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Liturgy / Novena to S. Paul Hermit
before the Solemnity of Saint Paul
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Saint Paul is the Patron Saint of the Pauline Order to which our priests and brother belong. This holy man lived in the 2nd/3rd century in Upper Egypt. He was born into a wealthy and noble family. During the persecution of Christians he fled into the Desert but found the surroundings so much to his taste that he decided to spend the rest of his life in the secluded wilderness. He spent nearly 100 years as a hermit in the desert, in prayer and contemplation of God. He lived in a cave, and every day a raven brought him a loaf of bread. Next to this grotto was a spring which supplied his needs. Before he died he was visited by another holy man, St. Antony the Abbot, founder of the eremitical life in Egypt. The two men prayed together: it was their last meeting. After his departure St. Paul died in the position of praying.
St. Jerome tells us that lions came and dug his grave for burial. Paul's fame spread rapidly throughout the region, and he is regarded as the very first saint to take up the life of a hermit. His icons show a raven with a loaf of bread, two lions and a palm tree: these are all shown on the arms of the Pauline Order.
INVOCATIONS TO SAINT PAUL THE FIRST HERMIT
Holy Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Hope for an improved world,
Holy Mary, unfailing help in forming our Christian character,
Our Guardian Angels, who keep guard over our consciences,
St Paul, father of the Pauline Order,
St Paul, patriarch of the hermitical life,
St Paul, lover of solitude,
St Paul, example of Christian perfection,
St Paul, mirror of evangelical poverty,
St Paul, true model of humility,
St Paul, ornament of purity,
St Paul, faithful servant of the Eternal King,
St Paul, defence of the tempted,
St Paul, inflamed with divine love,
St Paul, totally dedicated to God,
St Paul, examplar of sobriety and abstinence,
St Paul, wholly trusting in God's Providence,
St Paul, summit of patience,
St Paul, man without complaining,
St Paul, admired by St. Anthony,
St Paul, commending your spirit to God with hands raised to Heaven,
St Paul, honoured after death with service of lions,
St Paul, buried by St. Anthony,
St Paul, taken to Heaven by the Angels,
That we may live in a spirit of faith, hope and love, intercede to God for us.
That we may abound with good deeds in our daily life,
That we may faithfully fulfil the duties of our state of life,
That we may use the goods of this world with prudence,
That we may unceasingly remember our death and God's judgment,
That we may follow the Crucified Saviour and be united to his Sorrowful Mother,
V. Pray for us St. Paul the First Hermit.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
O God, who wanted that St. Paul, our father, reach a high degree of sanctity through a life of solitude in the desert, grant that, through his intercession, we who are striving to develop in ourselves the spirit of prayer and service, may come ever closer to you in love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.