“Saint Michael the Archangel defend us in battle. Be our defense 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 Power of God cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
September 29 is the feast day of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. There are believed to be seven archangels according to Scripture (Tobit 12:15; Revelation 8:2), but only three of them are mentioned by name.
The prayer that opens this blog dates back to October 13, 1884 and Pope Leo XIII. Following the daily Mass that day, the pope had a vision of a conversation between God and the evil one. The devil was boasting that he could destroy the Church if God would give him more time and power. In the vision, God basically told Satan to give it his best shot. Leo took this vision very seriously and immediately went to his desk and wrote the prayer that the Church prayed at the end of the daily Mass around the world until the mid-1960s when the new order of the Mass was introduced.
We know from Sacred Scripture that the archangel Michael is a warrior and fights God’s battles and does battle for us. In Daniel 10:13 and 12:1 Michael is mentioned as the prince who does battle for God’s people. In Revelation 12:7-9 (NRSV) Michael and the angels do battle against the dragon and his angels.
And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
The battle that Pope Leo XIII saw in his vision continues. Some days it seems that the enemy has the upper hand. Yet we are assured by our Lord that his Church will prevail. In Matthew 16:18 (NRSV) he tells Peter, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Now is no time to take a break, the battle continues, heaven continues to wage war against the powers of darkness that seek to destroy the Church and we who are part of her.
At every daily Mass in my home parish we end it with this powerful prayer asking St. Michael to be God’s instrument to do battle. Beginning on September 2, our priest informed us that we would be praying this prayer after every weekend Mass as well as we do battle for our Church. His Excellency Frank Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, announced that as of September 15, 2018, all 82 parishes would be expected to recite the St. Michael’s prayer after each Holy Mass. At church or at home with your family, or even alone, join your brothers and sisters around the world in prayer as the battle rages!