Sunday, August 24, 2014

Leonine Prayers after Mass

With the two crises of Black Masses in Cambridge, Mass. and Oklahoma City, Okla, mocking the Catholic faith and desecrating the Sacramental Host, Catholics have been urged to pray the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, composed by Pope Leo XIII:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our safeguard 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 Divine power of God, cast into hell Satan,
and with him all evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

The prayer to Saint Michael is just one of the prayers that Pope Leo XIII ordered to be said after Low Mass by the priest and the congregation in Catholic churches throughout the world. Pope Pius IX had required Catholics in the Papal States to offer certain prayers after Mass during the crisis of the Italian revolution in 1859: three Hail Marys, the Salve Regina and a special Collect. Pope Leo expanded the use of those prayers in 1884 and added the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer in 1886 Popes Pius XI and XII emphasized that the Leonine prayers, named for Pope Leo XIII, were to be prayed for the conversion of Russia.

In 1964, the Instruction on Implementing the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, Inter oecumenici suppressed both the Last Gospel, read after the dismissal and final blessing, and the Leonine Prayers. On Sunday, April 24, 1994 St. John Paul II nevertheless encouraged Catholics to pray the St. Michael Prayer during his Regina Caeli message and prayers:

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’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 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. Although 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 forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.

Archbishop Coakley in Oklahoma City asked that this prayer be said at the end of every Mass and that Eucharist Holy Hours be offered "to honor Christ's Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist". Bishop Slattery in the Tulsa Oklahoma diocese asked Catholics there to pray a decade of the Rosary and the St. Michael Prayer. And although we have the good news that the organizers of the Black Mass have returned the consecrated Host they planned to desecrate, those prayers are still needed as they still plan to hold some mockery of the Mass at the Civic Center in Oklahoma City.

You may find the full text of the Leonine Prayers in both England and Latin here. Although the congregational praying of them has been suppressed, anyone may pray these prayers after Mass, High or Low, in the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form--or whenever!

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