St. Filomena statue carried during a procession
Today, August 3 we begin a novena to St. Philomena that will end on her feast day August 11th.
Novena Prayer to Saint Philomena
(Composed by St. Jean-Marie Vianney, Cure d’ Ars)
Prayer for Each Day during the Novena.
O Glorious Virgin and Martyr, beloved of God, Saint Philomena! I rejoice with thee in the power which God gave thee for the glory of His Name, for the edification His Church, and to reward the merits of thy life and death. I rejoice to see thee so great, so pure, so generous, so faithful to Jesus Christ, and to His Gospel, and so splendidly rewarded in Heaven, and on earth. Attracted by thy example to the practice of solid virtue full of hope at the sight of thy recompense granted to thy merits. I resolve to follow thee in avoiding all evil and in fully obeying what God commands. Help me, O great Saint by thy powerful intercession. Obtain for me particularly, a purity inviolable forever, a strength of soul always invincible in every kind of assault, a generosity which denies no sacrifice to God, and a love as strong as death for the Faith of Jesus Christ, for the Holy Roman Church and for Our Holy Father, the Father of all the Faithful, the Shepherd of shepherds and of their flocks, the Vicar of Jesus Christ over all the world.
With all the fervor of my soul, I implore these graces from thee, and, in addition, I ask these other benefits from thee with equal confidence in obtaining them through thy powerful intercession. (Here tell the Saint what you need, with simplicity, confidence and humility).
Surely that God so good for Whom thou didst give thy blood and thy life that God so good Who is so generous to thee and through thy mediation, so generous with gifts and favors to us, that God so good Who has loved me even unto dying for me, even unto giving me Himself under the Eucharistic appearances, surely He will never be deaf to thy prayers, nor to my appeals, unless it be that He Himself is in some different way seeking to do me good. Full of confidence, I place all my trust in Him and in thee. Amen
FIRST DAY 1. Consider that St. Philomena was a virgin… A virgin in such a world and in such an age… A virgin in spite of persecution… A virgin until death… What an example! Can I meditate upon it without blushing? What is the cause of my confusion? What is the remedy for it? 2. Humiliate yourself many times for the reason that has made you blush, remembering Her virginal purity. 3. Assist at Holy Mass in Her honor and visit one of Her statues or pictures, if you can do so conveniently.
SECOND DAY 1. Consider that St. Philomena was and did not cease to be a virgin… Because she knew how to control the corrupt desires of the flesh… How to preserve, in the use of Hersenses, the modesty of Jesus Christ, holding aloof from a deceitful world and from dangerous occasions. Do you imagine Her in all that? What are the sources of your temptations… of your weaknesses… of your anxieties… of your falls? Try to eliminate these sources. 2. Fly from everything that has injured you. Practice what you have had the misfortune to neglect with regard to purity. 3. As on the first day.
THIRD DAY 1. Consider that St. Philomena preserved and increased the love which she had for chastity by means of prayer which is the abundant source of spiritual life… by means of the Sacraments, wherein the soul is washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ, and is nourished with His Sacred Body, divine gem of Christian chastity… by remembering that Her members were the members of the Body of Jesus Christ, and that Her body was the temple of the Holy Ghost… It is not true that you have these same means at your disposal? What use do you ask of them? 2. Redouble the fervor of all your prayers… Say to yourself from time to time. My members are those of Jesus Christ… the temple of the Holy Ghost. 3. As on the first day.
FOURTH DAY 1. Consider that St. Philomena was a Martyr… that she had to suffer… to suffer much… to suffer even unto death, and that she showed an invincible patience in these torments…Are suffering and patience invariably found together in you? You have to suffer rarely… to suffer a little… never to suffer to the extent of dying from it. Now whence is the reason for so much weakness on your part? Do you not want to remedy that weakness? What sort of remedy will you choose? 2. Suffer patiently those few sorrows oppositions and pains which the Lord may be pleased to send you this day. 3. As on the first day.
FIFTH DAY 1. Consider that St. Philomena suffered martyrdom for Jesus Christ… thy wanted to wrest Her Faith from Her… thy wanted to make Her violate Her Baptismal vows, to persuade Her to follow the example of idolaters and apostates. And what does the devil, the world; the flesh and your own heart want from you on so many occasions but the same sort of unfaithfulness? All forms of it are an offence against God. Are these not vain fears, indeed, which make you lacking something in your duties, or which cause you to betray your faith?… O my God, what a shameful slackness!…Take courage at last… 2. To overcome human respect, say to yourself from time to time: It is better to please God than men. 3. As on the first day.
SIXTH DAY 1. Consider that St. Philomena, is dying for Jesus Christ, had to put into practice the maxim of the Savior. “He who does not despise his Father, his mother and even his own life for the love of Me, cannot be called disciple.” She did not hesitate… She sacrificed everything, no matter how Her blood and Her nature raised their voices in protest. In far less difficult circumstances do we show ourselves to be worthy of Jesus Christ. If at some juncture we were called upon to choose between God and creatures, between grace and nature, between the love of God and the affection of creatures, to whom would we give our preference?… Oh! in the future let us no longer fall away from our dignity as sons of God and disciples of Jesus Christ. 2. Let us endeavor during this day to please only God, or to please creatures solely for God’s sake. Let us remove far from us all disordered affection. 3. As on the first day.
SEVENTH DAY 1. Consider that St. Philomena, in dying for Jesus Christ, had to endure the jeers, the sarcasms, the outrages of Her persecutors, of Her executioners and of the majority of the witnesses to Her torture… She was none the less generous, none the less constant, none the less joyous in the public confession of Her faith… If the world gave you a similar chalice to drink would you have enough courage to drain the bitterness of it with the same kind of sentiments? Oh! What do the jokes, the scorn, or the most unjust or bloodiest persecution of the world matter?… Can anything ever dishonor a soul that is honored by God? Fear nothing… Follow out your road… It is leading straight to the possession of eternal glory. 2. Do not allow your heart to be changed if abrupt words are spoken to you, or rough, biting and offensive words, are hurled at you. 3. As on the first day.
EIGHT DAY 1. Consider that when Saint Philomena died, for love of Jesus Christ, to all the things of this wretched world, she entered into the joy of eternal life… Yes I am certain, she said in Her heart: “the supreme Judge will give me the crown of justice which He has promised me in return for all the fleeting goods which I sacrifice to His Love.” She dies… and behold Her in the tabernacle of God, with the Saints who follow the Lamb… Are these the thought which I try to have when I find myself confronted with some sacrifice?… What impression do thy make on my spirit?… To what side do thy make the balance fall?… Ah! in order to gain all, the Saints used to say: “Let us lose it all”… and what shall I say? 2. To-day let us decide on some voluntary sacrifice… Let us do readily and with a good heart everything in connection with our duties. 3. As on the first day.
NINTH DAY 1. Consider that St. Philomena, having sacrificed everything in this miserable world for Jesus Christ, received back from Himself in this world more than the hundredfold of what He had given! What renown! What power! What glory! What greatness humbled at Her feet! What throngs of pilgrims to Her different Shrines! What festivities in Her honor. What tributes of reverence have been paid to Her! What an ardent longing to get possession of Her relics! Thus precisely does God fulfill His promises. Ah! If only we maintained our promises to Him with the same fidelity! But when we deprive Him of His glory, do we not perhaps deprive ourselves of great merit and favor both in this world and in the next?… Courage, therefore… Be faithful in order that God may be faithful with you. 2. Today do some little work of mercy in honor of the Saint. Prepare yourself! By a good Confession to receive Our Lord Jesus Christ in a fitting manner in Holy Communion 3. As on the first day.
Let us Pray O God, who in thy great might didst raise up martyrs even from among the weaker sex, grant, we beseech thee, that we who celebrate the feast of thy blessed Virgin and Martyr, Philomena, may be led by Her example and brought by Her to thee: Through Our Lord Jesus Christ Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God, in perfect Trinity, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Sanctuary of St. Filomena