St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense 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,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Defend us in battle. That’s an odd line for a prayer, don’t you think? Sure, soldiers, Marines, and police officers could say they do battle. But regular schmoes like you and me? We get up, we go to work, we get out of work and spend time with our families and then get up the next day and do it again. We get a day off, and we get up, spend time on family, friends, and hobbies, and then rest up for another day at work. We don’t do battle.
Or do we?
Sometimes it’s a battle to be kind to that annoying coworker. Sometimes we want to shout at her that if she worked as much as she complained, she’d be Employee of the Month. Sometimes we just pat ourselves on the back and think we’re superior to her… before something else reminds us that we, too, have our faults.
Sometimes, it’s just a battle against sloth in general. We know we need to do the laundry, clean the house, or pay some bills, but instead we’re messing around outside, watching TV or [cough] blogging. We forget that laundry, housecleaning, and bills are small but necessary parts of our vocation. Staying on top of these little things can make the big picture clearer.
Sometimes it’s a battle to get to Mass. Maybe we’d rather not get up early. Maybe we’re trying to avoid the family Mass, the smug church ladies, or a priest whose homilies are interesting but long-winded. Maybe we’d rather just be outside. Or maybe we try to tell ourselves, “Hey, you went on Sunday. Daily Mass isn’t that big a deal, and you’re a busy lady.” We forget that we’re blessed to be able to go to Mass at all, let alone daily Mass. We forget all the graces we receive from frequent Communion.
Sometimes – actually, all the time for me – it’s a battle to get to Confession. How many times have we said to ourselves, “Oh, the sins I committed weren’t that bad! I can wait another week!” Or, “You only really need to go during Lent! I can wait!” We forget that we are never closer to God than when we step out of the confessional.
Those last two are perhaps the most epic battles and the ones where we need the most defense. If somebody (whether an evil spirit or a person) is trying to prevent me from getting closer to God, they would do everything in their power to keep me away from the Church. And that person may not be merely content with keeping me away from the Church. If I snap at my coworkers over every little thing and keep an unsanitary house, I’m not presenting a good image of Catholic women, and people might be turned off from the Church due to my behavior. It isn’t just a battle for our own souls; it’s a battle for our loved ones’ souls too. What could be more epic?
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6