Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Catholic Church often speaks in symbols. They open up for us, in a way which words fail, the true reality

Friday morning Pope Francis was joined by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the gardens for a ceremony during which the Holy Father blessed a statue of St Michael  at the same time consecrating the Vatican to the Archangel's protection. Following a brief ceremony, Pope Francis addressed those present noting how St. Michael defends the People of God from its enemy, the adversary, the devil. He said even if the devil attempts to disfigure the face of the Archangel and thus the face of humanity, St Michael wins, because God acts in him and is stronger.

Michael the Archangel, Defend us in Battle

Michael the Archangel, Defend us in Battle

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Michael the Archangel, Angels, Spiritual warfare, the devil, Pope Francis, pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, consecration, demonic, exorcism, Satan, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - In a ceremony held in the Vatican Gardens on Friday, July 4, 2013, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis appeared together. That fact alone should have garnered the attention of the media.

The media in the United States is in a pause for the celebration of Independence Day. In addition, the western media in general is not only asleep but dismissive of the relevance of such an act due to a blindness which accompanies the descent into materialist hedonism underway in the West.

However, the Catholic Church, ancient but ever new, often speaks in symbols. They open up for us, in a way which words fail, the true reality. That is if they are directed to the Living Word, Jesus Christ. The official Vatican report reads as follows:

"To the joy of Vatican City State workers, Friday morning Pope Francis was joined by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the gardens for a ceremony during which the Holy Father blessed a statue of St Michael  at the same time consecrating the Vatican to the Archangel's protection.

"Following a brief ceremony, Pope Francis addressed those present noting how St. Michael defends the People of God from its enemy par excellence, the devil. He said even if the devil attempts to disfigure the face of the Archangel and thus the face of humanity, St Michael wins, because God acts in him and is stronger."

One of the signs that the media fails to comprehend the importance of this event can be discerned from the reports on what some call this Pope's 'obsession' with the devil. Francis regularly reminds the faithful, and everyone who will listen, that evil is real and the devil exists. Further, that he is the enemy of Christ and His Church. In fact, he has been quite clear on this fact throughout his ministry as priest, Bishop and now successor of the Apostle Peter.

One of the better explanations of this fact came in an interview  which Kathryn Lopez, Editor at Large of National Review, did in May with my friend, Alejandro Bermudez, the director of ACI-Prensa and executive director of Catholic News Agency. It concerned the book, Heaven and Earth based on interviews with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. Here is one question and answer:

"LOPEZ: In On Heaven and Earth, Cardinal Bergoglio says: "Maybe [the Devil's] greatest achievement in these times has been to make us believe that he does not exist and that all can be fixed on a purely human level." Why is he so obsessed with the Devil?

BERMUDEZ: If his focus on the Devil is an obsession, well, I think we should all be obsessed. The reality of the existence of the Devil is so overwhelming, especially in the unexplainable evil of our day, that is easier for me to understand how a person can not believe in God than how one cannot believe in the Devil. In any case, Pope Francis believes that taking the Devil out of the equation is more irrational than making long-term plans believing that nothing will ever go wrong. Any company would immediately fire a manager that na´ve."

Alejandro is correct in his comment. The fact that the "two Popes" joined one another in an act of consecration of the Vatican to St. Michael the Archangel speaks beyond the current Pope's affirmation of the unbroken teaching of the Church on the existence of the devil. It reveals the realities of the prophetic moment in which they both feel we are in. It is an invitation to all of us to enter into spiritual warfare.

In 1886 Pope Leo XIII added a prayer seeking the intercession of St Michael the Archangel which was recited at the end of every low Mass. "Saint 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 prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen"

The prayer was a response to an encounter the Pope had in prayer. In that experience he saw that the Devil had unleashed a furious assault on Christ's Church. He wanted the Church to take up spiritual arms and enter into the conflict. In the Liturgical renewal which accompanied the Second Vatican Council, the prayer fell out of use.

The intention of no longer requiring it at the end of every Mass was not to dissuade its use. It was because it was considered to be a prayer which the faithful which would continue to be regularly recited on their own and did not require priestly leadership. Sadly, along with other reactions to the well intended renewals of the Council, such acts of spiritual warfare began to wane.

Blessed John Paul II regularly called the faithful back to seeking the assistance of Michael in the work of spiritual warfare. In 1994, he explicitly requested all of us to enter into the necessary spiritual warfare our age requires. He specifically requested that the Prayer seeking the assistance of St. Michael in this battle "against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world" resume a place of prominence in our devotion:

"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians, "Draw strength from the Lord and from his mighty power" (Eph 6 10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Rev. 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St Michael throughout the Church."

"St Michael the Archangel defend us in battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil." Although today this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it, and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world. (Pope John Paul II, Regina Caeli, 24 April 1994)"

The event and consecration to Michael the Archangel in the Vatican Garden on Friday, July 3, 2013, with the appearance of the "Two Popes", is a symbol of the importance placed by the successors of Peter on the faithful not only discerning the underlying spiritual warfare of this age but taking our place in the field of battle.

The last Book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse of John, records the account of the Battle in the Heavens: "Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,8 but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world-he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." (Rev 12:7-9)

On May 24, 1987, Blessed John Paul II visited a shrine dedicated to Michael the Archangel and gave a profound address on the biblical roots and teaching of the Tradition of the Church as it relates to the role of St Michael the Archangel in the task of spiritual warfare. It can be read in its entirety here.

I conclude with another excerpt from Blessed John Paul II. The news out of the Vatican decreeing his canonization, along with Blessed John XXIII, serves to remind us of his role in this struggle.  The following words place in context and underscore the significance of this little reported event in the Garden of the Vatican. Our "two Popes" have invoked the big weapon in the current age of spiritual warfare. They have invited us to do the same.

"As fragmentary as it is, the evidence of Revelation concerning the personality and the role of St Michael is very eloquent. He is the Archangel (cf. Jude 1:9) who affirms the inalienable rights of God. He is one of the princes of heaven (cf. Dan 12:1)-charged with guarding the Chosen People-from whom the Savior will come. Now the new People of God is the Church. That is the reason she considers him her protector and support in all her struggles for the defense and expansion of the kingdom of God on earth. It is true that "the powers of death shall not prevail", as the Lord assured (Mt 16:18), but this does not mean that we are exempt from trials and battles against the snares of the evil one.

"In this struggle the Archangel Michael stands alongside the Church to defend her against all the iniquities of the age, to help believers to resist the devil, who "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Petr 5:8)."

"This battle against the devil which characterizes the Archangel Michael is still going on, because the devil is still alive and at work in world. In fact, the evil that is in it, the disorder we see in society, the infidelity of man, the interior fragmentation of which he is a victim, are not merely the consequences of original sin, but also the effect of the dark and infesting activity of Satan, of this saboteur of man's moral equilibrium. St Paul does not hesitate to call him "the god of this world" (2 Cor 4:4), inasmuch as he shows himself to be an astute enchanter, capable of insinuating himself into our actions so as to introduce deviations that are as destructive as they are apparently conformed to our instinctive aspirations.

"It is for this reason that the Apostle of the Gentiles warns Christians of the snares of the devil and his innumerable followers, when he exhorts the inhabitants of Ephesus to put on "the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:11-12).

"We are reminded of this struggle by the figure of St Michael the Archangel, to which the Church in both the East and the West, has unceasingly directed a special devotion. As is well known, the first sanctuary dedicated to him arose in Constantinople through the work of Constantine: it is the celebrated Michaelion, which was followed in that new capital: of the Empire by numerous other churches dedicated to the Archangel. In the West, from the fifth century the cult of St Michael spread to many cities such as Rome, Milan, Piacenza, Genoa, Venice; among the many sites, the most famous is certainly this one on Monte Gargano.

"On the bronze door molded in Constantinople in 1076, the Archangel is depicted in the act of vanquishing the infernal dragon. This is the symbol with which art represents him to us and the liturgy leads us to invoke him. Everyone recalls the prayer that used to be recited years ago at the end of the Holy Mass, "Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio" (Saint Michael Archangel defend us in the hour of conflict"

Amen!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Europe

France uneasy as drones spotted over U.S. Embassy, landmarks - Terrorists suspected Watch

Image of Soldiers guard several sites in Paris as the threat of terror attacks grows.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

French officials are worried that a terror attack may be imminent in Paris after drones were spotted flying over several landmarks including the U.S. Embassy. Police were unable to locate the operators. PARIS, FRANCE (Catholic Online) - The AFP is reporting that for ... continue reading


U.S. soldiers dare Putin just 300 yards from Russian border Watch

Image of A U.S. Army armored personal carrier during a military parade in Estonia to mark the nation's independence day.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A sign of growing tension in Europe, and possibly a warning to Russia occurred in the Baltic nation of Estonia, as it marked its independence day with a military parade that prominently featured troops and equipment from NATO forces - including U.S. troops - that ... continue reading


Former Russian soldier reveals that Putin has sent troops into Ukraine! Watch

Image of Moscow denied that Russian soldiers were in Crimea when it was taken, but that proved to be a lie.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ceasefire that was agreed to in Minsk by the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia did not last even a day before Russian supported rebels broke it by shelling the besieged town of Debaltseve which prompted a withdrawal of Ukraine forces. LOS ... continue reading


Italy deploys 1,800 soldiers in response to possible ISIS attacks on Vatican and Italy Watch

Image of The Islamic State's large presence in Libya has worried many in Europe, and fears are growing that an attempt could be made on the Pope's life.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Because of the growing power of the Islamic State in Libya, as well as threats made by the group against the Vatican and Pope Francis, security across Italy and the Vatican has been stepped up, officials revealed on February 18. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Forced into sex work, trafficked people suffer unbelievable abuse Watch

Image of Many young girls forced into sex work forego returning to their homes and families due to their shameful circumstances.

By Alex Whiting, Thomson Reuters Foundation

From dog attacks, strangulation and rape, to injured anglers being thrown overboard and left to drown, trafficked people can suffer extreme violence and severe health problems no matter where they end up working, researchers have found. LONDON (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


Brought to light: German Catholic archdiocese reveals more wealth than Vatican Watch

Image of The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Cologne in Germany has since disclosed it is worth $3.82 billion in U.S. dollars, making it richer than the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an effort on the part of Pope Francis to make the finances of the Catholic Church more transparent, surprising things have been learned. The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Cologne in Germany has since disclosed it is worth $3.82 billion in U.S. dollars, ... continue reading


Copenhagen next on Islamic hit list: two terrorist attacks rock Danish capital within hours of each other Watch

Image of Danish police have started a nation wide manhunt for one or possibly more suspects who were involved in two shootings in Copenhagen, which left two dead and five injured.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Danish police have mounted a nationwide manhunt for one gunman or more, who was involved in the shooting of a forum on free speech that left one dead and three police officers injured before fleeing in a stolen car; a second attack occurred the same day, and ... continue reading


Playing the West like a fiddle: Putin signs 'peace treaty' while sending tanks and troops into Ukraine Watch

Image of Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing the western world like a fiddle.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia met over a marathon session to formulate and sign a ceasefire agreement intended to end the almost year long civil war in Ukraine, activity along the Russo-Ukrainian border has left many skeptical that this ... continue reading


Priceless, 'lost' Leonard da Vinci painting rescued from bank vault in Italy Watch

Image of The painting had been rediscovered in 2013 in a collection of 400 artworks kept in a Swiss vault. The authorities then were alerted to the existence of the painting -- but the portrait went missing again.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A painting by the man who defined the term "Renaissance," Leonardo da Vinci, has been rescued by Italian authorities from a bank vault in Switzerland. While described as "lost" - in was more than likely stolen, the painting was at risk for selling in the black ... continue reading


Notorious 'Bishop of Bling' gets new assignment at Vatican Watch

Image of The allegations against 55 year-old Bishop Tebartz van Elst calls attention to the high spending of the archdiocese of Munich and Freising, which has just spent $150 million on a new diocesan service center.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst denounced as the "Bishop of Bling" for his extravagant and consumerist lifestyle will now take a post at the Vatican. The former Bishop of Limburg, Germany is set to begin his role as a delegate on catechesis at the ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
4 I pleaded with Yahweh my God and made this ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
15 Costly in Yahweh's sight is the death of his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 9:2-10
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 8:31-34
31 After saying this, what can we add? If God is for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 1st, 2015 Image

St. David
March 1: According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter