This past week has seen the feast of St. Michael and the holy Angels, and today marks the feast of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
Rather than attempting to synthesise the majestic humility and devotion to God, which both St. Michael and St. Thérèse exemplified, this blog will instead note two prayers. The first is to St. Michael, and is the full prayer to the archangel composed by Pope Leo XIII, after his vision of the evil spirits released from hell so as to destroy the Church. While the shorter version is commonly known, the full prayer is less so:
“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 scattered.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. Amen.”
Meanwhile, the admirable devotion to God demonstrated by St. Michael is mirrored by St. Thérèse, who although she confined herself to the walls of Carmel, was filled with such a zeal for God and for souls, that she is proclaimed a patron of the missions. The humble nun took her lead from the archangel in dedicating her life to the service of God, and just as St Michael gave himself in service to Him, so St. Thérèse dedicated herself completely to Him so that she might accompany Him in life and in death.
To this end, she composed the beautiful act of oblation, presented on this blog one year ago. However, the humble Carmelite also penned numerous poems, one of which amply demonstrates her love for the Almighty - 'My wishes before the tabernacle.'
O little key! I envy thee, For thou canst ope, at any hour, The Eucharistic prison-house, Where dwells the God of Love and Power. And yet — Oh, tender mystery! — One effort of my faith alone Unlocks the tabernacle door, And hides me there with Christ my Own.
O lamp within the holy place, Whose mystic lights forever shine! I fain would burn with fires of love As bright, before my God and thine. Yet, miracle of wondrous bliss! Such flames are mine; and, day by day, I can win souls to Jesus Christ, To burn with His pure love for aye.
O consecrated altar-stone! I envy thee with every morn. As once in Bethlehem’s blessed shed, The Eternal Word on thee is born. Yet, gentle Saviour! hear my plea;
Enter my heart, O Lord divine! ‘Tis no cold stone I offer Thee, Who dost desire this heart of mine!
O corporal that angels guard! What envy of thee fills my breast! On thee, as in His swaddling bands, I see my only Treasure rest. Ah Virgin Mother! change my heart Into a corporal pure and fair, Whereon the snow-white Host may rest, And thy meek Lamb find shelter there.
O holy paten! Jesus makes of Thee His sacramental throne. Ah! if He would abase Himself, To dwell awhile with me alone! Jesus fulfils my longing hope, Nor must I wait until I die; — He comes to me! He lives in me! His ostensoriumam I!
The chalice, too, I fain would be, Where I adore the Blood divine! Yet, at the holy sacrifice, That Precious Blood each day is mine. More dear to Jesus is my soul, Than chalices of gold could be; His altar is a Calvary new, Whereon His Blood still flows for me.
Only one little bunch of grapes That gladly disappears for Thee, O Jesus, holy, heavenly Vine! Thou knowest I rejoice to be. Beneath the pressure of the cross, I prove my love for Thee alway; And ask no other joy than this, — To immolate myself each day!
Among the grains of purest wheat, O happy lot! he chooses me. We lose our life for Him, the Christ, — What rapturous height of ecstasy! Thy spouse am I, Thy chosen one.
My Well-Beloved! come, dwell in me. Thy beauty wins my heart. Oh, come! Deign to transform me into Thee!