The Prayer to St Michael
Last week Fr David wrote about the Holy Rosary which is a protection against evil and which Our Lady called the ‘battering ram’. St Michael the Archangel whose Feast we celebrated very recently is also a powerful protection against evil and the attacks of Satan. But who is St Michael?
St Michael is God’s warrior. The most important fact concerning St Michael, as Scripture tells us, is that in the mighty war or combat which took place in Heaven when the bad angels fell away from God, St Michael sounded his war cry: “Who is like unto God?” This is what Mika-el means. “Who is like unto God?” Satan or Lucifer was himself once a great Archangel and the greatest of all the angels. He was very mighty and the most beautiful. But he was so full of pride that he began to think he was greater than God and said, “I will not serve.” He brought many of his fellow angels with him, whom we now know as the fallen angels or the demons. A battle took place in Heaven, and this is how the book of the Apocalypse describes it:
“Now war arose in Heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in Heaven. And 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” (Apocalypse 12:7-9).
St Michael was victorious over Satan and cast him out of Heaven. Because of his victory over Satan, he is also known as the great Defender of the Church. He helps ward off those evil fallen angels, and hence we say in the prayer to him, “defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and the snares of the devil.” This prayer which we recite at the end of each Mass has an interesting origin. Pope Leo XIII was celebrating Mass on 13th October 1884 when he suddenly became pale and fell to the ground. He described a terrifying vision of God being openly challenged by Satan in which he bragged he could destroy the Church if God would allow him a little more power for a hundred years. Pope Leo described a vision of great evils coming upon the Church and the world in the twentieth century. The Pope immediately rose and composed the Prayer to St Michael. This prayer was recited universally from 1886 until 1964 when it was suddenly dropped, and almost simultaneously the destruction of families and many social ills and divisions in society and in the Church exploded. Mass attendance dropped, vocations declined radically and thousands of priests and religious left the Church.
Today there are many errors and false worldly teachings against the Gospel of JESUS Christ gaining ground, and worse still, they are being promoted by many in the Church’s hierarchy, the successors of the Apostles, under the false premise that this is a development of doctrine. This is a deception and these people are putting themselves above God. They are using the ongoing Synod as a means of achieving their worldly anti-Christian goals which might even cause a split in the Church. Satan has gained strength. So the more we invoke St Michael, the better. Just as the recitation of the Holy Rosary and the Hail Mary causes Satan pain as his head is crushed by Our Lady, similarly with the recitation of the St Michael prayer, he is chained up and cast out of our lives and out of the Church. Pope St John Paul II pleaded with us to pray again the Prayer to St Michael and Pope Francis has also encouraged it. In 2013 the Pope erected a statue of St Michael in the Vatican Gardens. So let us pray every day this powerful prayer and ask St Michael’s protection on the Church, on society, on our families and on our children.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC