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Getting The Troops Ready For Battle

September 11, 2023 Frontpage No Comments

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

Any of you who have listened to my radio program on the Iowa Catholic Radio Network know that we always sign off with the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. We do that because we know the nature of our program, Faith On Trial, exposes listeners to the battle that is waging between the forces of Our Lord and those of, as C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape would say, Our Father Below.
I’ve mentioned this in a column before, but I think it is notable enough to repeat: The Prayer to St. Michael was an outgrowth of an interior locution that Pope Leo XIII had on the morning of October 13, 1884, which, incidentally, was 33 years to the date before the great Miracle of the Sun during Our Lady’s final appearance at Fatima.
As the story goes, the Pope had just concluded his daily Mass when he suffered what appeared to be a collapse and his aides feared for his life. He shortly awoke and told the most amazing story about hearing a conversation between God and Satan. According to reports, the conversation went something like this:
Satan: “I can destroy your Church.”
God: “Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
God: “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.”
God: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
And, as the story goes, the Pope was so shaken by this episode he composed the Prayer to St. Michael and later ordered it recited after every Low Mass throughout the world. That continued until shortly after Vatican II.
Of course, devotion to St. Michael did not start with Leo XIII. Devotion to the angels went as far back as Genesis. In Exodus, God tells Moses, “Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared” (23:20). In Daniel, Michael is identified as a “major prince” among the angels and he fights on Israel’s behalf as its protector, and in the Book of Revelation he is described as doing battle against the enemies of God.
Thus, by Leo’s time it would not be surprising that he would immediately turn to the one who does battle for the Lord as “prince of the heavenly hosts” to do battle against Satan’s plan to destroy the Church. So, he composed the short prayer to the prince of angels:
“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 evil spirits who roam about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
And Pope St. John Paul the Great, said of the prayer: “The prayer can fortify us for that spiritual battle about which the Letter to the Ephesians speaks: Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from His mighty power (6:10)….Even if today this prayer is no longer recited at the end of the Eucharistic Celebration, I invite all to not forget it, but to recite it in order to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and the spirit of this world.”
Now consider what is happening currently: “Our great nation is ruled today by an anti-Catholic elitist class who not only tolerate anti-Christi bigotry, like we saw on display at Dodger Stadium this year but they also encourage and celebrate it,” said Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, “That bigotry has given thugs silent permission to carry out actual violence against Catholic churches and symbols,” he added.
To counteract this, CatholicVote is conducting its Second Annual St. Michael Novena to combat the works of the Devil. And the attacks by the Devil are too numerous to mention, but CatholicVote notes just a few: “The United States has seen a dramatic increase in attacks against Catholic churches, especially since the controversial leak of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022. To date, there have been over 350 attacks on Catholic properties since May 2020,” CatholicVote said in announcing the novena.
“Most disturbing is the fact that while violence against pregnancy care centers has slowed, attacks on Catholic churches and sacramentals have only increased in frequency,” said CatholicVote Field Director Tommy Valentine.
In a press release announcing the novena CatholicVote said, “Catholics have always gone to St. Michael, the prince of the archangels, to help them in battle.
“We know that the anger and violence we see against our faith comes from the prevailing influence of the lies of the evil one. Abortion and the blasphemies of hate groups like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence open human beings up to the influence of the fallen angels, so we’re asking the prince of angels to fight for us.”
The novena will begin on September 20 and end on the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel, September 29. The intent of the novena is to draw Catholics from across the country together to pray for an end to the violence. “We know that the anger and violence we see against our faith comes from the prevailing influence of the lies of the evil one. Abortion and the blasphemies of hate groups like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence open human beings up to the influence of the fallen angels, so we’re asking the prince of angels to fight for us,” CatholicVote said.
“Each day of the novena promotes a special intention, and there will be days dedicated to specific parishes that have suffered vandalism, to Catholics who work in the trenches to support women and families, and to leaders in politics and in the Church,” said CatholicVote in its announcement.
“Everything we do must begin with prayer. This is the entire message of the Gospel: the battle belongs to the Lord. The battle for America’s soul is no different,” said Burch.
This week when we tape our program, we will have as our guest Erika Ahern, associate editor and co-host of CatholicVote’s LOOPcast. That program will air before this is printed, but if you are interested you can follow the link below to Episode 379 and listen to the podcast.
Remember, join us September 20 to 29. We’ve all been enlisted in this fight so let’s make the most of it.

  • + + (You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every weekend on Faith On Trial or podcast at https://iowacatholicradio.com/faith-on-trial/)
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