Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Call me old fashioned, but.......

At the end of Mass this morning, as is the custom, we said the extra prayers appointed. The Prayer to St Michael the Archangel seemed to leap from the page.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio. Contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur. Tuque princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.
The Lord speaks to us in strange ways at times and I'm just wondering exactly what we're in for now. Perhaps I'm just a little sensitive to things at the moment having had a glorious week of non stop Gregorian Chant in one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. Coming back to earth with a thud could be an explanation. More likely it was a conversation I had by chance with a respected parishioner in the street. It was quite obvious that despite a sound catechesis many years ago they had actually sold out to the 'cafeteria' approach to Catholicism a long time ago. It was the subtlety of the arguments that disturbed me. 'Has God really said?' was the underlying theme. It reminded me of something slithering around a tree in a garden soon after God had completed creation.

What does strike me is the subtle way that Satan's work continues in the world. His greatest success in the campaign against our salvation is to make us doubt that he (or she) even exists. The fact that this prayer is now rarely 'lisped by little ones' let alone known by my own 'Generation X' catholics makes me quite sure that we have been lulled into a sense of false security.

What is probably less well known is the 'long' version of the prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII after he had a vision of evil spirits released from Hell to attack the world.

“O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.
“Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.
“These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.
“Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
St Michael, pray for us!


  1. I think the abandonment of the Prayers at the End of Mass post Vat II was indicative of the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ mindset that was becoming fashionable. All this talk about the Devil, Hell and Purgatory was old hat - negative stuff that was okay for the rudi et crudi of earlier days who didn’t know any better. But now we were so much more enlightened that we didn’t need to hear it any more. This soon morphed into avoiding any mention of Mortal or Venial sins, leading to the “I’m OK, you’re OK” mentality that sees everything as relative and nothing set in stone. It was not new – merely Modernism under a different name.

    When I first began reading the Old Testament many years ago I used to marvel how the People of Israel would turn away from God again and again. Time and again God would save them and for awhile they were grateful. But soon they were back to their old ways, chasing after false gods. Couldn’t they see what they were doing? How many times would God have to show them His love and mercy for them to be convinced.

    Then it dawned on me – we’re no different today! It’s the same story. Human nature has not changed. The difference is that while the Old Testament people were always looking forward to a savior, we already have Him - so there is less excuse for us. Something else has not changed either – the Devil. He can’t change and will always seek to lead us astray. He is never more successful than when people take him for granted or even doubt his existence. But as Our Lord assured us, he can’t overcome us unless we let him. But we need help, now more than ever, so…

    Bring back the Prayer to St. Michael!

  2. Just wanted to leave a note. I'm 19 (Canadian, that might mean different things to different people.) I am not a Traddie, have never gone to a TLM (but would sure like to.) I pray the short St. Michael prayer all the time. I've even prayed it in Catechism classes with the kids. I also pray the guardian angel prayer, it may be simplistic, but our guardian angels do so much for us, they need to be thanked and praised and better promoted.


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