Tuesday, February 1, 2011

St. Michael the Archangel

The Holy Souls in Purgatory--->
<---Do you know God? Living the life of God.

Can a prayer be inspired by a battle?
His Holiness Pope Leo XII
(pictured at right) wrote
the Saint Michael prayer,
printed below,
in 1884, after supposedly seeing a frightening vision:
evil spirits, trying to fulfill Satan’s boast to destroy our Lord’s Church within a century, were engaging in fierce attacks against it.

Although the Pontiff also saw St. Michael casting Satan (also known as the devil) and his demons back into Hell in his vision, he was so horrified by what he had seen he felt compelled to help defend our faith in this struggle.
In the Saint Michael prayer he throws down the gauntlet to “the father of lies” as Jesus calls the devil in John’s Gospel (8:44), by enlisting the help of a very special Archangel.

St. Michael’s very name (in Hebrew, Micha’el meaning “Who is like to God?”) denotes the war cry uttered in that battle.
Note that when we talk about Satan or the devil here we are also referring to his “army” of fallen angels, the evil spirits referred to in the Saint Michael prayer.

As a special patron and protector of the Church, St. Michael has been assigned to fight against Satan; to protect faithful souls from him, especially at their death; to champion God’s people; and, further along this line, to escort them to their judgment.
Although we tend to downplay the notion of the devil as being too quaint or outmoded today, he does indeed exist and not just as a symbol of evil, or as character in a fairytale to frighten us.
God allows us to be tempted but gives us the grace and the free will to choose Him and not the devil.

One of Satan’s greatest assets is his camouflage.
On the subject of resistance, keep in mind that we can and should say
the Saint Michael prayer at church or just on our own during the day for spiritual protection for ourselves and for others as well!
Satan was unable to destroy the Catholic Church in the 20th century, but certainly our faith withstood terrible onslaughts from the enemy of the Church.
We are still engaged in that war that has gone for all of human history, in one form or another, between God and the devil.
Each of us has had our own battles against the dark side trying to turn us away from eternal life with our Creator.
Satan’s idea for our eternal life is one spent with him in hatred and misery and he’s after as many souls as he can get!

The vision;

On October 13, 1884, after the eged Pope Leo XIII had finished saying Mass, he was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired (he collapsed into what is allegedly a mystical ecstasy).
However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion:
"Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!"

He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church.
But in the midst of the horror the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell.

Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint Michael, which is the original version of the shorter prayer we say today:


O Glorious Archangel St. Michael,
Prince of the heavenly host,
be our defense in the terrible warfare
which we carry on against principalities and powers,
against the rulers of this world of darkness,
and spirits of evil.

Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal,
made in His own image and likeness,
and redeemed at a great price
from the tyranny of the devil.
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, that 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;
his depraved mind, corrupt heart,
his spirit of lying, impiety, blasphemy,
his pestilential 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 has been set up the See of the most holy Peter
and the Chair of Truth for 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 scattered.

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 conciliate the mercies of the Lord;
and beating down 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.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered, hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.


God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.


The above St. Michael's Prayer is the original version as written by Pope Leo XIII. It is taken from The Raccolta, twelfth edition, published by Burnes, Oates & Washbourne Ltd, publishers to the Holy See, London, 1935. It was originally published in the Roman Raccolta of July 23, 1898, and a supplement approved July 31, 1902:

On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said:

"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle of which we are told in the Letter to the Ephesians:
"Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power" (Ephesians 6:10).
It is this same battle to which The Book of Revelation [Apocalypse] refers, recalling before our eyes the image of Saint Michael the Archangel (cf. Revelation 12:7).
Prayer and the sacraments are an essential part of what St. Paul called the “armor of God” in his letter to the Ephesians.
The Saint Michaelprayer can help us indeed “stand against the deceits of the devil" (Eph 6:11) by “taking the shield of faith” (Eph 6:16).

Remember, God permits us to be tempted by the devil but gives us the grace to resist him through prayer in our daily lives.

As St. Peter once noted “be sober and watch, because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
“The evil spirits who roam about the world seeking the ruin of souls”
mentioned in the Saint Michael prayer have surely been busy, but in asking for help we can fight back against them every day.

Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid vision of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to Saint Michael throughout the Church.
"Even if this prayer is no longer recited at the end of every Mass, I ask everyone to remember it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world."
Protecting the Children of God from the Infernal Enemy.

- Pope John Paul II

The well-known short version of this prayer follows in English and Latin.
The Pope ordered this prayer to be recited daily after Low Mass in all the churches throughout the Catholic world.
However this practice was almost completely swept away in the 1960s by liturgical changes made in the wake of Vatican Council II.

Short Prayer of St. Michael

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


It is requested pray it everyday for the good of the whole world.

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