St. Michael Prayer
a prayer I have often prayed, but not at the end of Mass
We really need to stop praying the St. Michael prayer at the end of Mass.
I mean out loud, as a congregation, led by the priest. Pray whatever you’d like to afterward, even gather a group together to pray it, perhaps the people of your parish demand a St. Michael prayer. And that’s great, if that’s a private devotion you corporately adhere to. But it is not the Mass nor a part of the Mass.
We need to stop praying the St. Michael prayer at the end of Mass because:
Pope Francis asked for it to be prayed for one month in 2018. That month is over. It is 2023.
Pope Francis, actually, requested—not demanded—that the faithful pray the rosary after Mass in October 2018 and end it with the St. Michael prayer. Mary, the Mother of God, exemplar of discipleship, and model of the Church, is a much better theological addendum to Mass, given that we imitate her person as we celebrate it. It does not seem wise and it is definitely not in keeping with the Pope’s request to pray the St. Michael prayer without at least part of the rosary.
It is not part of the liturgy. And the GIRM, paragraph 22 says: “22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.
2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.
3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.”
Sometimes parishes do public devotions after Mass—novenas, and rosaries—some of these are even led by the priest. But usually the priest leaves the altar first to make clear that this is a different form of prayer than the Mass.
No hate at all to sweet Michael, who is an important part of Jewish/Christian apocalyptic literature and is an angel, which remains a mysterious and baffling theological category worth pondering.
The liturgy is about the paschal mystery—the central mystery of our faith—Christ’s self-gift of love unto death and his resurrection beyond the bounds of the grave and history, that we participate in through our baptism and through the Eucharistic meal together that we do in memory of him. The prayers of the liturgy and the form of the liturgy reflects this mystery and lead to deeper reflection on it in the Mass and as we leave it to go forth into the world.
The St. Michael prayer is not about the paschal mystery. And should not be said as a public addendum to Mass, which is a celebration of that central mystery of love that is our faith.
What is the orientation we wish to have at the end of Mass? Is the orientation of the Eucharist—to incorporate and transform the entire cosmos through and into the love of Christ?— “go out in peace to love and serve the Lord”? This is the orientation that the liturgy requires. Or, do we rather wish to have the orientation of fear? “Who prowls throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.” Has Christ triumphed over sin and death? Does love never fail? Why do we fear an evil that has vanished like the mist in the light of Love dawning on our altars? Where do our hearts lie?
We fly to thy protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
do not despise our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen.
— Sub tuum praesidium, an ancient Marian prayer Pope Francis also suggested parishes pray but while I know at least 10 parishes that pray the St. Michael prayer, I know only one that prayers the Sub tuum praesidium—on Sundays after the prayers of the faithful.