Sunday, August 30, 2009

September 29th: St. Michael the Archangel

The prayer we recognize, the short form:

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  -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who prowl  throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Now for the whole the story (taken from Christian Classics Ethereal Library):
On September 25, 1888, following his morning Mass, Pope Leo XIII became traumatized to the point that he collapsed. Those in attendance thought that he was dead. After coming to consciousness, the pope described a frightful conversation that he had heard coming from near the tabernacle. The conversation consisted of two voices – voices which Pope Leo XIII clearly understood to be the voices of Jesus Christ and the Devil. The Devil boasted that he could destroy the Church, if he were granted 75 years to carry out his -plan (or 100 years, according to some accounts). The Devil also asked permission for “a greater influence over those who will give themselves to my service.” To the Devil’s requests, Our Lord reportedly replied: “you will be given the time and the power.”

Shaken deeply by what he had heard, Pope Leo XIII composed the Prayer to St. Michael and ordered it to be recited after all Low Masses as a protection for the Church against the attacks from Hell.

The longer version of the prayer taken from The Raccolta, 1930, Benziger Bros., pp. 314-315 is given below. The Raccolta is an imprimatured collection of the official and indulgenced prayers of the Catholic Church.

 Prayer to St. Michael (original, long form)

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, 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 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 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. Amen.

Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.

The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.

Let thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.

As we have hoped in thee.

O Lord, hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto thee.

Let us pray.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon thy holy name, and as suppliants we 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.


Teachers' Helps:
-- Fisheaters as a good history and explanation of the feast, as well as a teriffic catalogue of customs for celebrating the feast of St. Michael
-- You can find "Feasting With the Angels" and "Michaelmas feast" at Catholic Cuisine
-- A Coloring page
-- Information of interest: the Medieval Celebration of Michaelmas
-- Some traditional "sayings" of the day:

* So many days the moon is old on St Michael’s day, so many floods after.

Traditional English weather marker

* Harvest comes as long before Michaelmas as dog roses bloom before Midsummer.
Traditional English weather marker

* On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on the blackberries.
Traditional northern Irish proverb

* St Michael’s rain does not stay long in the sky.
Traditional French proverb

*If it does not rain on St Michael’s and Gallus [Oct 16], a dry spring is indicated for the next year.
Traditional English proverb

* If you eat goose on Michaelmas Day, you will not be short of money all year round.
Traditional English proverb

* A Michaelmas rot comes ne’er in the pot.
Traditional English proverb

* If St Michael brings many acorns, Christmas will cover the fields with snow.
Traditional English proverb

* Michaelmas chickens and parsons’ daughters never come to good.
Traditional English proverb

* Three things that never come to any good: Christmas pigs, Michaelmas fowls, and parsons’ daughters.
Traditional English proverb