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'What If I Miss a Day of the Novena?'

One Reader Asks: 'What If I Miss a Day of the Novena?'

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By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Apr 4, 2015)
Joyce sent us an e-mail asking a question which frequently comes up: Does the Divine Mercy Novena have to be prayed "consecutively"? She writes: "I try to pray the Chaplet daily, but miss days here and there."

Which one of us has not found ourselves in a similar "fix"? We start our Novena or some other devotional exercise with the best intentions, but the troubles and cares of the day, or the day after, or the day after that, crowd in upon us, and we miss our daily prayer time, or inadvertently skip what we had hoped to do. If we miss a day or two, have we really prayed the Novena? Does it still "count" with regard to the promise that Jesus made: "By this Novena, I will grant every possible grace to souls" (Diary, 796)?

First of all, we must clarify what the "Novena" is to which Jesus was making reference. He tells us: It is a "Novena of Chaplets," from Good Friday to Easter Saturday, and not the longer Novena intentions dictated by our Lord to St. Faustina (found in entries 1209-29). It is customary to use these longer Novena intentions with the Chaplet, and that is certainly a laudable practice, but our Lord's promise of special graces was not made with regard to the intentions, but only with regard to the recitation of Chaplets.

Secondly, there is a basic Biblical principle to keep in mind that applies to all of our Lord's promises to St. Faustina, or to any other saint of the Church regarding special graces and favors. Simply put: "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (I Sam. 16:7; cf. Heb. 4:12). He knows our every good intention, our every natural weakness, and all the circumstances beyond our control that can get in the way of the fulfillment of our devout desires. What matters to Him is not how much of the novena (or litany, or rosary, or how many first Fridays or first Saturdays) we were able to accomplish, but simply the fact that we honestly tried, and the sincere love with which we did what we could. That good intention in itself is precious to Him! As St. Therese, the Little Flower, once said, "The Lord looks not on the magnitude of the things we do, but on the love with which we do them."

My advice to those who miss a day of a novena is simply to make a special act of adoration of the infinitely generous, merciful, and compassionate God before continuing with the next day of your Novena (for example, you can use the Prayer for Divine Mercy from St. Faustina's Diary entry 1570; "O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness..." — a wonderful prayer of hope and trust). On the one hand, such a prayer, said with a sincere heart, more than makes up for any negligence involved - if any was involved at all — in the missed novena day. On the other hand, if the novena day was missed through human weakness (tiredness, forgetfulness) or extenuating circumstances, then this prayer extols the compassionate generosity of our Savior, who keeps His promises to us anyway!

There are other passages in St. Faustina's Diary where it is clear that our Lord is more interested in purity of intention in the heart than the actual accomplishment of devotional acts. For example, look what He said to St. Faustina about the keeping of the Hour of Great Mercy (Diary, 1572):

I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice.

My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. I claim veneration for My mercy from every creature, but above all from you, since it is to you that I have given the most profound understanding of this mystery.

Notice what Jesus repeats: "... and should you be unable." He knows that sometimes through weakness or circumstances beyond our control we are simply "unable." His message to St. Faustina with regard to the keeping of the Hour of Great Mercy, therefore, was simple: Do what you can, even "if only for a very brief instant." That will be enough; God will take it from there.

A story is told about the medieval saint, Gertrude the Great, that she once had a vision of St. Dominic very highly exalted among all the saints in heaven. When St. Gertrude asked the Lord why this was so, the Lord replied that St. Dominic had carried within his heart a pure intention and passionate desire for the conversion of the whole world, and although it is (humanly speaking) impossible for any human being to accomplish such a goal, the Lord was so pleased with the heart of St. Dominic that he accepted Dominic's pure desire as equivalent to the accomplished deed, and exalted his soul accordingly in heaven.

This is the way our Lord looks upon all of our sincere, well-intentioned, yet stumbling and imperfectly accomplished efforts in every area of life: for while "man looks on the outward appearance, the Lord looks on the heart."

Got a question? E-mail me at questions@thedivinemercy.org.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Marilou - Apr 25, 2014

Truly God is good! Amen

Mrs. B. - Apr 26, 2014

Thanks... for such needed thought ... specially, because we want to please our Lord... and yet something comes along...
At the end, He knows what we have in our hearts!!!

Julie - Apr 26, 2014

In total awe of the mercy, love and faithfulness the Lord shows each and every one of we sinners! How blest we are to be kept in His loving arms!

Tina - Apr 27, 2014

Thank you Jesus, for your unfathomable Divine Mercy

Lou - Apr 27, 2014

Thank you Lord for the gift of life and release me from financial dfficulty...please pray for me...release me from my trials

Timothy - Aug 21, 2014

Thanks so much to the lord who has answered my prayers and am realy grateful for this prayer. Glory be to the lord

Anne - Apr 3, 2015


Juliet - Apr 3, 2015

Thank you for the clarification...thank you Jesus for Your unfathomable mercy...

corrina marie - Apr 3, 2015

in loving and mighty name of our father a true and merciful God I praise and worship you....guide us to be faithful for you offer your life to save us.....

corrina marie - Apr 3, 2015

in loving and mighty name of our father a true and merciful God I praise and worship you....guide us to be faithful for you offer your life to save us.....

tom bailey Houston - Apr 4, 2015

Helpful and wise!

Mrs C - Apr 4, 2015

Thank you lord for the good things you have done for me and my family.i pray for Gods intervention in my family for him to install divine and everlasting peace in my family through Jesus Christ our lord Amen.

- Apr 6, 2015

Thanks for this prayers and information.bcoz i missed sometimes my novena,bt i recover in the nx day.anyway i pray novena every month.

Patricia - Apr 6, 2015

Such good information. I was concerned that I forgot my novena yesterday even though I kept thinking of it while I was at mass. Gave me the strength to continue my novena.

Maria C. - Apr 6, 2015

Thank you for this article. For I have found myself wondering, not just the Divine Mercy Novena, but for prayers and novenas. This answered my question.
It also answered how I desire the salvation of the world but knowing I could not do it for I am not nor one of the saint. It is good to know God takes into consideration our good intentions. I will continue to pray for the priest,for the religious, for the leaders in the world,for those away from the Sacraments, for the harden hearted, for the entire world. Although the souls in purgatory are no longer in this world I pray for them everyday as I had promised Our Lord when I was a child that would I pray for them everyday. They are part of my morning prayers.
A priest once said that for God there is no past. It is all present so we could pray we for the salvation of people in the past. I pray for my ancestors at the hour of their death. I say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, offer Masses, Rosaries for them.
I feel more at ease with this article.
Thank you.

MTCNP - Apr 6, 2015

Thank you for enlightening us, God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to redeem us from our sins. Amen

MTCNP - Apr 6, 2015

Thank you for enlightening us, God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to redeem us from our sins. Amen

lorna - Apr 7, 2015

I am adevotee of divine mercy coz He proves His Mercy on to the strength that I have now inspite on the trial with my marriage as much I want it is my desiree to be his apostolate I always tried to contact person on how I can be one but I dont know why I can not make it I ask God for His guidance and please pray for me thast I will find my way to His compassionate Heart besides I need more of His mercy because my son need not only a doctor but of His divine Healing intervention for He is the true Doctor who can heal my son who suffered a Protein S deficiency THROMBPHELIA COagulation he is on warfarin that on his age 9 years old for me it is a great sacrifice for him bec every 5 days after taking medication blood is extracted to monitor bleeding effect as it will be the adverse side effect of his coumadin and d way I can comfort my son is to offer his suffering to God and prayering and trusting on to the divine assistance of Jesus....so please help me pray

Monina - Apr 8, 2015

God Bless Everyone on this site. I would like to know the start dates of each Novena? The Scared Heart Novena in particular. Hope you can help. Thank you

Mercy Michalski - Apr 9, 2015

Thank you so much and God bless you.

Mrs. L - Apr 9, 2015

Jesus, I trust in you

fatima - Apr 9, 2015

most precious blood of jesus christ,cover us and the whole world..

Darren - Apr 10, 2015

Thank you "AMEN"

Marian - Apr 10, 2015

I have been blessed in so many ways, having returned to the church, my heart is filled with love for Jesus, this is my first time doing The Novena to The Divine Mercy, and I thank you Jesus for your Divine Mercy, for us, and the whole world. Amen~

Faustina - Apr 10, 2015

Thank you, Jesus!

bfiest - Apr 11, 2015


miscel pactol - Apr 11, 2015

Do God still hear the prayer if the person is a very poor .. . poor sinners praying divine mercy chaplet, everyday.....?

miscel pactol - Apr 11, 2015

Do God still hear the prayer if the person is a very poor .. . poor sinners praying divine mercy chaplet, everyday.....?

Caro - Apr 12, 2015

Thank you. I missed the Divine Mercy Mass today due to tiredness and later, felt so guilty and sad. I felt like i will never be forgiven and forgive myself too. I spent the whole day searching what i can do to make up for it. Until Holy Spirit spoke to me through this article and my soul has healed. Thank You Lord for answering my prayer. Jesus, I trust in You.

Linda May - Apr 14, 2015

Thank you, Dear sweet Jesus, not only for your unfathomable mercy for all sinners but your compassion for our attempts to complete the Novena. Jesus, I trust in you.

Ari - Mar 27, 2016

I love the Divine Mercy chaplet. I feel so bad when I miss a day of the novena but I am so happy to read your words of God's love and understanding. He knows me in and out and he knows my heart and intentions. I feel more energized to pray more deeply for the rest of the novena and the daily intentions. May God bless you all and praises be to our sweet and wonderlful Lord God now and forever.

Nancy Rodriguez - Mar 27, 2016

Thank you so much for this information...the guilt is lifted off my shoulders. May the Lord God bless you all!

Anthony Ode - Mar 30, 2016


Norman T. de Leon from Pineda Pasigcity - Apr 1, 2016

Truelly that Our Lord Jesus is the source of all mercy..through help of sister Faustina..May we blessed with righteousness always..God bless us all..

Mrs D - May 11, 2016

Thank you for this usefull information and clarification on skipping of Novena. that God is most interested in our intentions.
I pray for Divine Mercy intervention on MSC employees concerning my family Funds ,that they may be released to enable meet various family needs and for those dependent on it. Amen

Stacia - Oct 12, 2016

Thank you Lord for forgiving my weaknesses and always hearing the worry and good intentions in my heart. how blessed we are for Our Loving, Merciful Compassionate Lord, I place my trust in Thee, May the Lords Will be done Amen.