We were blessed to have a new pastor come to our north-central Arizona parish about a year ago. He announced that he was going to pretty much leave things as they are for at least a year. During that time he would study and watch and then he would begin to make whatever changes were on his heart. Pastors do these sorts of things.
Most of us don’t deal with change all that well. At least in our gray-haired parish change doesn’t seem like a welcome guest. There were even those writing the bishop to announce their opposition to a new pastor coming in. The older folks wanted to keep the old pastor (who had had a seven year term).
At any rate – about 3 weeks into the tenure of the new pastor, he asked me one morning what I thought about adding the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel at the end of Mass. I told him most everyone would know it, and that we wouldn’t need any cue cards. And so he did it. He announced the change and we all jumped right into it. No difficulty changing on this issue at all.
I remember growing up saying this prayer at the end of Masses. Whether it was every day or just Sundays I don’t recall. But we did it during the middle and later decades of one of the most troubled of all periods in the Church and in the world. Evil was held in abeyance at least from serious damage to the Church, although a lot of damage has been done to real faith practice. And I think we all could go back to the prayer to this most powerful of valiant warrior angels.
This prayer came about from Pope Leo the XIII who had a terrible vision of hell after celebrating Mass. In fact, the experience — the vision was so powerful that the Holy Father laid on the ground with no pulse. They thought he was dead. He awoke shortly thereafter and told that he had seen a terrible vision of the worst of evil and the power and work of Satan.
So moved was Pope Leo that he went to his office and shortly composed the prayer to St. Michael.
“St. 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 power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who roam about the world seeking the ruin of souls.”
Now as to the strength of, or the power of St. Michael, you may not know that St. Michael is prominently a part in certain forms of the Rite of Exorcism in the Catholic Church.
As an individual, I have certain sin that I have struggled with for a long time. Frequent Mass and Holy Communion have strengthened me, but I’ve recently added regular recitation of the prayer to St. Michael. And I have no trouble recommending regular prayer to him in all situations, e.g. summer travels. Evil can exist in other drivers, hotel rooms and areas. Invoking the power of St. Michael is recommended.
What about you? What about your parish? Would you consider this return to ‘yesteryear?’