Fourteen years ago, I had a mysterious dream. It was so vivid and seemingly symbolic that I never forgot it. In the dream, I was on a battlefield, equipped with armor. Chaos swirled around me. Somehow, in the middle of the fight, I realized I was battling the forces of evil — demons. They were everywhere, in human form, but I saw the Heavenly Hosts of angels in God’s army fighting against them, too.
There were those among us, humans, who were faithful to God and fought against Satan and his minions. At one point, however, I became weary and weak. In that moment, I sensed I was succumbing to death. Shortly before I gave up, St. Michael the Archangel swooped in and carried me to safety. I was kept in a hiding place with other wounded and exhausted soldiers, guarded by the angels.
Since that time, I have developed a strong devotion to St. Michael. Usually, it’s by praying the St. Michael Prayer each time I get behind the wheel, or perhaps if there’s an emergency brought to my attention (medical, car accident, financial, etc.) There are numerous ways to increase your devotion to this powerful heavenly intercessor, first by becoming acquainted with what’s available and the efficacy of each prayer.
History of the St. Michael Prayer
Though various accounts of the origins of the St. Michael Prayer exist, one thing is certain: Pope Leo XIII was observed staring at something invisible or unknown while celebrating Mass. Immediately after, he went into his private office and wrote the St. Michael Prayer. His private secretary, Rinaldo Angeli, claims Pope Leo XIII received a vision in which he saw Satan tell God that he would destroy the Church over time.
This was enough to shake Pope Leo XIII into action, as the prayer was mandated as part of every Low Mass celebrated between 1886 to 1964. Only recently has the St. Michael Prayer been reinstated into many Masses throughout the world.
It’s interesting to note that the older version of the St. Michael Prayer was much longer and widely used in the Roman Ritual by exorcists. The commonly known prayer is known by many faithful Catholics and is approved to be recited by the laity.
Prayers and Devotions
Besides the St. Michael Prayer, there are a few powerful devotions to the Archangel, whose name defies Satan’s rebellion in its meaning: “Who is like God?” Here are a few of them:
- Michael Novena – This nine-day prayer of intercession begins on September 20th. The feast of the three Archangels – Ss. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael – is September 29th. All three of these celestial saints are incredible friends in times of distress, but St. Michael is known for crushing the head of Satan and is particularly efficacious against spiritual warfare attacks.
- Chaplet of St. Michael – Much like other chaplets, this one is prayed on a set of beads connected by a holy medal or crucifix. Each group of beads includes prayers to one of the nine choirs of angels, beginning with the highest, the Seraphim. St. Michael is considered among the Seraphim, and so is also among the other, lesser choirs. The concluding prayer invokes him as “guardian of the souls of men” and “conqueror of the rebel angels,” among other equally potent titles.
- Litany of St. Michael – If you are among those who enjoy the meditative aspect of litanies, you may appreciate these. For private use, a devotee can incorporate these litanies into his/her daily prayer, contemplating St. Michael’s other titles, such as “Healer of the Sick,” “Help of those in agony,” or “Splendor and fortress of the Church Militant.”
Role Model of Humility and Fortitude
Not only is St. Michael our defender against evil, but he is also a holy model of Christian perfection for us to imitate. He is crucial for our times – in moments of despair; for those suffering all sorts of ailments; everyone affected by war, poverty, or natural disaster; for all of the addicted; for those trapped in trafficking; etc.
St. Michael is the utmost example of humility, because he personally fought against the greatest and first sin – that of pride. In turn, we would do well to call upon him when we are battling bouts of pride in the form of jealousy or envy, anger or unforgiveness, vanity or narcissism.
Because all angels are pure spirit, their virtues are far superior to ours. As humans, we are fickle and constantly alter our decisions, sometimes based on appetitive faculties instead of our intellect. Angels, however, do not engage in this sort of behavior. They are constant and true in their worship and service of God, and therefore, are perfect helpers for those of us who struggle in fidelity.
St. Michael’s strength and courage should lead us to greater confidence in God’s goodness and providence in our lives. He unabashedly defeated Satan during the fall of the angels, and he continues to rush to our aid when we are feeble of heart, worried, or paralyzed with fear.
Each time you find yourself spiraling into unholy darkness, call upon your friend, St. Michael, and he will rescue you.