St. Michael, Protect Us

10-08-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On the morning that I am writing this, along with all of you I awoke to the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, this time at a concert venue in Las Vegas. I am certain that all of us, as disciples of Jesus Christ, are terribly disturbed by the lack of respect for life that seems so common in our day. Of course, as His disciples, our only response is to do good. We must increase our love of God and of our neighbor. Only love will conquer – not hate. The website for our U.S. Bishops had these words: "No matter what the darkness, it will never overcome the light. May the Lord of all gentleness surround all those who are suffering from this evil; and for those who have been killed we pray, eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them." May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Ultimately, the evil we confront comes from the author of evil, a real fallen spirit, who much of our world – and even some who proclaim our faith – has tried to deny. It comes from the one who planted a seed of doubt about God's unselfish love for us, tempting our first Parents to doubt and disobey Love Himself, a sin we perpetuate today. In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul reminds us, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but … against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus Himself knew that sin and Satan are real as He cast out evil spirits. We are in spiritual battle, not merely against individuals who give into evil temptations and do unspeakable crimes, but against the evil one.

Pope Leo XIII composed a prayer against evil and the evil one for the whole Church. The Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, as it is called, was widely known and prayed after every Mass, and many of you grew up with it. With our present state of affairs in mind, I would like us as a parish family to pray this powerful prayer after the blessing and before the final hymn of each Sunday Mass, at least until the end of the year. It is not magic – it must be prayed with faith. We know the end of the story: God wins. The Book of Revelation reminds us that God is so powerful, He doesn't have to destroy Satan Himself. He sends one of His creatures – St. Michael – to do it. (see Rev. 12:7-8) Let us do our part with the power of prayer, also including the rosary.