Thursday, September 30, 2010
Many people know the short version of the prayer St Michael that was written by Pope Leo XIII, and even magicians have used this prayer to call on the power of the Archangel. Not as many people know the longer version of the prayer and the story behind it. For some reason I was meditating on this yesterday and thought it timely to share.
The story goes that on October 13th, 1884, Pope Leo entered a trance after celebrating a Mass in his private chapel. He heard two voices talking in the nearby tabernacle. One voice was the voice of Satan, the other the voice of Christ.
Stan Boasted: “I can destroy your Church.”
Christ replied: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: "To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Christ: “How much time? How much power?”
Satan: 75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
Christ: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
Immediately after this he went from his chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. The long version of the prayer mentions specifically that Satan has infiltrated the Church:
“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.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye 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.
Let us pray.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.”
This prayer, and this story, are very popular amongst ultra-conservatives who note that 75 years after it was written, the second Vatican council began, which in their eyes corrupted the church.
Of course to a liberal esoteric type like myself, it indicates much more than that. Especially if you, like me, consider "the Church" to be a lot larger than the RCC. When I first heard the story I immediately interpreted it as the rise of fundamentalism overshadowing reason. Of course you can find in it what you want. I am sure that some would link it to the sex abuse scandals.
Anyway, May Michael the Archangel protect you and keep you. Amen.