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Saint Michael’s Lent: have you heard of it?

There is an old devotion that seemed to be quite popular especially in the 13th up to the 18th century before it started to disappear. After many years, this devotion is being revived in many countries particularly in America and is offered to the great Saint Michael, the Archangel.

It all started with Saint Francis of Assisi. We all heard about him, one of the most known saints of the Catholic Church who is admired even by non-Christians. He is known for his humility, simplicity, love for the poor, the nature, animals, and for the Church. All of this was only possible because the once spoiled “mama’s boy” had a deep experience with Jesus Christ. His heart was suddenly taken by an ardent love, always burning, always restless, as a consuming fire: the fire of love. Many others followed him in an inspiration to live a life of poverty dedicated to love Jesus and make Him loved and known by others.

Although Saint Francis lived a communal life with his brethren, dedicated to all sorts of works for the Kingdom of God, he often sought opportunities to retrieve himself from the world and to dedicate more time to prayer in loneliness. It was an opportunity to be alone with his Beloved Jesus, to seek wisdom, and to fortify his spirit in order to endure the demanding challenges of his mission.  

Another important thing in Saint Francis’ life is that ever since his conversion, he had a special love towards the Blessed Virgin and Saint Michael, the Archangel. There was a well-known feast in the medieval times called Michaelmas, also a holy day of obligation. The name stands for “Saint Michael’s Mass” which was celebrated on the 29th of September. So, as Saint Francis wanted to prepare himself for this feast, he set off with a few other friars to Mount La Verna (also known as Alverno), an isolated place favourable for solitary retreat. He started his costumary 40 days Lenten period dedicated to fasting, prayer, and penance, beginning on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Such experience was so profound in his life that during these Lenten days, immersed in deep contemplation of the Passion of the Lord, he received the stigmata.

It is not certain if this devotion of having 40 days of preparation before Michaelmas Feast was common practice among the faithful of the time, nevertheless, it became popular as the friars began to adhere and propagate it, following the steps of Father Francis who practiced this devotion every year, which later also led to the experience he had on Mount La Verna, two years before his death. It is also referred to the Second Lent, although not present in the official liturgical calendar.

A few centuries later, in the late 20th century and beginning of the 21st, the Lent of Saint Michael once again began to grow in the number of devotees who, like Saint Francis, are willing to honour the Virgin Mary and ask special protection to Saint Michael, protector against evil forces. Especially in America, both South and North, it gained additional practices to help the faithful of modern times to recollect in prayer.

There is not an official guideline for this devotion, as long as it is carried out as a penitential time similar to what it is done during the liturgical Lent (considering that this last one is higher in order of importance, of course). This means that the Lent of Saint Michael can be equally dedicated to deepen one’s prayer life, to offer something up as a sign of sacrifice for a particular intention, and to seek more often the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Confession. However, as mentioned before, some other devotional practices were added such as the recitation of a few prayers and some form of fasting.

If you wish to practice this beautiful devotion, here are some important information and recommended prayers:

Starting Day: 15th August (Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary)

Final Day: 29th September (Feast of the Holy Archangels – Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael)

Practical Recommendations:

  • Light a blessed candle before a statue or image of Saint Michael, the Archangel.
  • Make the sign of the Cross.
  • Offer a particular sacrifice during the 40 days
  • Seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation at some point during the 40 days.
  • Offer this devotion to a special intention or grace you are seeking.

Recommended Daily Prayers:

St. 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 hosts, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. (Pope Leo XIII’s little exorcism prayer)

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Litany of St. Michael the Archangel

Lord, have mercy on us. 

Christ, have mercy on us. 

Lord, have mercy on us. 

Christ, hear us. 

Christ, graciously hear us. 

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. 

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. 

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 

Most Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us. 

 

Holy Mary, Queen of Angels, pray for us.

St. Michael, pray for us.

St. Michael, filled with the wisdom of God, pray for us. 

St. Michael, perfect adorer of the Incarnate Word, pray for us. 

St. Michael, crowned with honour and glory, pray for us. 

St. Michael, most powerful Prince of the armies of the Lord, pray for us. 

St. Michael, standard-bearer of the most Holy Trinity, pray for us. 

St. Michael, guardian of Paradise, pray for us.

St. Michael, guide and comforter of the people of Israel, pray for us. 

St. Michael, splendour and fortress of the Church Militant, pray for us. 

St. Michael, honour and joy of the Church Triumphant, pray for us. 

St. Michael, light of Angels, pray for us. 

St. Michael, bulwark of orthodox believers, pray for us. 

St. Michael, strength of those who fight under the standard of the Cross, pray for us. 

St. Michael, light and confidence of Souls at the hour of death, pray for us. 

St. Michael, our most sure aid, pray for us. 

St. Michael, our help in all adversities, pray for us. 

St. Michael, herald of the everlasting sentence, pray for us. 

St. Michael, consoler of Souls detained in the flames of Purgatory, pray for us. 

St. Michael, whom the Lord has charged to receive Souls after death, pray for us. 

St. Michael, our prince, pray for us. 

St. Michael, our advocate, pray for us. 

 

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord. 

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us O Lord. 

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 

 Jesus Christ, hear us. 

Jesus Christ, graciously hear us.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ. 

That we may be made worthy of His promises.

Let us pray:

Sanctify us, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus, with Thy holy blessing, and grant us, by the intercession of St. Michael, that wisdom which teaches us to lay up treasures in Heaven by exchanging the goods of this world for those of eternity, You Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen.

 

Act of Consecration to Saint Michael the Archangel:

O most noble Prince of the Angelic Hierarchies, valorous warrior of Almighty God and zealous lover of His glory, terror of the rebellious angels, and love and delight of all the just angels, my beloved Archangel Saint Michael, desiring to be numbered among your devoted servants, I, today offer and consecrate myself to you, and place myself, my family, and all I possess under your most powerful protection.

I entreat you not to look at how little, I, as your servant have to offer, being only a wretched sinner, but to gaze, rather, with favourable eye at the heartfelt affection with which this offering is made, and remember that if from this day onward I am under your patronage, you must during all my life assist me, and procure for me the pardon of my many grievous offenses, and sins, the grace to love with all my heart my God, my dear Saviour Jesus, and my Sweet Mother Mary, and to obtain for me all the help necessary to arrive to my crown of glory.

Defend me always from my spiritual enemies, particularly in the last moments of my life.

Come then, oh Glorious Prince, and succour me in my last struggle, and with your powerful weapon cast far from me into the infernal abysses that prevaricator and proud angel that one day you prostrated in the celestial battle.

Amen.

 

by Emanuela Cardoso,

missionary of Shalom Catholic Community


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