Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Michaelmas! September 29th

The prayer to St. Michael was one of the first I ever learned.  After the Catholic child's standards -- the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be --  I think it came neck-and-neck with the Guardian Angel prayer for me.  It's one of my favorite prayers and, even for one that's so common and every-day in the Catholic repertoire, I don't take it for granted. For one thing, the protection gained through St. Michael is needed now more than ever in this crazy world, but also because the prayer itself has personal meaning. 

Because he wasn't typically given to "emote" at prayer, I always noticed, even as a small child, with what particular conviction and ardor my Dad pronounced the words to St. Michael at the end of the rosary.  I believe it comforted and strengthened our father of seven, a Navy man, to rely on God's General.  When I say the prayer, I still hear it in my Dad's voice, with his precise pronunciation, and I remember my Dad in his days of strength and vigor. I thank St. Michael for bouying my Dad through the years of his long life, and ask for his protection over him in his waning years.

And I thank St. Michael for having been near, even when he was probably the farthest thing from my mind.  I'm sure he and my Guardian Angel saved me from some scrapes in my naive college days -- and (thank you, God) conspired with some other heavenly friends of mine to steer me in the direction of my future husband.  Then, when Dan converted to the Faith in the early years of our marriage, it seemed right and natural  that he would gravitate toward the great Archangel, as well.  Later, when the children came, all the little boys took to his devotion like it was the most natural thing in the world.  Have you noticed how all little boys want to be St. Michael for All Saints' Day?   But we have particularly recommended our daughters to his care.   We chose him as the special patron of our first little girl, Michelle -- and as Shell grows older and the world gets scarier, I'm more and more glad to have him standing above her, sword drawn when necessary.  You know if you have St. Michael on your side, you're taken care of.  Add the Blessed Mother and the game. is. over.

On this day that celebrates and remembers the great Champion of Heaven, I pray that all our family and friends, all our Religious benefactors, all those whose eyes happen upon the words printed here are well protected by the patronage of today's saint -- always.  Through the shadowed worries of the future and the definite danger of today, may St. Michael guard and defend us all from the snares of the devil.

The Story of the St. Michael Prayer

One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII (See of Peter, 1878-1903) 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. 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:

The Real St.  Michael Prayer -- The Whole Thing

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.”
(From the Roman Raccolta, July 23, 1898, supplement approved July 31, 1902)

(The shorter, more famililar version here.)

Coloring Pages for the Day
(Click and Print)

A highly detailed one:
 A more simple one:

* Check out the beautiful, refreshingly manly depictions of St. Michael at David Meyers' blog!
* A basic site dedicated to the Feast of St. Michael
* And a more detailed site for the feast day with more Catholic customs.
* What they're doing over at Catholic Cuisine to celebrate.
* Previous post with pics and another coloring page.
* The Feast Day over at Gaudeamus.
*  Happy Nameday to all the Michelles and Michaels out there!
Especially this one:


GrandmaK said...

I have know the shorter version since I was in grade school too. I remember it being said after each "low" Mass I attended. Now it is the prayer we pray after each Bible study group lesson. Have a wonderful day! Cathy

AnnaK said...

Great blog about Michaelmas! I attend The Mission of St. Michael here in rural Illinois and have a new found interest in the archangel and Michaelmas. I liked your blog so much I shared it on my FB and Twitter :) @LadyAnnaKasper