Sunday, September 29, 2013

Reflection on a prayer card

Prayer cards are interesting. Some simply reproduce traditional prayers with pictures of traditional saints on the other side. Others introduce prayers that look like ad-libbed innovations or the sort Protestants might produce in their extemporaneous reveries. Sometimes one even finds misspellings, such as the beautiful card with a consecration to the Blessed Mother I have memorized, which spelled the word "altar" as "alter" (God bless the author)!

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)


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Speaking of Saint Michael, get a load of this

I am not claiming any expertise in Art and I am not claiming that I have any advanced degrees in Sacred Theology or Philosophy or Canon law but I am claiming that I possess enough common sense to understand how it is that the criminal results of the insidious homosexualisation of the modern Catholic Church has caused our identity as a moral force in the world to plummet beneath the level of the average Arkansas Hunting Camp Septic System and, thus, I would not have been caught dead soliciting such a salacious sculpture to say nothing about inviting the media to observe the Pope Blessing it.

Seriously; is the Hierarchy so out-of-touch with reality that they are unable to even imagine the sort of derisive reaction this statue will invite?

This flaming Saint Michael is gay as hell, is the most likely response one would hear from any normal American Male who saw it.

JM said...


I sense you are afflicted with a contrarian spirit as severe as my own. I did not find the St. Michael picture to be screamingly gay, but upon a google search did discover that the iconography does favor a bit of an effete angel. About the most macho one I could unearth was here, in stained glass, if it so pleases...

JM said...

"Catholics were made for combat"

"cotton candy Catholics"

Two escellent lines in one week.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear JM Excellent. An image real men can love just as real men pray this real Saint Michael Prayer:

O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.

Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.

These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.

Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.

R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered the root of David.

V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.

R. As we have hoped in Thee.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.

R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls.