Obscure Devotional Booklet Foresaw Infiltration Of Church By Forces Of Evil
By Michael H. Brown
We live at a time when evil strikes from all corners. It's certainly striking at the Church -- and yet we know the gates of hell will never prevail against her.
We get this both from Scripture and also the revelations of a purgatorial nun who once told a living nun, "St. Michael will intervene in the personal struggle of the Church which is so terribly persecuted, but not so easily destroyed as the wicked think."
Remarkably enough, virtually identical words are to be found in a somewhat obscure but incredible little booklet, "Beneath St. Michael's Shield", published by the Daughters of St. Paul, available in our bookstore
"The wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, godlessness, and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity," says the booklet -- published in 1977, when much of the abuse was occurring. "These crafty enemies of mankind have filled to overflowing with gall and wormwood the Church, which is the Bride of the Lamb without spot; they have laid profane hands upon our most sacred treasures."
This was something that was missing from the recent bishops' conference, mention of the real source of our Church's current trouble: the devil.
He has affected our parishes.
He has infiltrated our convents, our seminaries.
He has replaced spirituality with psychology.
The crafty enemies, the demons, are everywhere and so we need Michael and we need novenas that invoke him. It is time for Catholics everywhere to call down this great angel -- the greatest of all angels, the prince of the angelic hosts, the one who cast Lucifer from heaven! This week many will be praying and fasting over the abuse scandals and so it is even a better time to call on Michael -- to call on his manliness, his power.
"O glorious St. Michael, guardian and defender of the Church of Jesus Christ, come to the assistance of the Church, against which the powers of hell are unchained. Guard with special care her august head, and obtain that for him and for us the hour of triumph may speedily arrive," one prayer in the booklet, called "Beneath St. Michael's Shield," says.
That booklet is one of the most powerful I own and it is available from us or from the Daughters of St. Paul in Boston. I've been praying from it for nearly twenty years. Our Church is under attack from within and without, and while we can all fret about it and talk about it and write about it, the most important thing we can do, the only sure cure, is to pray about it -- and when praying for the Church, Michael is a powerful one to go to.
As the booklet points out, "under the New Law, as under the Old, St. Michael is the vicar of the Most High and the prince of His people -- ever prepared to render assistance. The Fathers of the Church are of one mind in teaching that St. Michael is the guardian angel and the protector of the Catholic Church."
Time and again in centuries past, this great angel -- this greatest of angels -- has come to the Church's rescue. It is he who helped Constantine the Great win a brilliant victory over the pagan Maxentius; it is he who, during that event, revealed himself as "the chief of the angelic legions of the Lord of hosts, the protector of the Christian religion."
And as he helped Christians against invading Turks -- as he inspired Joan of Arc to her victories -- so does he now stand ready to help us. He should especially be placed back in the form of the famous prayer to him at the end of Mass.
"Since the Ark of the Covenant has been replaced by the tabernacle, St. Michael guards the Blessed Eucharist and keeps watch over the thousands of tabernacles and altars scattered throughout the world," says the booklet. "Even so, he zealously guards and protects Christ's vicar upon earth, the reigning Pope. It has been revealed to various saints that the great Archangel is the special guardian of the Blessed Sacrament; that he accompanies It everywhere -- in the hands of the priest, upon the throne of exposition, in the tabernacle, when borne in procession. Day and night he keeps faithful vigil before the tabernacle in loving adoration."
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