In an October 3 homily for the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City, Pope Francis preached on the heavenly war between the good angels, led by St. Michael, and Satan. This war, he said, …
This is one of my favorite things about Pope Francis, that he talks about the devil and his work in our world and lives today.
In the tradition of Pope Leo XIII and John Paul II !
Exactly 33 years to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar.
He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the above prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere.
When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices - two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord:
“I can destroy your Church.”
The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Our Lord: "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.”
Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
In 1886, Pope Leo XIII decreed that this prayer to St. Michael be said at the end of “low” Mass (not “high”, or sung Masses) throughout the universal Church, along with the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen); and the practice of the congregation praying these prayers at the end of Mass continued until about 1970, with the introduction of the new rite of the Mass.
Oh absolutely, its so refreshing to hear the topic being mentioned and discussed openly. Stuff like this is why I really do have a great and genuine affection Pope Francis. :bounce:
I’ve never heard that story about the creation the of St. Michael Prayer before. Nice! :aok:
Thanks for posting that.
1884 + 100 + 33 = 2017
Concerning the Pope’s reminders about satan: he has a duty to speak about such things, and it is always reassuring to know he is aware of our struggle, against our ancient foe.
Concerning the supposed vision of Pope Leo XIII: about to rain some healthy outlook on your fireworks:
*'In 1934 a German writer, Father Bers, investigated the origins of the story of Leo’s vision. “Wherever one looks,” he observed, “one may find this claim — but nowhere a trace of proof.” …Father Bers quoted a priest who visited with Leo XIII when the prayer was instituted in 1886:
“When the prayers which the priest says after Mass were being instituted, I happened to have a short audience with the Holy Father. During the conversation Leo XIII mentioned what he was going to prescribe and recited all the prayers from memory. This he did with such deep-seated conviction of the power of the cosmic rulers of this darkness and of the beguilement which they cause, that I was quite struck by it.”
Commenting on this passage, Father Bers concluded:
Therefore it can be safely assumed that the Holy Father would have spoken of the vision if he had had it — or that at least the reporter would have mentioned it — since it would have been most relevant to the general purport of the statement. Consequently, the argument “from silence” seems to indicate clearly that the “vision” had been invented in later times for some reason, and was now feeding upon itself “like a perpetual sickness.”
The problems with the story…as follows:
• Writings which promote the story give no references to sources.
• The various accounts contradict each other as to where the vision supposedly took place — after Mass at the foot of the altar, or in a conference with cardinals.
• The various accounts are inconsistent about the date of the vision.
• The dates the accounts give for the alleged vision (1880, 1884 and 1888) do not correspond with the date when the St. Michael prayer was actually instituted (1886).
• There appears to be no corroboration for the story in a contemporary account which one would expect to have mentioned the event, had it indeed taken place.
These considerations all tend to support the conclusion Father Bers arrived at in the 1930s: “that the ‘vision’ had been invented in later times for some reason,” and that the story was simply feeding upon itself.’*
People, satan has always been attacking us. Our Lord would not give satan extra power or time. Remember Herod - probably satan had something to do with that. Remember Nero - satan, no doubt, had some influence. Remember the Aztecs - we know satan had something to do with that. We had so many wars - guaranteed, the mass killing of Jews is one of the worst genocides ever but there have been others. What about ISIS now?..! What about gang warfare in S. America? And there are many other types of evil that have occurred throughout history too. So many things throughout history which were the worst possible eventualities that could have happened according to the technological capability of each of those eras and the conditions of living for those alive in such times and places of trial. It is not wise to give conspiracy more room than necessary! In regards to 2017 to 2019 being significant, well, if we pray the Rosary, then we haven’t got anything to worry about anyway if something were to happen. We have been advised to “keep our lamps lit” since Biblical times!
This is one of countless times the pope has referred to the supernatural realities. Unfortunately this will get very little attention in the media.
Why couldn’t parishes resume the practice of the St. Michael prayer after Mass now? I know a few home schoolers who recite it.
I noted that calculation myself. Two years (and one week) to go 'til that anniversary.
Might be interesting to go to Fatima for that. Take an umbrella and a raincoat? Maybe.
I have in the past always believed the story.
It was consistent with Satan’s requests in the Book of Job … so … (plausible).
As would be a Pope having a vision. Another story of that kind is the vision of the Pope St. Francis went to see (Innocent?) who purportedly had had a dream of a Church falling down … and a simply dressed friar running up to steady the walls of it.
But thanks for your scholarship and counsel. It rather doesn’t matter to me so much if the account is technically “true” or just “quite spiritually fruitful” – but I will think on it. Too late for me to take my post back at this point … but between my sharing and your cautions may great good come from it.
The lesson from it would be to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17 is a good attendant reading) and be ready to battle back against the devil and his fiery darts (and defend the Church and our own souls).
Further, there are scriptures that point to a time of a great apostasy … a falling away from the true faith before the Lord returns … some of this account may point towards that too.
:hmmm: Agree (of course) that we should always “Keep our lamps lit …” and “Stay Awake” … always ready because we don’t know when the end of OUR individual world will come to an end … followed by immediate judgement. And this fact overshadows any preoccupations with times, dates and prophecies. If we are whom we should be … Satan will not win. Glad Pope Francis is speaking on this subject.
After daily mass at my parish (or nightly, it’s at 5:30 pm) the laypeople spontaneously say this prayer each day as the priest processes from the altar after the end of mass.
My advise is far from scholarly however the evidence cited was from someone whose remarks might be if not at least first or second-hand! The thing I do like from the stories, which is true, is that Pope Leo XIII wrote many encyclicals on the Rosary! Nice post, btw.
While I may doubt the veracity of the legend around this great prayer of Pope Leo, I do not question the value of the prayer that this “lion” of a pope has left us. It should be on our lips everyday, for everyday we are thrust into the battle upon waking.
Your final sentence is particularly notable. While it is a great prayer to pray, the Angels including the great St. Michael himself, do not hesitate to run ‘errands of love’ for Our Lady, and so, while St. Michael might be willing to help us, Our Lady’s intercession ensures the help of angels; hence, I suppose, why the prayer is included often near the end of the Holy Rosary.
I never heard of that custom, although I always include it near the beginning, after the first Our Father.
True. The only thing I would add is that the “battle” has 2 parts:
the external battle around us, as secular forces influence political, media, education, etc. This is the battle I tend to focus on; and rightly so.
the internal battle within us, as we, ourselves, sometimes put ourselves in near occasion of sin, as we take advantage of, or neglect, opportunities to grow in virtue. This is the battle I tend to forget.
:yup: yes, after the “Hail, Holy Queen” prayer once the mysteries are completed usually I think.
I agree with PNewton’s counsel to remember to say the St. Michael prayer early in the morning (and in concert with … not in competition with … Marian prayers of intercession or petition as friardchips mentions).
Again I’m glad Pope Francis is emphasizing the spiritual battle and the reality of Satan.
I’ve met many self-assured Catholics who rather roll their eyes at the mention of the devil and more or less are convinced that " … we Catholics don’t believe in THAT sort of thing anymore!"
This direct warning from the Pope himself should put some of that notion to rest thank heavens.
Sorry to correct you, but the article said 33 years before the miracle of the sun at Fatima (1917). So the vision was in 1884. So the correct math would be 1884 + 100 = 1984.
aha… but do we know that the time was to start immediately at the time of the vision or at some later unspecified time.
Fatima Miracle of the Sun - eyewitness account - Dr. José Maria de Almeida Garrett, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra, Portugal
“Then, suddenly, one heard a clamour, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.”
And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven.
I am not saying anything… but the sun miracle could recall his words about the final defeat of satan who he saw fall like lightning and perhaps in his final fall he has requested more power to try to destroy his church and the sun falling at Fatima is like the beginning of the 100 years attack ending in his defeat?
So it would be 33 years to the Fatima miracle the 100 years to… well… now, or 2017 or 2019…:hmmm:
Ah I see where you’re coming from. The Church does appear to be under constant attack recently as well. This is the time to pray for the Church.