Pope Francis has asked his Worldwide Prayer Network to help all the faithful pray more intensely this month of October.
During these last years and months, we in the Church have lived through difficult situations, among these abuses of sex, power and conscience on the part of clerics, consecrated persons and lay people. Added to these are internal divisions in the Church. Certainly these are abetted by the evil spirit : “the mortal enemy of our human nature.” [Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, no. 136.]
In the Christian tradition, evil has diverse representations, such as “Satan,” which in Hebrew means “adversary,” or “Devil” in Greek, which means the one who divides or sows discord. The biblical tradition also speaks of the “seducer of the world,” the “father of lies” or “Lucifer,” who presents himself as an angel of light, under a cloak of good, leading into deceit.
As we have seen, evil manifests itself in diverse ways and the mission of evangelization of the Church is made more difficult, even discredited. Part of this is our own responsibility for having let ourselves be drawn by passions which do not lead us to true life, such as: riches, vanity, and pride. These are the stages by which the evil seducer seeks to draw us away. Bringing first good thoughts and intentions, little by little drawing persons to his perverse intentions (discord, lies, etc.)
Pope Francis reminded us in his Letter to the People of God, on August 20, 2018, that “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it…” When we experience the desolation which these ecclesial wounds produce in us, it serves us well to be with Mary “to insist more on prayer” (St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, no. 319,) seeking to grow all the more in love and fidelity to the Church.”
During this month of October, the Holy Father asks us and all the faithful for a greater effort in our personal and community prayer. He invites us to pray every day the Holy Rosary with the intention that the Virgin Mary help the Church in these times of crisis, and to pray each day to St. Michael the Archangel that he defend us against the attacks of the Devil. According to spiritual tradition, Michael is the chief of the celestial armies and the protector of the Church (Revelation 12:7-9).
Pope Francis invites us at the conclusion of the Rosary with that most ancient invocation to the Holy Mother of God, “Sub Tuum Praesidium” as well as the traditional prayer to St. Michael ascribed to Pope Leo the XIII.
Under your protection
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.
St. Michael prayer
“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.”
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network begins on October 1st, the memorial of St. Therese of Lisieux (the little Flower), this intense month of prayer.
Frederic Fornos, SJ – International Director
Luis Ramirez, SJ – International Assistant
With the international team of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (including the EYM)