As Christ healed the deaf man with the word "Ephphatha!" so we are called to "be open." Listen to the full homily HERE.
I also recount below my "Pastor's Ponderings" for this week as a way of protection:
In my first days here at St. Ben’s, I learned quickly of the practice of praying the Prayer to St. Michael at the conclusion of weekday Masses. However, I also noted that this prayer is not currently used at the conclusion of the Saturday evening and Sunday Masses. Today, I would like to let you know of my desire to extend this practice beyond only weekday Masses to include the Saturday evening and Sunday Masses, while giving some explanation for offering this prayer.
Many know that the practice of praying the Prayer to St. Michael is not a new custom; but it is one that has been forgotten by many. Some who are elderly likely remember from their youth the custom of the Church praying this prayer at the end of Mass. While it is an “add on” (and not meant to be part of the Mass) the history of praying the Prayer to St. Michael is traced back to Pope Leo XIII. On October 13, 1884, Pope Leo is said to have had a vision at the conclusion of Mass. He is said to have stopped at the foot of the altar where he appeared to have gone into a trance. During the vision, a conversation between God and Satan was heard, wherein Satan boasted that he could destroy the Church if he had more time and power (about 75-100 years of time and more power over those who “give themselves to his service”). The vision allegedly concluded with God permitting this time and power (for of course the Church cannot and will not be destroyed, but such a trial would in the end give greater glory to God). As a consequence of this vision, however, Pope Leo XIII is said to have composed the Prayer to St. Michael. For a period of years, up to the 1960s, it was typically recited at the conclusion of “Low Masses,” that is, Masses that were not sung.
Today, I believe we should pray this prayer at the end of all Masses. Our purpose in praying the prayer would be both to ask for St. Michael to defend us and for him to aid us in the spiritual battle that rages on. Likewise, our offering of this prayer would be a constant reminder to all of us that sin and Satan are real, and that we need the help of God and his angels to win the victory.
Given that we already pray it at weekday Masses – and that it is printed in the front inside cover of the hymnal – I want to take a simple step to extend its use to all Masses mainly because of the “signs of the times.” It is clear that the presence of evil is becoming more and more overt and plain with each passing day – noting as an example of evil in more recent days the reality of Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and selling body parts of unborn/aborted children. Such actions as this (which in this case further desecrates the God-given dignity of human persons) are signs of how many have already fallen into Satan’s power, who Jesus called “the Father of Lies.” In short, we are in a spiritual battle with Satan and the other fallen angels. It is essential that we take up this battle with all our proper weapons; the prayer to St. Michael at the conclusion of Masses being such a weapon.
Thus, we will begin this custom at every Mass to pray for ourselves and for the whole world. THAT WE MAY PRAY THE PRAYER WELL AND CONSISTENTLY – as there are multiple translations of the prayer – I INVITE ALL TO USE THE VERSION PRINTED IN THE FRONT COVER OF THE ADOREMUS HYMNAL. It will always be prayed at the end of weekend Masses as I stand before the altar with the deacon(s) and altar servers, before we begin the closing hymn (similar to how it is already done at weekday Masses – before we make our genuflection and then depart). May we be defended in the spiritual warfare and may God’s kingdom triumph.