Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Return of the Prayer to St. Michael

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
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 though o prince of the heavenly host
By the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl the world
seeking the ruin of souls.
The following comes from Crisis:
Modern philosophy is full of all sorts of absurd theories about the illusory nature of existence and the unreliability of everything we know to be true. But the boots on the ground, living, breathing, day to day philosophy of even the most angst-ridden German nihilist or the most wild-eyed French existentialist has to be common sense realism. Even German and French philosophers must eat, sleep and conduct themselves in civil society.
There’s great consolation in the reliability of the law of gravity and the fact that it means something specific to me or anyone else when you say dog, cat, house, person, good, true and beautiful. But the last three of those words; good, true and beautiful, and maybe even person, do enjoin some philosophical reflection. They are the basis for making sense of right and wrong, obligation, prohibition and so on. Philosophy isn’t just a waste of time.
Catholicism is deeply philosophical and also deeply mystical and of late the mysticism of the Catholic world view has been confronting me with great force, and confronting the minimalist common sense realism I had more or less taken for granted.
Our parish and a number of Catholic churches I’ve been to recently have begun saying the St. Michael prayer after Mass. It is a breathtaking departure from the modern psychological deconstruction through which I have made sense of my own mental states and those of others. Pride, envy, sloth, greed, lust, gluttony and wrath are not merely maladjustments, but rather they are the snares of a spiritual being who seeks the ruin of souls. They are our weaknesses within our wounded souls, but they are also passions from outside of us, which act upon us, against which we must not be passive, or we will be swept away.
The idea that there is a spirit of pride, envy, sloth or any of the other deadly sins which can emanate from people, entertainments or places—or from the devil—is an enchanted, mystical, ancient Catholic view. Since the 1200’s the Tridentine Mass invoked St. Michael in the Confiteor as a protection against evil. Ours is a faith shot through with struggles between powers and principalities, angels and demons.
The resurgence in the St. Michael Prayer reclaims much of the domain seized by Freud, Jung, Adler and their redactors in outlining the landscape of the soul. And it rings true. We are not merely struggling to harness internal engines of the soul like the desires for sex, meaning and power. We are not merely hot-house orchids, isolated, hermetically sealed, gazing upon the tempests which rage within our spiritual navels. We are also the objects of a cosmic struggle between the forces of God and the Devil.
Scott Hahn explained the sign of the beast, 666, the mark of the devil referred to in Revelations, as the spiteful declaration of spiritual war by Satan. It was rooted in Satan’s offended pride and envy. According to St Thomas Aquinas, angels have perfect knowledge of that which they know, and at the instant of creation, saw all that would unfold throughout history, including the fall of man and the incarnation of God in the Person of Jesus Christ. According to Hahn, that God would become a lowly man was such an affront to the vastly superior angels that Satan rebelled in disgust, and 6, the day upon which man was created, was repeated as a cuss three times, as a mock of the Trinity and a declaration of rebellion. The fall of the angels was directly linked to their envy of man because God took on lowly humanity in the Person of Jesus Christ. So from the beginning, the principle objective of the fallen angels has been the seduction and ruin of human souls. According to Catholic theology we are hunted by the devil and his minions but also protected by hosts of angels, including angels specifically assigned to the protection of each one of us.
Read the rest here.

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