This post is released to propose praying the Novena for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, nevertheless it may be undertaken in preparation for any Marian Feast that you desire to particularly honour. The challenge is simple, though it may be daunting: Pray the Hail Mary 1,000 times a day – for 9 days. The 1,000 Aves devotion has a longer history and more variations than we’re going to look at here (there will be other posts for that!) but we’re just going to take one example from St. Faustina’s diary as a witness to it:
“This is now the third time I have said such a novena to the Mother of God; that is, a novena made up of a thousand Aves each day. Thus the novena consists in nine thousand salutations. Although I have done this now three times in my life, and two of these while in the course of my duties, I have never failed in carrying out my tasks with the greatest exactitude. I have always said the novena outside the time of my exercises; that is to say, I have not said the Aves during Holy Mass or Benediction. Once, I made the novena while lying ill in the hospital. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Apart from recreation, I have only prayed and worked. I have not said a single unnecessary word during these days. Although I must admit that such a matter requires a good deal of attention and effort, nothing is too much when it comes to honoring the Immaculate Virgin.” (1413)
So the details of the challenge are simple. There are a few ways of counting your Aves:
- You can say them as Rosaries. That will be 20 Rosaries a day, which will amount to 5 roses according to the typical Golden Rose counting.
- You can say them ‘straight’ in a row with no other prayers and trimmings. In this case, every 250 Aves equates to a rose, making it 4 roses a day.
- Of course these two approaches may be mixed. For example you may pray 10 Rosaries a day and 500 Aves. In that case there would be 2 roses for the Aves and 2 and a half for the Rosaries. Of course we don’t actually count half roses, so in effect what you would do is ‘carry over’ two Rosaries to the next day until they have been included in a rose count… The same carrying over can be done with Aves for the duration of the Novena.
- I’ve also read a suggestion for praying the 20 mysteries with 50 Aves in each ‘decade’. I would be inclined to say count this as 4 roses unless you include a reading or Scriptural meditation for each mystery, but if you do this count it as 5…
If praying your Novena before the Blessed Sacrament, you will need to decide if you are ‘cultivating’ Adoration or Rosary roses – that is which you want to count. Again you can mix and match so long as you count only one or the other at any given time…