NOVENA ON THE RUN
- I really wanted my prayer to be pleasing to God, which is why I reached for the Pompeian novena - says Jacek Józefczuk, a businessman from Warsaw who says it when running and singing
Eight years ago, when he was going through a crisis of faith, he found the Holy Bible on the hood of his car. Now he gives them out to others with the rosary.
- Eight years ago my life fell apart. I experienced the tragic event of divorce. I stopped dealing with myself, started to abuse alcohol, more and more often I had suicidal thoughts - says Jacek Józefczuk.
When he felt that he could not live like this anymore, he decided to beg for help from the Holy Mother. He fell to his knees in front of her image and asked for help. When he woke up the next day, he had one thought in his head: "Buy the Holy Bible." The thought kept coming back so much that he couldn't focus on work.
- I finally decided to buy it. That day, when I wanted to do it, someone put the Bible "by accident" ... on the hood of my car. It was a pocket-sized New Testament with quotes for people in crisis - he says.
It was a sign
He knew that God Himself took care of him and gave him a helping hand. Since then, he has always had the New Testament with him. In God's word, he began to look for a solution to his problems, and at the same time he took up the fight against addiction and sins. He found that, in addition to reading the Bible daily, saying prayer, especially the rosary, is very effective.
For as long as he can remember, he liked to say the rosary. But he could not always focus on considerations. A work colleague encouraged him to pray the Pompeian novena, which consists of pondering four parts of the rosary every day for 54 days for the chosen intention.
"I took this challenge," he says. - I have tried to reconcile with my wife many times, but to no avail. Living alone is very difficult and subject to many temptations, so you need a strong defense. I began my first novena on October 18, 2018 - for the help of the Holy Spirit, for strengthening at times when an evil spirit attacked me.
What a surprise he was when he learned that the Church had proclaimed a pastoral year of communion with the Holy Spirit.
After 14 days the crisis came
He wanted to give up, sought an excuse - lack of time, responsibilities, work. As he passed through the church, he looked at the tormented face of Jesus on the cross and was ashamed: "Lord Jesus, You have not overcome such difficulties - and I will manage, just help me." He decided that he would finish the novena, but he would sing it and run. Every day 16 km, regardless of the weather - in the rain, in the snow.
- When I considered painful secrets, after running 8 km I felt almost physical union with the sufferings of Jesus. But what was my effort compared to what Jesus suffered! He told himself. At first it was difficult, but each day gave him a deeper understanding of where this power is when we fully devote ourselves to God. "The body can be killed, but no one will kill the spirit" (cf. Mt 10:28).
- After twenty days of continuous running, my nails fell off my big toes, because I had wrong shoes, blisters started to form. But I said: it's just a body, I will come to the end - he says.
Running around the monastery
His friends warned him that he would ruin his health, that his joints would get unfit. Even marathon runners don't train so hard. "They probably don't say the rosary," I thought. And after a while, nothing hurt any more, I felt stronger spiritually, I was better at loneliness, I was more effective at work. Only advantages. On the last day of the novena I came to Częstochowa, to the Mother of God, and made three large circles around Jasna Góra. On my knees I passed around the Miraculous Picture - he recalls.
He began his second novena on January 13, 2019 - in the intention of understanding the unity of the Holy Trinity. "This mystery of faith has always been difficult for me to understand," he says. - And during prayer I have time to contemplate. Nothing distracts me, I run and sing and meditate. I am totally facing God. Then answers come to difficult questions. Interestingly, these answers coincide with what is written in the Bible. The Holy Spirit prompts these considerations.
I had a problem - he continues. - An employee in my company made a mistake, once or twice. I think: end, I part with him. In the evening, when I prayed the novena during the run, I considered what to do with it. Next day I reached for the Gospel and opened a fragment in which Saint Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother: seven or seventy-seven. And the Lord Jesus answered my question.
The next novena used on the Feast of Divine Mercy - April 28 in Warsaw at ul. Żytnia, next to the monastery, where St. Sister Faustina, and he finished saying it on the Day of Corpus Christi. He starts another one on October 1. - As long as I live, I will pray the rosary. When I get old and can't run anymore, I will walk with a cane and pray! – he says.
Jacek Józefczuk is a member of the Knights of the Immaculate, which was founded in honor of the Mother of God in Niepokalanów by Maksymilian Kolbe. And he is a fervent promoter of reading God's word. On his initiative, under the patronage of the Immaculate Knighthood, the action "Light of Hope" was created, which is bringing the New Testament to people who need the light of the Gospel. He is also planning to set up a foundation to finance this project.
The cover of a pocket copy of the New Testament which he gives out has the words: "Do whatever he tells you" and the figure of Immaculate Mary, and a rosary of wooden beads is attached to the book. - Rosaries are made by prisoners. I buy beads, string, connecting parts, the cross and pass them to prisons. It happened once that prisoners made "rosaries" of their own made rosaries. They liked the idea so much that they left 700 rosaries for themselves and their loved ones. - I didn't mind - says Mr Jacek.
He distributes the Holy Scriptures and rosaries to people he meets by accident - on the train, at business meetings or on the street.
The rosary prayer is called an irresistible novena, because the Mother of God promised that everyone who will pray the Rosary for 54 days praying for a specific grace will receive it.