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The Chaplet of Saint Michael, printed below, is especially timely in these days of great strife, division, and confusion both in our church, this nation, and in the world at large!
We have published, both as webpages and podcasts, the famous St. Michael Prayer and the Litany of St. Michael honoring this great Archangel, St. Michael, who, with his fellow angels faithful to God, kicked Lucifer (known to us now as Satan) and the third of the angels rebelling against God with him out of heaven, as depicted above (Rev 12:7-9).
As a reminder, his name Michael comes from his famous battle cry (in Hebrew, Micha’el meaning “Who is Like Unto God?”) he uttered before defeating these rebellious angels who subsequently became demons. And who is like unto God indeed? No one! Certainly not any of His angels, nor any of us human beings. Lucifer in his wicked pride sought to raise himself up above his, and subsequently our, Creator.
We find ourselves in such tragic predicaments time and time again, as in our current apostate rather than apostolic age, because of those among us who wish to emulate Lucifer’s tragic example and make themselves God. The rogues gallery since our Lord’s birth, from Herod to Hitler and beyond, has included way too many Moloch styled Messiahs!
I will offer some additional thoughts along with this chaplet that I hope will help you to say this powerful prayer often! Note that it is prayed on a special set of beads (like that pictured below) that is readily available from many retail outlets in stores and online such as this one!
This chaplet is a great way to put on the Armor of God that St. Paul talked about in his famous passage from Chapter 6 of his letter to the Ephesians, to fight the deceits of the devil (Eph 6:11) with the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, the word of God (Eph 6:14, 17)! It also can help us follow St. Paul’s exhortation for us to “pray at all times” (Eph 6:18).
The term “heavenly choir” used in the chaplet referring to the angels is more hierarchical than musical (although that doesn’t mean the angels couldn’t give us one beautiful concert! Indeed it has been said that the angels in the different choirs work together quite harmoniously!)
As noted by EWTN on this page defining choirs “It seems that God has created various orders of Angels. Sacred Scripture distinguishes nine such groupings: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. There may be more groupings but these are the only ones that have been revealed to us. The Seraphim is believed to be the highest Choir, the most intimately united to God, while the Angelic Choir is the lowest.”
Fr. John Horgan in his great book His Angels at Our Side wrote that this hierarchy of angels is designed to help us undesrtand God's qualities, and how we night advance in sanctity.
He’s also noted in terms of how the choirs of angels interact with each other, with no rancor or envy whatsoever, that every angel has a direct and immediate relationship with God, yet they all share in the loving understanding and knowledge that the higher angels are able to give to the lower ones.
I’ll provide some brief additional information about the functions of the choirs after printing the chaplet below. Suffice it to say here that, going from top to bottom, their functions are: to adore God and reflect on various aspects of His goodness (the first group of three); to work to maintain the universal order of things (the second), and to deal with humanity as a whole, and each of us individually as well (the third).
(Those designated as angels have the important task of dealing with us human beings, so beloved by God but also so often bewildered and bewildering!)
The St. Michael Chaplet was written after the Archangel St. Michael in a reported private revelation to the Portuguese Carmelite nun Antónia d'Astónaco told her that he would like to be honored, and God glorified, by the praying of nine special invocations corresponding to invocations to the nine choirs of angels. The chaplet was approved by Pope Pius IX in 1851.
It is said that praying the chaplet provides the assistance from Saint Michael the Archangel and the company of one angel from each of the nine celestial choirs when approaching Holy Communion.
St. Michael also promised for those who would recite the Chaplet daily with love and devotion his continued assistance and that of all the holy angels during one’s life and after death as well. These blessings can extend to your family!
And now the Chaplet itself follows:
First, make a sincere Act of Contrition
Then pray the following invocation on the Chaplet’s medal
V. O God, come to my assistance.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
After this, pray one Glory Be to the Father.
And then, after each salutation, recite one Our Father on the individual bead and three Hail Marys on the three beads grouped together, in honor of the corresponding choir of Angels. (Leave the set of four beads until the end.)
First Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Seraphim, may it please God to make us worthy to receive into our hearts the fire of His perfect charity. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Second Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Cherubim may God grant us the grace to abandon the ways of sin and follow the path of Christian perfection. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Third Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Thrones, may it please God to infuse into our hearts a true and earnest spirit of humility. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Fourth Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Dominations, may it please God to grant us the grace to have dominion over our senses and to correct our depraved passions. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Fifth Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Powers, may God vouchsafe to keep our souls from the wiles and temptations of the devil. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Sixth Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the choir of the admirable, celestial Virtues, may Our Lord keep us from falling into temptations and deliver us from evil. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Seventh Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of the Principalities, may it please God to fill our hearts with the spirit of true and hearty obedience. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Eighth Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of Archangels, may it please God to grant us the gift of perseverance in the Faith and in all good works, that we may thereby be enabled to attain unto the glory of Paradise. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Ninth Salutation. At the intercession of St. Michael and the heavenly choir of holy Angels, may God vouchsafe to grant that they may protect us during life, and after death may lead us into the everlasting glory of Heaven. Amen. 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's
Then say the Our Father on each of the four remaining beads: the first in honor of St. Michael, the second in honor of St. Gabriel, the third in honor of St. Raphael, and the fourth in honor of your Guardian Angel. [4 Our Father’s altogether]
We end the chaplet as follows:
St. Michael, glorious Prince, Chief and Champion of the Heavenly Host, guardian of the souls of men, conqueror of the rebel angels, steward of the palace of God under Jesus Christ, our worthy leader, endowed with superhuman excellence and virtue: free us from every ill, who with full confidence have recourse to thee; and by thine incomparable protection, enable us to make progress every day in the faithful service of our God. Amen.
V. Pray for us, most blessed Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ.
R. That we may be made worthy of His promises.
Let us pray.
Almighty and eternal God, Who in Thine own marvelous goodness and pity didst, for the common salvation of men, choose, the glorious Archangel Michael to be the Prince, of Thy Church, make us worthy, we pray Thee, to be delivered by his beneficent protection from all our enemies, that at the hour of our death, none of them may approach to harm us; rather, grant that by the same Archangel Michael we may be introduced into the presence of Thy Most, High and Divine Majesty. Through the merits of the same Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen
As a quick overview, angels are purely spiritual beings, also known from the greek word angelos which means messengers. As one of our greatest theologians the Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas, known by that name in part from his prodigious writings on the angels, once put it: “These are called angels, that is, messengers, because they announce divine messages to men”.
We find them active in both the Old and New testaments in numerous ways both to deliver those messages and to provide people with needed comfort and support.
St. Michael himself has been quite helpful in human affairs in escorting the faithful to heaven upon their passing, and providing supernatural protection to our Lord’s flock among many other things. He most famously stopped a terrible plague in Rome in 590 AD. (We could use that kind of help today in the midst of our Coronavirus pandemic woes!)
The Church Fathers have called him the guardian angel and protector of the Catholic church. Indeed our church has a special need for St. Michael’s powerful aid in our times!
For other examples of angelic assistance given, referring to the other angels besides St. Michael specifically mentioned in the chaplet, the Archangel Gabriel gave Mary the news she was to be the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Luke 1:26-37).
Archangel Raphel (whose name means, appropriately enough “God heals”) also mentioned earlier, gave great assistance to Tobiah and his wife Sarah and even provided the means by which Tobiah could heal his father Tobit’s blindness, as we read about in the Old Testament book bearing Tobit’s name.
And of course, each of us is given a Guardian Angel at birth as our Lord touches upon in Luke 18:10 to help guide us through the often rocky paths on our earthly pilgrimage to heaven so that we might indeed attain salvation, God willing!
Angels are bodiless spiritual beings who possess an intelligence superior to ours in that they do not have to process a series of thoughts to arrive at a conclusion. In other words they can go from what might be our step one directly to step 10!
While they are bodiless they are also quite numerous. We read in the book of Revelation for example of myriads upon myriads of angels gathering to praise our Lord (Rev. 5:11). So don’t worry that there might not be enough angels around for you! That’s like worrying about whether or not God is too busy for you and your prayerful needs. He’s not. He’s infinitely everywhere! And his angels are all around us as well!
Note as well both in scripture and private revelations that angels can, and have, taken on visible forms recognizable to us human beings. The Angel of Portugal did so when appearing to the three Fatima visionaries in 1916!
The choirs of angels mentioned earlier are divided, as also mentioned earlier into three hierarchies of three levels each the first of which comprises the Seraphim, Cherubim and the Thrones. This first group is closest to God and sees and adores Him directly.
The second group consists of the Dominations, the Virtues and Powers. They are actively involved in the workings of the cosmos. As we see from this chaplet, sometimes the virtues come before the powers in the order listed, but this doesn’t affect what they do in any case.
The third group is the one closest to us communicating Divine wisdom to us and even intervening supernaturally on our behalf as seen in both the Old and New Testaments: the Principalities, Archangels and the Angels, as shown also in the examples given above with the archangels Saints Gabriel, Raphael and Michael and of course our Guardian Angels. They are most directly involved with humanity itself, with you and me!
One delicious irony is worth noting here inreferring to these choirs hierarchically speaking: in effect thinking in terms of an earthly army, it was Corporal Michael (or a similar such rank) who led the charge to defeat General Lucifer, who was until his fall from his own envious pride, one of the most magnificent, if not the most magnificent, of the angels!
When thinking of battles such as this one remember that over the centuries there have been many more both within our church and in the world at large.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen himself spoke of the internal civil wars that we all face from Original Sin. Each of us has to contend with our own sinful nature and our own internal struggles between vice and virtue on a daily basis. While our Lord wishes to bring out only what is good in each of us, and must prize humanity as a whole so much to have come down from heaven to be one of us (in all things except sin) in the name of respecting our free will, He wants each one of us to make a choice between good and evil.
As mentioned earlier, St. Paul asked us all to put on the armor of God famously in Chapter 6 of his letter to the Ephesians. He gives us a sobering answer as to why in that same chapter when he writes “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” (Eph 6:12). Prayer, the sacraments, and of course the rosary, are essential for us to prevail in this fight!
St. Peter for His part in chapter 5 of his first letter wrote, in verse 8, ”Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour.” The devil?? How did he come into this? That’s our fallen angel Lucifer, who became Satan upon his ignominious defeat, after which he and his cohort of fallen angels all became demons bent on dragging us down to Hell for our eternal ruin and misery!
Modernist types, both in and outside of the church, would have us believe he isn’t real. Sadly, even the Superior General of the Jesuits Father Arturo Sosa, has even gone so far as to say so publicly, calling him just a symbol of evil! Yet Satan and all the other fallen angels, who are now demons, are quite real!
You don’t need to go back to Biblical times for a concrete attestation of this: Just ask Fathers Gary Thomas, or Chad Ripperger, who have performed numerous exorcisms driving demons out of people, sometimes in quite stressful and even prolonged combat, in prayer and various rituals. And these are just two of the various exorcists who have done so!
Or read accounts from the late Father Gabriele Amorth, who was the chief exorcist in the Vatican and performed many thousands of exorcisms in his lifetime! It all goes back to that great war in heaven in Chapter 12 of the book of Revelation referenced earlier.
True, the comedian Flip Wilson used to joke that you should say when confronted over some misdeed “the devil made me do it”. Similarly, Dana Carvey’s Church Lady from Saturday Night Live would ask people who caused their misbehavior? “Could it be...Satan???” Yet all joking aside, Satan does exist and he’s not cool, although some in our mass media wish to make him so nowadays!
(In fact, by the way, St. Faustina wrote that one of the horrible aspects of Hell that she saw in a vision was, as she put it “the constant company of Satan”. I guess he’s not loads of fun at parties. As a vital reminder, he and all the demons have a burning eternal white hot hate for all of humanity!)
Yet while we should neither downplay the evil one, nor ignore the demonic doorways of drug and alchohol abuse, pornography, and various occult practices for example, neither should we cower in fear over him.
We have God on our side as faithful loving obedient Christians. We have the saints, we have our Blessed Mother, and each of us has our own Guardian Angel, given to us at birth.
But we also have that very special archangel to give us much needed support in the Spiritual Combat we all face: Saint Michael! And his chaplet has a special benefit to those who pray it regularly.
As Father John Horgan, put it so well in his book I mentioned earlier, we can and should appeal to all the choirs of angels in our prayer lives for their help to grow in the love of God and to advance in sanctity.
And once more, let’s turn to Chapter 6 of St. Paul’s stirring letter to the Ephesians. As he wrote in verse 18, “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
May this chaplet assist all of us in these matters, knowing that, whatever trials and tribulations we may endure, St. Michael will have our back where it counts, assisting us on our journey towards eternal life with our Lord, the Saints, and God Willing, our loved ones, in heaven!