Anyone who doesn't believe that novenas help -- and can help even in the most dire of circumstances, right when we're "on the edge" -- need only to speak with Cynthia Angelina of Framingham, Massachusetts.
Cynthia recently described how devoted she is to a novena that invokes the great Saint Joseph called the Holy Cloak." "Give honor to Saint Joseph," says the booklet novena. "Place yourself under the protection of his cloak as you offer him this particular tribute. Pray the Holy Cloak for thirty consecutive days in memory of the thirty years Saint Joseph lived with Jesus Christ, the incarnated Son of God. The graces," it continues, "are too many to be numbered."
And so it was, it seems, for Cynthia, who last August 7 (2015) experienced a fire in her home and two days later was in the hospital with heart problems -- as it turned out, problems that were not related to the happening two days before.
Instead, a nurse found a tick bite that looked to be a week or ten days old, and medical personnel quickly concluded she had contracted a particularly virulent kind of Lyme disease -- for they said they had seen three such cases the previous week or so. The danger came when the disease found its way into her heart and "built a dam," as doctors phrased it, preventing the heart from keeping a proper pulse.
"I knew something was terribly wrong," Cynthia recounts. "I was weak and my heart didn't have enough power. So I went in and had it checked, and oh boy. I was in line to get a pacemaker and in the hospital for almost ten days. They call it 'pausing.'"
Doctors had her on an external pacemaker as she waited for implantation of a permanent interior one. Here she experienced the tunnel-effect so common with those who report near-death experiences.
"That happened the 9th, before an external pacemaker," she informs us. "A nurse found the tick bite and that changed everything. The week before, they said four people had the same thing. I was going in and out of consciousness. My heart paused. What happened is that I would feel a weakness come over me and then hear like a grinding sound, then a spiraling, what I call a vortex, a descent, and as I was going down, I said, 'Mother Mary, if it's God's Will, please give me a hug, Saint Joseph wrap us in your cloak, and then take us to the Infant Jesus.'"
"I then would go back up the vortex and come out of it. That happened at least three times. I didn't see anything. It was an awareness of touch. It's not the kind of touch we know as a human. It was my soul being touched by Mary's soul. It was a spiritual touch, soul to soul. My body was seriously considering letting go. I ran to Mary. I just ran to Mary."
We can invoke Joseph in a special way every time our eyes are set upon a Manger.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph -- and angels, so prominent this time of the year. "Saint Joseph's cloak envelops us in his compassion, protecting and shielding us from all dangers," says the booklet, "so that we may all, by the Grace of Our Lord, reach the threshold of eternal salvation."
[resources: The Holy Cloak In Honor of Saint Joseph]