servants, the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life, to overcome all temptations, and to persevere in God's service to the end, that one day I too may be received into your company, to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord, Whose beatific vision you enjoy, and Whom you praise and glorify forever.  Amen.

Meditation

Victorious death was the reward of the Holy Helpers' perseverance in the service of God.  During this novena you have, no doubt, formed many good resolutions, exclaiming with the Royal Prophet, "And I said, now I have begun."  It happens that many, despite their good will, become remiss in the pursuit of virtue.  Satan is assiduously trying to accomplish their ruin, representing to them and exaggerating the difficulties to be encountered on the path of virtue.  They hesitate, falter, and finally turn back.  This is the most unfortunate happening that can occur.  Of the condition of such a one Our Lord Himself says, "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he saith, 'I will return into my house whence I came out.' And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then he goeth and taketh with him seven spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there.  And the last state of that man becometh worse than the first."  Are these words not a sufficient warning to encourage us to persevere in our good resolves?

Practice

In concluding this novena, survey again the depth of that incomprehensible eternity which is awaiting you.  Contemplate in spirit the endless chain of centuries following each other there in reward or in punishment.  Does this thought not banish all the difficulties of perseverance?

Prayer

O God, Whose mercies are infinite and whose goodness is without limit, I beseech Thee through the merits and intercession of the Holy Helpers, grant me the grace of perseverance in Thy love and service to the end.  Thou, Who dost dispense so many favors through the Holy Helpers, despise not my prayer, but graciously hear and grant it.  Amen.