I had a dear friend from the US enlighten me to the true meaning of the Christmas Novena - a 9 day service leading up to Christmas Day that a Father Charles Vachetta developed back in 1721.
Father Charles Vachetta, pastor of the Church of the Immaculate in Turin, Italy, wanted to give his parishioners something special for the Advent of 1721. He wanted them to understand the intertwining of the Old and New Testaments so they could see for themselves the love of God unfold from the beginning of time and for all eternity. Father Vachetta decided to give them the gift of a novena--a prayer going deep into the spirit of Advent, leaving one inspired with inexpressible joy. So Father Vachetta began to write his nine-day prayer, to stir the hearts of his parishioners to eagerly await the coming of Christ.
This is an excellent reading the way he wove the Old and New Testament together to point to the coming of Christ.
What saddens my heart is my Filipino friends being told that if they
do this 9 day prayer their wish, whatever it is, will come true.
I do not believe this was Father Vachetta's intent. His was to point his parishioners to Christ.
From the website: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/prayers/chrnovena.htmlFather Vachetta was a poet and scholar, steeped in Biblical theology. Using the Latin Vulgate, he wove the novena from the psalms and prophecies of the Old Testament which foretold the coming of the Messiah and crowned his masterpiece by retelling the birth of John the Baptist. Then, taking some of Scripture's lesser known prophecies, he composed a canticle, or prayer- song of incomparable beauty called "Let the Heavens Be Glad." The canticle is sung after the seven major prophecies and makes a fitting antiphon for the Scripture readings of the day. The Christmas novena, as it is now known, begins on December 16, nine days before Christmas, and ends on Christmas Eve. Father Vachetta left us the heritage of a lovely Advent tradition and his work continues to prepare hearts for the coming of Christ through the prophecies, psalms and Gospels. His Christmas novena will inspire people for ages to come.