Avoid Satan’s slavery by staying close to God through heartfelt prayer
By Father Christopher Barak
(SNR) – For protection against Satan and the demons, many people pray the popular prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. They ask St. Michael and his heavenly hosts, i.e. his army of good angels, to fight Satan and the demons and to cast them into hell.
In 1886, Pope Leo XIII, seeing the effects of the evil spirits pressing against the Church, mandated that the universal Catholic Church pray this and four other prayers at the end of Low Masses for St. Michael’s protection for the Church. In 1964 when the new rite of the Mass, the Novus Ordo, was instituted, these prayers at the end of Mass were suppressed.
On April 24, 1994, Pope St. John Paul II said of the St. Michael Prayer, “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 the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”
In 1890, Pope Leo XIII gave bishops and priests a longer prayer to St. Michael, a minor exorcism to combat the power of Satan and the demons over their dioceses and parishes, and a petition for God to bless their people. These prayers were to be prayed daily, but have also had fallen out of practice.
St. Michael in the Bible
In the Bible, three books mention St. Michael. After a third of the angels rebelled against serving God, St. Michael and his army of angels thrust them from Heaven down onto earth (Rev. 12:4-9). There, they make war on the children of the Woman of Revelation (Mary) who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the truth of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:13-17).
The prophet Daniel states that Michael is the guardian of God’s people Israel (Dan. 10:13 and 21; 12:1). The Apostle Jude wrote in his letter that he disputed with the devil, Satan, over the body of Moses (Jude vs. 9).
Saints have seen St. Michael
Saints have encountered St. Michael. When St. Joan of Arc was 13 years old, she saw St. Michael, appearing brilliant and bold, telling her that other saints would soon visit her. He told her to be a good child and that God would help her. He taught her to behave rightly and to go to Mass often.
In 1916, the year before Mary appeared to the three Fatima children, St. Michael appeared to them three times. He called himself the Angel of Peace and the Angel of Portugal. Four hundred years earlier, Pope Leo X had referred to St. Michael as the Guardian Angel of Portugal.
St. Michael taught Bl. Francisco, Bl. Jacinta, and Sister Lucia some prayers; and he adored Jesus in the Eucharist with them. He told them to offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Lord for the people who offend God and for the conversion of sinners.
St. Francis of Assisi was specially devoted to St. Michael and would fast for about 40 days from the feast of the Assumption (Aug.15) to Saint Michael’s feast day Sept. 29. Some Franciscan communities continue to observe the period from Aug. 15 to Sept. 29 as “St. Michael’s Lent,” a time of fasting and prayer.
Satan and demons at work today
Satan and his fallen angels seduce people to sin, to choose to turn from God’s holy will.
The more people sin, the less they see God’s goodness and the more they avoid a close, loving relationship with Him. They become weak in choosing to live virtuously. And they will less likely choose Heaven at their judgement. Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the path that leads to destruction, and there are many people who enter it” (John 6:44).
It is easy to run through the Ten Commandments and see how successful Satan is in luring people into sin—away from God and from their peace and happiness.
Satan draws people through the rejection of the true God. He seduces some into the occult. Psychics and healers and witches call on spirits, that they may or may not know are demons, to use their powers over humans through spells or curses.
There is Satanism in which people agree to Satan’s suggestions in order to gain riches, power, influence, etc. People use Ouija boards and other means to contact spirits that actually are not good angels, but bad ones. In yoga, people take on various physical positions symbolizing false gods that are evil spirits. Lots of entertainment for children and adults use magic and spells. The list goes on and on.
People should avoid going to curanderos, or healers who use various spirits to take away illnesses, because those being ‘cured’ often end up with worse spirits bothering them with more serious illnesses.Also avoid going to brujas who use witchcraft for various requests. People make of them either for their own good or for evil to be done to others.
Drug abuse also opens people up to Satan’s torments. There is rebellion against parents and those in proper roles of authority that brings chaos into relationships. There are violent forms of entertainment that draw people into belittling and becoming angry at fellow humans. There is abortion and euthanasia, the direct killing of innocent people.
There are all sorts forms of sexual activity in entertainment and promoted in society that are against God’s design of sex as an expression of love between a married man and woman who are open to receiving children from God into their family.
Whatever is not drawing one closer in love with God and His Catholic Church can open one up for the demons to form relationships that eventually enslave a person. A person may not be alert to this happening. The demons often stay under cover, being very subtle in their work and suggestions.
The Church at work
The Church is a wise and loving Mother who sees the bad effects evil spirits have on Her children, and so calls us to live the Catholic life to its fullest. This is the family of God, guided by God the Holy Spirit, helping us to our true happiness. Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10).
To fight the demons and to live in the protection of the Kingdom of God, we must learn and accept in our hearts and minds the full teachings of Jesus in the Catholic Church. When we know the Truth of God, we will be more likely to live as images of God, close to God, filled with His divine power and love.
Satan’s slavery can be avoided by living fully the morality of Christ that the Catholic Church teaches. This includes avoiding all the occasions of sin mentioned in the Ten Commandments above, such as not watching or taking part in entertainment that is violent or immodest.
It may also be avoided by staying close to God through heartfelt prayer. Sacraments are God’s way of giving grace. So, it is important to receive Baptism and Confirmation.
It is vital to go to Mass at least every Sunday, and even during the week. Unity with Jesus is possible by receiving Holy Communion and visiting Him in the Blessed Sacrament during the week.
Satan loses his grip on the person who goes to confession frequently, such as every month, and who is precise about the type and frequency of the sins.
Those who are married, must understand well the Sacrament of Matrimony in order to live it out with God’s grace. Then Satan cannot cause much division between the spouses.
The Sacrament of the Sick provides Jesus’ healing and strength in times of illness to fight Satan from bringing bitterness or hopelessness.
Call on Jesus, Mary, and St. Michael to fight Satan and the demons. The Rosary is the great weapon the Mother of God gives us to fight Satan successfully. Fasting makes one’s prayers bear great fruit.
Since Satan and the demons seduce people into relationships and then can more easily tempt people to sin, they may ask the Holy Spirit and their Guardian Angel to help them where those relationships are still going on in their hearts and minds. These relationships may be experienced as feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, addictions, control, rejections, abandonment, hopelessness, worthlessness, etc.
In our Diocese of Lincoln we have a good program called “Unbound” to help break free from our enslavement to Satan and the demons. Parishes put on this program usually on a Friday evening through Saturday. You may find more at lincolndiocese.org.
There is a national organization, Opus Santorum Angelorum (Work of the Holy Angels) that has presented retreats at Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House. It helps people to interact more conscientiously with St. Michael and other archangels and angels. Their website has good resources and prayers to help people live a holy life and to be protected “from the wickedness and snares of the devil”: opusangelorum.org.