Tag Archives: angels

Praying for the Saints

calledtoholinessAs we conclude this Hallowmastide Triduum, a time when we’ve prayed with and for the dead, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the Communion of Saints, and the tripartite Church.

The earthly Church – called the Church Militant, is connected with two other assemblies: the Church Triumphant, and the Church Suffering. We on earth are Militant because we struggle against the evils of the archons in the world. The Church Triumphant consists of the liberated spirits in the Fullness (Pleroma), those blessed souls traditionally referred to as saints. Finally, the Church Suffering is made up of those souls and spirits who are neither in earthly embodiment, nor in the freedom of the Fullness, but in the purgatorial immaterial realms. Joined together, these three assemblies make up what is known as the Communion of Saints.

Today being All Souls’ Day, we devote the holy day particularly to praying for the dead. Yesterday, of course, we honored all the saints, both known and unknown. It occurred to me that while we often talk about praying to the saints – which in practice is really praying with the saints – we never talk much about praying for the saints.

This may strike some as strange – perhaps even wrong: praying for the saints. Why would saints need our prayers? As I often say, prayer is not bound by space and time. God applies our prayers exactly when and where they are needed. And so if we remember this, praying for the saints seems just as appropriate as praying for the dead – especially when you consider that some of the dead we may have prayed for today could actually be unrecognized saints who are not publicly known or venerated by the Church Militant.

By praying for the saints, our prayers may be strengthening the martyr 500 years ago, as he’s marched to his death for his faith. They may be providing grace to the young 3rd century consecrated virgin, whose pagan father wished to marry off for political and/or financial reasons. They may be offering courage the saint who, centuries ago, struggled with his faith or experienced a “dark night of the soul”. We never know how our prayers are used, but as three parts of One Church, we should all do our best to pray for each other. This is why, in my tradition, we hold annual Requiem Masses for the Holy Cathar Martyrs, as well as for the Holy Templar Martyrs. We pray for them, not only in whatever state of existence they may be in now, but also for their final moments of earthly life.

Hallowmastide, my favorite time of year, is perhaps the best time to emphasize the reality of the Communion of Saints. We are all part of the same Church – interior, invisible, secret, and universal; one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. It is important to pray for the departed, no matter who they are; and it is particularly important that just as we ask the saints to pray for us, we also have the piety and love to pray for them.

Blessed All Souls’ Day everyone!

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Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel

The Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel consists of 9 sections of 3 beads each, separated by a single bead.  Hanging from the center piece, there are four beads (for the four Archangels), and there is usually a St. Michael medal or a cross hanging from the end.  The history of this Chaplet goes back to a devout Servant of God, Antonia d’Astonac, who had a vision of St. Michael. He told Antonia to honor him by nine salutations to the nine Choirs of Angels. St. Michael promised that whoever would practice this devotion in his honor would have, when approaching Holy Communion, an escort of nine angels chosen from each of the nine Choirs. In addition, for those who would recite the Chaplet daily, he promised his continual assistance, and that of all the holy angels during life.

Each salutation asks for a quality traditionally associated with that particular choir of angels (for example, the Seraphim are said to be on fire with perfect love for God).  This chaplet, with its connection to the most Blessed Sacrament, is most appropriate to prepare oneself to receive the Eucharist.  Remember, all the choirs of angels are invoked in the Sursum Corda of the Mass, and we are called to continually give thanks unto God just as the angels do in His presence:  “It is very meet right, and our bounden duty that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, Holy Fath­er, Almighty Everlasting God. Therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones, Dominions, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, with Cherubim and Seraphim, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magni­fy Thy glorious Name, evermore praising Thee and saying:  ‘Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts…'”  Through this chaplet, we can more fully unite with the holy angels in their praise and adoration of the Father.

Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel

Begin with the Sign of the Cross, and say:

Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, unto the æons of æons. Amen.

Say one Our Father (or Gnostic’s Prayer) and three Hail Sophias after each of the following salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels.

1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim, may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect love. Amen.

2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim, may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of the world and run in the paths of Christian perfection. Amen.

3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones, may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility. Amen.

4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominions, may the Lord give us the grace to govern our senses, and win the victory over our lower selves. Amen.

5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers, may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the adversary. Amen.

6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues, may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation to stray from the path of Light. Amen.

7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities, may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience to the Divine Will. Amen.

8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels, may the Lord give us perseverance in the faith and knowledge of God, and in all good works, in order that we may attain the glory of Kingdom, and enter at last into the Realms of Light. Amen.

9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels, may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life, and conducted into the life to come. Amen.

Say one Our Father (or Gnostic’s Prayer) in honor of each of the four Archangels:
St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and St. Uriel.

Concluding prayers:

O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of evil spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King, and our admirable conductor, thou who shinest with excellence and superhuman virtue: deliver us from all evil, who turn to thee with confidence, and enable us by thy gracious protection to serve the Father more and more faithfully every day.

℣. 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. Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness, and a merciful desire for the salvation of all, hath appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Thy Church, make us worthy, we ask Thee, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Thy Divine Presence. This we ask through Christ our indwelling Lord. Amen.

Prayers of the Chaplet

Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name.  Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our supersubstantial bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  (For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory unto the æons.) Amen.

Gnostic’s Prayer

Almighty God, whose footstool is the highest firmament, Great Ruler of Heaven, and all the powers therein:  Hear the prayers of Thy Servants, who put their trust in Thee.  We pray Thee, supply our needs from day to day.  Command Thy Heavenly Host to comfort and succor us, that it may be to Thy glory and unto the good of man.  Forgive us our transgressions as we forgive our brothers and sisters; be present with us: strengthen and sustain us, for we are but instruments in Thy hands.  Let us not fall into temptation; defend us from all danger and evil; let Thy mighty power ever guard and protect us.  Thou great fount of knowledge and Wisdom, instruct Thy servants by Thy holy presence; guide and support us, now and forever.  Amen.

Hail Sophia

Hail Sophia, filled with Light, the Christ is with Thee.  Blessed art thou amongst the Æons,  and blessed is the Liberator of Thy Light, Jesus.  Holy Sophia, Mother of all gods, pray to the Light for us Thy children,  now and in the hour of our death.  Amen.

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