Novena in honour of St. Philomena Virgin and Martyr
composed by St John Mary Vianney, Curé d'Ars, a great devotee and the greatest propagator of his cult.
Prayer (to be recited on each day of the novena)
Glorious Virgin and Martyr, so beloved of God, Saint Philomena, I rejoice with you in the power God has given you for the glory of his Name, for the edification of his Church and to honour the merits of your life, and of your death. I rejoice to see you so pure, so generous, so faithful to Jesus Christ and his Gospel, so magnificently rewarded in Heaven and on earth. Attracted by your examples to the practice of sound virtues, filled with hope at the sight of the rewards granted to your merits, I propose to follow you in fleeing all evil and in performing entirely what God commands me. Help me, O great Saint, with your powerful intercession. Obtain for me, above all, a purity forever inviolable, a strength of mind always invincible in every kind of assault, a generosity that is not denied for God at any sacrifice, and a love as strong as death for the Faith of Jesus Christ, for the Holy Roman Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff, common Father of all the faithful, Shepherd of Pastors and sheep, Vicar of Jesus Christ throughout the world. To these graces that I ask of you, O Saint Philomena, with all the fervour of my soul, I add other graces, which I am equally confident of obtaining through your powerful mediation. (No, that God who is so good, for whom you gave your blood and your life; that God who is so good, who is so prodigal towards you and, through you, of His gifts and favours; that God who is so good, who loved me to the point of dying for me, to the point of wanting to give Himself to me under the Eucharistic species, no, He will not say no to your prayers, to my vows, to the need He certainly feels to do us good. I hope so, I place all my trust in Him and in you. Amen.
1. Consider that Saint Philomena was a Virgin ... Virgin in the midst of the world... Virgin despite persecution... Virgin until death. What a model! What is the cause of my confusion? What will be the remedy? 2. Humble yourselves often for what has made you blush, considering her virginal purity. 3. Hear Holy Mass in her honour, and honour one of her statues or images, if you can easily do so.
1. Consider that Saint Philomena was and never ceased to be a Virgin... For she knew how to mortify the corrupt desires of the flesh... to preserve, in the use of the senses, the modesty of Jesus Christ... to keep away from a deceitful world and from dangerous occasions. Do you imitate her in all this? What are the sources of your temptations... your weaknesses... your anxieties... your falls? Seek to dry them up. 2. Flee what has harmed you, practise what you have had the misfortune to neglect in regard to chastity. 3. (Holy Mass, etc., as for the first day).
1. Consider that Saint Philomena preserved and increased the love she had for virginity by prayer, the abundant source of spiritual life... by the Sacraments; whereby the soul is washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, and nourished with His sacred Body, the divine seed of Christian virginity... by remembering that her members were the members of the Body of Jesus Christ and her body was the temple of the Holy Spirit... Have you not the same means? What use do you make of them? 2. Double the fervour in all your prayers... Say to yourself from time to time: my members are those of Jesus Christ... the temple of the Holy Spirit. 3. (Holy Mass, etc., as on the first day).
1. Consider that Saint Philomena was a Martyr... that she had to suffer... suffer much... suffer until death, and that she showed in these torments an invincible patience... Are suffering and patience inseparably conjoined in you? You seldom suffer... suffer little... never die... Now where does such weakness come from? Do you not wish to remedy it? What means do you choose for this? 2. Suffer with patience those few pains, annoyances and sorrows that the Lord will be pleased to give you on this day. 3. (Holy Mass, etc., as on the first day).
1. Consider that St Philomena suffered martyrdom for Jesus Christ... They wanted to take away her faith... They wanted to make her violate the vows of her Baptism... induce her to follow the examples of idolaters or apostates. And what do the devil, the world, the flesh and your heart want from you on so many occasions, if not similar infidelities? They are reduced to the offence of God... Are they not vain fears, which make you then fail in your duties and betray your Faith? O God, what shameful slackness!... Take courage at last... 2. Win some human respect... Say to yourself from time to time: it is better to please God than men. 3. (Holy Mass, etc., as on the first day).
1. Consider that Saint Philomena, dying for Jesus Christ, had to put into practice this maxim of the Savior: "If anyone does not love me more than his father and mother... indeed if he does not love me more than himself, he cannot be mine disciple". She did not delay... She sacrificed everything, although blood and nature raised their voices. On less difficult occasions, do we show ourselves worthy of Jesus Christ? If sometimes there is a choice between God and creatures, between grace and nature, who do we give preference to? Oh! let us no longer degenerate in the future from our dignity as children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ. 2. Let us strive on this day to please only God, or creatures solely for God. Far from us be disordered affections. 3. (Holy Mass, etc., as for the first or day).
1. Consider that Saint Philomena, dying for Jesus Christ, had to tolerate the jokes, the insults of her persecutors, of her executioners and of the majority of spectators of her torture... She was no less generous, less constant, less joyful in the public confession of his Faith... If the world gives you to drink from such cups, you will have enough courage to devour its mockery, its scorns, its most unjust persecutions... Can he ever be dishonored who by God is he honored? Do not fear... Follow your path... It will end in the possession of eternal glory. 2. Don't let your heart be changed if some harsh, rude, biting, offensive, etc. word is said. 3. (Holy Mass, etc., as for the first day).
1. Consider that Saint Philomena, dying for the love of Jesus Christ to all things of this lower world, entered into the joy of eternal life. “Yes, I am certain”, she said in her heart, “that the Supreme Judge will give me, in exchange for the temporary goods that I sacrifice for her love for her, the crown of justice that he promised me”. She dies... and here she is in the tabernacle of God, with the Saints following the Lamb... Are these the thoughts I try to have when I find myself faced with some sacrifice? What impression do they make on my soul?... On which side do they tip the scales?... Ah!, the Saints, in order to have everything, said: let's lose everything... what will I say? 2. Let us establish for ourselves on this day some voluntary sacrifices... Let us promptly and willingly make those which are annexed to our duties, etc. 3. (Holy Mass, etc., as for the first day).
1. Consider that Saint Philomena, after having sacrificed everything in this low world for Jesus Christ, received from Him Himself in this world more than a hundredfold of what She had given. What a reputation! How much power! How much glory! How many greatnesses humiliated at her feet. What a numerous concourse of pilgrims to her various shrines! How many parties in honor of her! What tributes of veneration are paid to her! What restless zeal to obtain relics of her! This is precisely how God fulfilled her promises. Eh! if we kept ours towards Him with equal fidelity! ... But by depriving him of his glory, do we not perhaps deprive ourselves of many merits and favors both in this world and in the next? ... Courage therefore ... Be faithful, so that God may be faithful to you. 2. Do some works of mercy today in honor of the Saint. Prepare yourself with a good confession to worthily receive Our Lord Jesus Christ. 3. (Holy Mass, etc., as for the first day).
O God, who among the other miracles of your power also gave victory to the fragile sex from martyrdom, grant favorably, so that we who celebrate the Christmas of the Blessed Philomena, your Virgin and Martyr, come to You for her examples.