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Lectio Divina out loud: Erika Dix looks at (and finishes finally) a popular prayer from a new perspective.

So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) 

I have trouble surrendering, and it is not just a once in a while thing, it is an all the time thing. It was recently suggested to me to pray the Surrender Novena to help with this difficulty. I thought, well, I have started it several times in the past, let’s give it a go again! So I prayed the first two days, and then lost track. Again. Then some really difficult things happened in my life, and I thought, this might be the time to really commit to this surrendering thing.   

Instead of starting at the beginning of the novena (like I had several times before), I decided to turn it upside down. Literally. I started with Day 9, which was great because I had not read it before. My Spiritual Director had also suggested I listen to the novena to help guide the prayer. There are several apps that have the novena as a spoken prayer, and I eventually settled on a series of YouTube videos that are simple yet beautifully read.   

As I started to read through Day 9, I felt drawn to journal about the prayer. I treated it as a Lectio Divina, but instead of a Scripture verse, I was focusing on the powerful words contained in the prayer. You are, in fact, praying words that Jesus is saying to you. Each day, I started with reading, meditating, and journaling the prayer, then putting everything down and letting myself listen to the video and be guided through the words. This really helped because instead of just reading the words, I was experiencing them, especially since I had been meditating on them and making them my own. The prayer became a voice talking to my soul.  




It was a countdown to the simplest of ideas. The novena starts with, “Why do you confuse yourselves by worrying?” So simple, yet so difficult to grasp and act on. The Scripture verse from the Letter of James really homes in on the idea of surrendering/submitting to God. St. James’ idea is very simple as well. Submit to God. Resist the Devil. After that, all the workings of the devil will flee from us. Worrying, losing hope, being angry and upset: these are not what surrender is about. All these confusing thoughts and feelings will flee when we properly submit/surrender to God. And Jesus is there explaining and walking through how to do it in the Surrender Novena. How can it be made simpler than that? I might not have seen that except for this new path I took with the Surrender Novena.   

Look at how you pray each day. It may be the same prayers, well-loved and full of meaning to you. But if you are struggling with something in your life, and it might be surrendering as it was with me, I learned from this experience that it can be good to find a prayer or Scripture passage and look at it from a different perspective. Reading it a different way, listening to it in a different place, or journaling about it in a different direction.

Sometimes you just don’t get the message you are supposed to hear unless you look at it upside down.  




Some of the phrases that stuck out to me from all nine days of the Surrender Novena: 

  • “Close your eyes and say with all your soul, ‘Jesus, You take care of it.’” 
  • “I sow treasure troves of graces when you are in the deepest poverty.” 
  • “Oh, how much I wish from you this surrender, to help you; and how I suffer when I see you so agitated!” 
  • “I say to you that I will take care of it, and that there is no medicine more powerful than my loving intervention.” 
  • “You are not sick people who ask the doctor to cure you, but rather sick people who tell the doctor how to.” 
  • “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.’” 
  • “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.” 





Jesus, thank You for giving us the healing words of the Surrender Novena. We pray that we can continue to surrender and submit to You, so that You can take care of everything for us, and we will no longer be confused by worry.  


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Copyright 2024 Erika Dix
Images: Canva