More often than not, I prefer the traditional prayers over the more recent attempts to "improve" upon them. The prayers I find most off-putting are those that sound like bidding-prayers that could be offered at a United Nations prayer chapel. It's hard to tell who is being invoked or to what end, although something vaguely well-intentioned is usually evident. As they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
One recent prayer card of the kind one received in the mail when he gets placed on various Catholic mailing lists, is one that caught my attention by its ruthless realism. It hit the ground running, so to speak, with the following invocation directed to Our Lady:
Mother, now that the need is at its greatest and the powers of darkness seem to have free reign, we come to you with childlike trust and implore your powerful aid...."Not bad. The time is ripe for realism. Especially today, on this Feast of the Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel, it is eminently fitting to remember that Catholics were born, as Pope Leo XIII declared, for combat.
At the bottom of all warfare and all battles, in the final analysis, lies only one conflict: the war begun in the heavens between St. Michael the Archangel and Lucifer. As our priest told us in his homily this morning, it is instructive to remember that the name "Michael" means "Who is like God?" The question was hurled at Lucifer, of course, who aspired to be like God, and thereby got himself cast down from Heaven by St. Michael and fittingly supplanted by a humble peasant girl, know known as Queen of Angels and Mother of God!
Even Pope Paul VI came to realize -- perhaps too late -- that things were not quite as rosy as most had thought following the best council ever:
"The Church finds herself in an hour of anxiety, a disturbed period of self-criticism, or what would even better be called self-demolition [auto-destruction]. It is an interior upheaval, acute and complicated, which nobody expected after the Council. It is almost as if the Church were attacking itself. We looked forward to a flowering, a serene expansion of conceptions, which matured in the great sessions of the council. But ... one must notice above all the sorrowful aspect. It is as if the Church were destroying herself."Related: "Self-Destruction 09-11" (Vortex)