THE SURRENDER NOVENA

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Do you find yourself trying not to surrender to despair with all the chaos and confusion all around us these days? Surrender to Jesus instead! Let the appropriately titled Surrender Novena printed below that Jesus gave the Servant of God Father Don Donlindo Ruotolo help you. 

Father Dolindo himself was a great mystic and stigmatist, who helped thousands of people draw closer to our Lord during his lifetime and was responsible for many miraculous healings both before and even after his death at the age of 88 in 1970.

The Surrender Novena can put you in the proper frame of mind to “take therefore no thought for the morrow” (Matt 6:34) from our Lord's Sermon on the Mount in which He challenges us to seek Him first when worrying about our earthly needs; or, as St. Padre Pio said famously “Pray, hope, and don't worry”. (Incidentally, St. Pio, a contemporary of Fr. Dolindo, once said of him that the whole of paradise was in his soul!)

As a quick reminder, Novenas are special prayers prayed for nine days in a row, (hence the name as it is derived from the number nine in Latin novem) often to honor a Saint or a noteworthy ecclesiastical event, such as the Immaculate Conception, for example. They can include special texts for each of the nine days, or just a single prayer itself.

In this case we have both, in the form of words from Jesus followed by a simple but powerful prayer that is to be repeated 10 times each day. For those who wish to follow along I will be reciting this prayer “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything” 10 times after reciting Jesus’ words for each day following the format of this novena. 

The novena itself follows:

DAY 1: Why do you confuse yourselves by worrying? Leave the care of your affairs to me and everything will be peaceful. I say to you in truth that every act of true, blind, complete surrender to me produces the effect that you desire and resolves all difficult situations. 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
(Say 10 times) 

DAY 2: Surrender to me does not mean to fret, to be upset, or to lose hope, nor does it mean offering to me a worried prayer asking me to follow you and change your worry into prayer. It is against this surrender, deeply against it, to worry, to be nervous and to desire to think about the consequences of anything. It is like the confusion that children feel when they ask their mother to see to their needs, and then try to take care of those needs for themselves so that their childlike efforts get in their mother’s way. Surrender means to placidly close the eyes of the soul, to turn away from thoughts of tribulation and to put yourself in my care, so that only I act. Saying “You take care of it.” 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! 
(Say 10 times)

DAY 3: How many things I do when the soul, in so much spiritual and material need, turns to me, looks at me and says to me; “You take care of it”, then closes its eyes and rests. In pain you pray for me to act, but that I act in the way you want. You do not turn to me, instead, you want me to adapt to your ideas. You are not sick people who ask the doctor to cure you, but rather sick people who tell the doctor how to. So do not act this way, but pray as I taught you in the Our Father: Hallowed be thy Name, that is, be glorified in my need. Thy kingdom come”, that is, let all that is in us and in the world be in accord with your kingdom. Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, that is, in our need, decide as you see fit for our temporal and eternal life. If you say to me truly: Thy will be done. Which is the same as saying: You take care of it. I will intervene with all my omnipotence, and I will resolve the most difficult situations. 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
(Say 10 times) 

DAY 4: You see evil growing instead of weakening? Do not worry, Close your eyes and say to me with faith: “Thy will be done, You take care of it”. I say to you that I will take care of it, and that I will intervene as does a doctor and I will accomplish miracles when they are needed. Do you see that the sick person is getting worse? Do not be upset, but close your eyes and say You take care of it. I say to you that I will take care of it, and that there is no medicine more powerful than my loving intervention. By my love, I promise this to you. 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
(Say 10 times) 

DAY 5: And when I must lead you on a path different from the one you see, I will prepare you; I will carry you in my arms; I will let you find yourself, like children who have fallen asleep in their mother’s arms, on the other bank of the river.  What troubles you and hurts you immensely are your reason, your thoughts and worry, and your desire at all costs to deal with what afflicts you. 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
(Say 10 times)

DAY 6: You are sleepless; you want to judge everything, direct everything and see to everything and you surrender to human strength, or worse- to men themselves, trusting in their intervention,- this is what hinders my words and my views. Oh how much I wish from you this surrender, to help you and how I suffer when I see you so agitated! Satan tries to do exactly this: to agitate you and to remove you from my protection and to throw you into the jaws of human initiative. So, trust only in me, rest in me, surrender to me in everything. 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
(Say 10 times) 

DAY 7: I perform miracles in proportion to your full surrender to me and to your not thinking of yourselves. I sow treasure troves of graces when you are in the deepest poverty. No person of reason, no thinker, has ever performed miracles, not even among the saints. He does divine works whosoever surrenders to God. So don’t think about it any more, because your mind is acute and for you it is very hard to see evil and to trust in me and to not think of yourself. Do this for all your needs, do this all of you and you will see great continual silent miracles. I will take care of things, I promise this to you. 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
(Say 10 times)

DAY 8: Close your eyes and let yourself be carried away on the flowing current of my grace; close your eyes and do not think of the present, turning your thoughts away from the future just as you would from temptation. Repose in me, believing in my goodness, and I promise you by my love that if you say “You take care of it” I will take care of it all; I will console you, liberate you and guide you. 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
(Say 10 times) 

DAY 9: Pray always in readiness to surrender, and you will receive from it great peace and great rewards, even when I confer on you the grace of immolation, of repentance and of love. Then what does suffering matter? It seems impossible to you? Close your eyes and say with all your soul, “Jesus, you take care of it.” Do not be afraid, I will take care of things and you will bless my name by humbling yourself. A thousand prayers cannot equal one single act of surrender, remember this well. There is no novena more effective than this: 

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
(Say 10 times)

Mother, I am yours now and forever
Through you and with you
I always want to belong
completely to Jesus

It has been said indeed that it is easier to believe in God than to trust in Him. Yet without some level of trust, that belief itself can decay, much like the earthly treasures our Lord warned us against coveting! (Matt 6:19)

The Covid lockdown landscape has left so many of us looking at Jesus asleep in our boats as in Matt 8:24-27 and Mark 4:37-41 with an increasing sense of panic as the storms get more and more threatening. You know He wins in the end and our Faith will ultimately triumph...but in the meantime why isn’t Jesus calming the waves all around us with people losing their livelihoods or in many cases their liberty? 

Jesus Himself addresses this concern in Day 4 of this novena when He asks “You see evil growing instead of weakening?” as He tells us not to worry but to leave our concerns in His hands nonetheless and to increase our trust in Him, no doubt with the help of prayers such as this one! 

If nothing else, besides praying the novena itself for the prescribed nine days, the wonderful line “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!” can function as a useful aspiration (short prayer) you can say during the day when things seem particularly out of control or just unsettled for you. It can be very powerful, especially if prayed from your heart! 

The overall tone of our Lord’s words in the meditations for each day is quite positive, along the line of His stating in scripture that faith can move mountains (Matt 17:20; 21:21, and Mark 11:23). Yet you might well wonder how Jesus, who is indeed capable of great miracles, will get you through difficult times.

Jesus addresses this directly in Day 9, when He discusses suffering, saying “Pray always in readiness to surrender, and you will receive from it great peace and great rewards, even when I confer on you the grace of immolation, of repentance and of love. Then what does suffering matter? It seems impossible to you? Close your eyes and say with all your soul, “Jesus, you take care of it.” Do not be afraid, I will take care of things and you will bless my name by humbling yourself.

It’s as if He is telling us to rest assured that our trials will not have been in vain if we offer them up to Him for our good and His glory. God specializes in bringing good out of evil for the salvation of souls, after all. One need only look at a Crucifix to remember this. Easter Sunday always follows Good Friday!

(Fr. Dolindo himself experienced much pain during his life and spent his last 10 years paralysed, yet he never lost his affability and great love for our Lord and our Lady, no doubt because he was so devoted to sharing Christ’s love with others.) 

Yet how are we to carry our crosses in surrendering to His will? What about all the worries associated with this pandemic and the subsequent upheavals it has caused?

Again, Jesus says in Day 2 of the novena that "Surrender to me does not mean to fret, to be upset, or to lose hope, nor does it mean offering to me a worried prayer asking me to follow you and change your worry into prayer. It is against this surrender, deeply against it, to worry, to be nervous and to desire to think about the consequences of anything….Surrender means to placidly close the eyes of the soul, to turn away from thoughts of tribulation and to put yourself in my care, so that only I act. Saying 'You take care of it'.” 

He follows up in Day 3: "In pain you pray for me to act, but that I act in the way you want. You do not turn to me, instead, you want me to adapt to your ideas. You are not sick people who ask the doctor to cure you, but rather sick people who tell the doctor how to."

Our Lord indeed knows human nature quite well (John 2:25) and each of us better than we know ourselves and that we will naturally feel anxiety about our lives in one form or another. 

Yet he gets right to the heart of what’s wrong with this in Day 6 where He says: "You are sleepless; you want to judge everything, direct everything and see to everything and you surrender to human strength, or worse—to men themselves, trusting in their intervention—this is what hinders my words and my views. Oh, how much I wish from you this surrender, to help you; and how I suffer when I see you so agitated! Satan tries to do exactly this: to agitate you and to remove you from my protection and to throw you into the jaws of human initiative. So, trust only in me, rest in me, surrender to me in everything."

It is not that concern about providing for ourselves or our loved ones is a bad thing. But letting the devil try to shatter your faith in our Lord by playing on those fears is! Surrendering to God means letting Him work on and through you. Not the devil! And trusting Him to give you His graces to help alleviate your anxieties and pain.

St. Theresa of Calcutta, also known as Mother Theresa, spoke famously about our need to give God permission to work in our lives. And while Jesus in this novena seeks to tamp down our “control freak” streak, giving Him control doesn’t mean we passively wait for miracles.

I would like to suggest here that having Him take care of everything includes our following Him as best we can, given the limits of our fallen human nature. You may well ask “OK but how do I do so?”

Our Lord gave us one answer when he said “If you love me you’ll keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we trust in Jesus, staying close to Him through in prayer, partaking of the sacraments of Communion and Confession and seeking His guidance in Scripture, Catechisms and commentary by and about the saints, He will diminish our worries and make following Him easier, as we see more clearly His path for us. Then after discerning and doing His will as best we can, we can say to Him “OK Lord, It’s in your hands now.” 

Think of this as the ultimate partnership! As St. Paul once wrote “I can do all things in Him (that is, Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). And that great Apostle to the Gentiles also wrote in his letter to the Philippians (Ch. 4:6-7) “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Keep in mind as well that Jesus wants to bless us with an eternity of bliss and peace in heaven if we have been his good and faithful servants here on earth! When seen in this context, our Lord’s encouraging words in this novena can be inspiring indeed! We’re not talking about some saccharine “prosperity Gospel'' styled promises, with Jesus playing Santa Claus fulfilling our prayer requests with the help of elves in a workshop! 

Note also that  God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not ours (Is 55:8) And His timetable is often not ours. He may not answer our prayers in a timely manner or in the way we think He should. But can we trust Him to know better than we do what is good for us? 

Certainly we should, and part of why we’re in such trouble nowadays is because so many of us have turned our backs not our faces to him (Jeremiah 7:24). How many of the world’s leaders today are even paying lip service to His commandments, much less following them? 

We may all think we know better, but in the end most of us can't even see straight, carrying on like sulky children who think they’re smarter than mom and dad.

In Day 2, Jesus speaks of our concerns about the future as being like “the confusion that children feel when they ask their mother to see to their needs, and then try to take care of those needs for themselves so that their childlike efforts get in their mother’s way.” Ask Jesus, in this regard, to guide you in His grace so you don't get in His way!

Our Heavenly Father knows, as Jesus says (Matt 6:32), that we have many earthly needs. But He asks us to seek Him first in trust to fulfill them as He sees fit!

Follow Jesus as best you can in loving obedience. This is the most important way to let this novena and others like it strengthen your Faith. We read in both Matthew’s (13:58) and Mark’s (6:5) Gospels of how Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in Nazareth among the people there because of their lack of faith. 

Let Him work miracles in you, even if that just means the not-so-minor-miracle of helping you to persevere with less anxiety in hardship. If nothing else you will find yourself having more peace of mind, keeping in constant contact with our Lord in prayers such as this novena, knowing that he indeed has your back. Let His triumph over sin and death in His Passion ultimately be yours as well, in a different sort of way, in the life of the world to come!

God Bless,

Christopher Castagnoli
for www.ourcatholicprayers.com


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