Most Solemn Day of the Year (2007)
Thomas A. Droleskey
The most powerful
sermon ever preached was given by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as
He hung on the gibbet of the Holy Cross for three hours, nailed there
by our sins having transcended time. Our Lord spoke very few words as
He died a painful death. The power in His preaching
was the suffering He endured to pay back in His Sacred Humanity the
blood debt of our own sins to Himself in His Infinity as God. His death
on this very day destroyed the power of sin and eternal death forever,
making it possible for each of us to join the Good Thief in Heaven if
only we persevere to the point of our dying breaths in states of sanctifying
Our Lord had been betrayed by one of his chosen Apostles, Judas Iscariot, and denied by His Vicar three times. He was tried before the Sanhedrin as lying witnesses testified against Him. He spent the night in jail prior to being taken before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who desperately wanted to find a way to release Him while at the same time appeasing his Jewish collaborators in the Roman occupation of the Holy Land, the Pharisees. He was scourged and crowned with thorns, suffering the loss of massive quantities of His Most Precious Blood. He was tormented by the crowd, which was motivated by our own sins, and condemned to death as an insurrectionist, Barabbas, promising political salvation was released in His place. He picked up His heavy Cross to carry it on the Via Dolorosa en route to Calvary, where He encountered His Most Blessed Mother, whose suffering in Her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart was a perfect participation in His own work of Redemption.
As I note
in my protracted Holy Week reflections on this site, Good Friday belongs
in a special way to Our Lady. She was present at the foot of the Cross
as she gave birth us as the adopted sons and daughters of the living
God. She is present--along with all of the angels and saints--at every
offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the unbloody re-presentation
of her Divine Son's one Sacrifice to the Father in Spirit and in Truth.
We must keep close to her this day, calling to mind that the perfection
of the communion between her own Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart
of her Divine Son caused her to suffer as no purely human being could
ever suffer. She kept a silent vigil by the foot of the Cross. We must
mirror her silence this day, placing ourselves totally in her maternal
care so that we will grieve--truly grieve--for each of our sins and
that we will resolve to have such a perfect love for God that even the
thought of sin may become as repulsive to us as it was for saints such
as the Little Flower, Saint Therese of Lisieux.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori described Our Lady's sorrows on Good Friday in his Victories of the Martyrs:
We have now to witness a new kind of martyrdom--a Mother condemned to see an innocent Son, and one whom she loves with the whole affection of her soul, cruelly tormented and put to death before her own eyes.
There stood by the cross of Jesus his Mother. St. John believed that in these words he had said enough of Mary's martyrdom. Consider her at the foot of the cross in the presence of her dying Son, and then see if there be a sorrow like unto her sorrow. Let us remain for awhile this day on Calvary, and consider the fifth sword which, in the death of Jesus, transfixed the heart of Mary.
As soon as our agonized Redeemer had reached the Mount of Calvary, the executioners stripped him of his clothes, and piercing his hands and feet "not with sharp but with blunt nails," as St. Bernard says, to torment him more, they fastened him on the cross. Having crucified him, they planted the cross, and thus left him to die. The executioners left him; but not so Mary. She then drew nearer to the cross, to be present at his death; "I did not leave him (thus the Blessed Virgin revealed to St. Bridget), "but stood nearer to the cross."
"But what it avail thee, O Lady." says St. Bonaventure, "to go to Calvary, and see this Son expire? Shame should have prevented thee; for his disgrace was thine, since thou were his Mother. At least, horror of witnessing such a crime as the crucifixion of a God by his own creatures should have prevented thee from going there." But the same saint answers, "Ah, they heart did not then think of its own sorrows, but of the sufferings and death of thy dear Son,: and therefore thou wouldst thyself be present, at least to compassionate Him. "Ah, true Mother," says Abbot William, "most loving Mother, whom not even the fear of death could separate from thy beloved Son!"
But, O God, what a cruel sight was it there to behold this Son in agony on the cross, and at its foot this Mother in agony, suffering all the torments endured by her Son! Listen to the words in which Mary revealed to St. Bridget the sorrowful state in which she saw her dying Son on the Cross: "My dear Jesus was breathless, exhausted, and in his last agony on the cross; his eyes were sunk, half-closed, and lifeless; his lips hanging, and his mouth open; his cheeks hollow and drawn in; his face elongated, his nose sharp, his countenance sad; his head had fallen on his breast, his hair was black with blood, his stomach collapsed, his arms and legs stiff, and his whole body covered with wounds and blood."
All these sufferings of Jesus were also those of Mary; "Every torture inflicted on the body of Jesus," says St. Jerome, "was a wound in the heart of the Mother." "Whoever then was present on the Mount of Calvary," says St. John Chrysostom, "might see two altars, on which two great sacrifices were consummated; the one in the body of Jesus, the other in the heart of Mary." Nay, better still may we say with St. Bonaventure, "there was but one altar--that of the cross of the Son, on which, together with his divine Lamb, the victim, this Mother was also sacrificed;" therefore the saint asks this Mother, "O Lady, where art thou? near the cross? thyself with thy Son." St. Augustine assures us of the same thing: "The Cross and nails of the Son were also those of his Mother; with Christ crucified the Mother was also crucified." Yes; for, as St. Bernard says, "Love inflicted on the heart of Mary the tortures caused by nails in the body of Jesus." So much so, that, as St. Bernardine writes, "At the same time that the Son sacrificed his body, the Mother sacrificed her soul."
Mothers ordinarily fly from the presence of their dying children; but when a mother is obliged to witness such a scene, she procures all possible relief for her child; she arranges his bed, that he may be more at ease; she administers refreshments to him; and thus the poor mother soothes her own grief. Ah, most afflicted of all Mothers! O Mary, thou hast to witness the agony of thy dying Jesus; but thou canst administer him no relief. Mary heard her Son exclaim, I thirst, but she could not even give him a drop of water to refresh him in that great thirst. She could only say, as St. Vincent Ferrer remarks, "My Son, I have only the water of tears." She saw that on that bed of torture her Son, suspended by three nails, could find no repose; she would have clasped him in her arms to give him relief, or that at least he might there have expired; but she could not. "In vain," says St. Bernard, "did she extend her arms; they sank back empty on her breast." She beheld that poor Son, who in his sea of grief sought consolation, as it was foretold by the prophet, but in vain: I have trodden the winepress alone; I looked about and there was none to help; I sought, and there was none to give aid. But who amongst men would console him, since all were enemies? Even on the cross he was taunted and blasphemed on all sides: And they that passed by, blasphemed Him, wagging their heads. Some said to his face, If thou be the Son God, come down from the cross. Others, He saved others, Himself He cannot save. Again, If He be the King of Israel, let Him come down from the cross. Our Blessed Lady herself said to St. Bridget, "I heard some say that my Son was a thief; others that he was an impostor; others, that no one deserved death more than he did; and every word was a new sword of grief to my heart."
But that which the most increased the sorrows which Mary endured through compassion for her Son, was hearing him complain on the cross that even his Eternal Father had abandoned him: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Words which the divine Mother told the same St. Bridget could never, during her whole life, depart from her mind. So that the afflicted Mother saw her Jesus suffering on every side; she desired to comfort him, but could not.
That which grieved her the most was to see that she herself, by her presence and sorrow, increased the sufferings of her Son. "The grief," says St. Bernard, "which filled Mary's heart, as a torrent flowed into and embittered the heart of Jesus." "So much so," says the same saint, "that Jesus on the cross suffered more from compassion for his Mother than from his own torments." He thus speaks in the name of our Blessed Lady: "I stood with my eyes fixed on him, and his on me, and he grieved more for me than for himself." And then, speaking of Mary beside her dying Son, he says, "that she lived dying without being able to die." "Near the cross of Christ his Mother stood half-dead; she spoke not; dying she lived, and living she died; nor could she die, for death was her very life."
Passino writes that Jesus Christ himself one day, speaking to blessed Baptista Varani of Camerino, assured her that when on the cross, so great was his affliction at seeing his Mother at his feet in so bitter an anguish, that compassion for her caused him to die without consolation; so much so, that the Blessed Baptista, being supernaturally enlightened as to the greatness of this suffering of Jesus, exclaimed, "O Lord, tell me no more of this Thy sorrow, for I can no longer bear it."
"All," says Simon of Cassia, "who then saw this Mother silent, and not uttering a complaint in the midst of so great suffering, were filled with astonishment." But if Mary's lips were silent, her heart was not so, for she necessarily offered the life of her Son to the divine justice for our salvation. Therefore, we know that by the merits of her dolors she cooperated in our birth to the life of grace; and hence we are the children of her sorrows. "Christ," says Lanspergius, "was pleased that she, the cooperatress in our redemption, and whom he had determined to give us for our Mother, should be there present; for it was at the foot of the cross that she was to bring us, her children forth." If any consolation entered that sea of bitterness in the heart of Mary, the only one was this, that she knew that by her sorrows she was leading us to eternal salvation, as Jesus himself revealed to St. Bridget: "My Mother Mary, on account of her compassion and love, was made the Mother of all in heaven and on earth." And indeed these were the lat words with which Jesus bid her farewell before his death: this was his last recommendation, leaving us to her for her children in the person of St. John: Woman, behold thy son. From that time Mary began to perform this good office of a mother for us; for St. Peter Damian attests, "that by the prayers of Mary, who stood between the cross of the good thief and that of her Son, the thief was converted and saved, and thereby she repaid a former service." For, as other authors also relate, this thief had been kind to Jesus and Mary on their journey into Egypt; and this same office the Blessed Virgin has ever continued, and still continues, to perform."
Whenever anyone of us believes that we have received a cross that is "too heavy" for us we should review these words from Saint Alphonus Liguori. All we need to do is to look at the Cross, which is the true book of learning, and to recognize the simple fact that there is nothing--and I mean absolutely nothing--that we can suffer in this mortal life that is the equal of what one of our least sins caused Our Lord to suffer in His Sacred Humanity on the wood of the Cross. There is nothing that we can suffer that is the equal of what the suffering we imposed upon the God-Man caused His Most Blessed Mother to suffer in her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Now, the Paschal Triduum, Good Friday, is the time to learn this lesson once and for all and to accept each and every cross that comes our way as having been perfectly tailored for us for all eternity to be given back to the Blessed Trinity through the Immaculate Heart of Mary with complete resignation and abandonment to the will of God. Yes, crosses hurt. They are meant to hurt. Alas, nothing we endure compares to what our sins imposed upon the Divine Redeemer's Most Sacred Heart and His Most Holy Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. We must console them on this day of days, the day on which our salvation was wrought for us on the wood of the Holy Cross. True liberation from self-concern comes only when we surrender ourselves as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, which was pierced with a fifth sword of sorrow at the moment of her Divine Son's death on the Cross, a death that made it possible for us to live forever in the glory of the Beatific Vision.
This, the most solemn
day of the year, is a day to withdraw from all of the activities of
the world. This is not a day for conversation or socializing of any time whatsoever. This is
a day of mourning. We assist at the Mass of the Presanctified in a spirit
of solemnity and sobriety, leaving it after its conclusion in utter
silence, mournful of what our sins caused Our Lord to suffer in His
Sacred Humanity on the wood of the Holy Cross. Yes, we know that we
will be celebrating Our Lord's Easter victory over sin and death with
the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday morning or evening and during the Easter Sunday Mass. However,
this day, the only day in the liturgical year on which the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass is not offered and Our Lord's Real Presence is hidden from
the faithful for public adoration after the Mass of the Presanctified, must be reserved for calling to mind
the horror of sin and the love and mercy Our Lord extended to us, His
executioners, through His Most Sacred Heart, which we must seek to console as best as we can as the consecrated slaves of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Indeed, our Lucy saw the altar being stripped at a chapel last year. She was horrified, whispering, "There's never going to be Mass here ever again?" Well, that's the point. Our Lord has been taken away because of our sins. He will return for the Easter Vigil. For the time being, however, He is hidden from us, which is why in the pre-1956 Mass of the Presanctified the faithful do not receive Holy Communion. We must await His return on the day of the Resurrection.
gives us an opportunity to transcend time and to be present on the "right"
side of the Cross to make up for the fact that our sins had placed us
on the wrong side of the Cross nearly two millennia ago. And the Immemorial
Mass of Tradition communicates the solemnity of Calvary in countless ways
throughout the liturgical year, preparing us to enter more deeply into
the mysteries of redemptive love shown us by God in the flesh as He
was nailed to the Holy Cross.
The Mass of Tradition in all of its essential elements was taught to
the Apostles by Our Lord Himself between the time of His Resurrection
on Easter Sunday and His Ascension to the Father's right hand in glory
on Ascension Thursday. It is the Mass of Tradition that communicates
fully and completely the simple fact that every offering of Holy
Mass is the extension of Calvary in time, which is why it can never
become a carnival or an expression of community self-congratulations
replete with jokes and back-slapping. The Mass must reflect the reverence
and solemnity of what happened once in time on Good Friday and is re-presented
in an unbloody manner at the hands of an alter Christus acting
in persona Christi. The perfection of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in communicating this reverence and solemnity has been such over
the centuries that it succeeded in producing scores upon scores of saints
during epochs when few people could read. These saints learned from
the eloquent lessons preached by the very solemnity and reverence communicated
in all of the component parts of the Mass of the ages of the Roman Rite, just as Our Lord
preached so eloquently as He suffered and died once in time on this
Our Lord forgave His
executioners, namely, each one of us as He died on the wood of the Holy
Cross. He promised Heaven to the Good Thief. He gave Our Lady to be
our Mother through Saint John the Beloved. He thirsted for our souls.
We must simply surrender to Him, recognizing that we have the duty to
carry the cross with love every day of our lives and to lift it high
in the midst of a hostile and unbelieving world. Every moment of our
lives has been redeemed by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious
Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. The graces He won for us on this
very day are sufficient to endure whatever sufferings we are asked to
bear, each of which is perfectly suited to be offered to Our Lady's
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart to be used precisely as she sees fit
for the honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity and for the sanctification
and salvation of human souls.
words of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, found in his Friends of
him take up his cross, the one that is his. Let this man or this woman,
rarely found and worth more than the entire world, take up with joy,
fervently clasp in his arms and bravely set upon his shoulders this
cross that is his own and not that of another; his own cross, the one
that My wisdom designed for him in every detail of number, weight and
measurement; his own cross whose four dimensions, its length, breadth,
thickness and height, I very accurately gauged with My own hands; his
own cross which all out of love for him I carved from a section of the
very Cross I bore in Calvary; his cross, the grandest of all the gifts
I have for My chosen ones on earth; his cross, made up in its thickness
of temporal loss, humiliation, disdain, sorrow, illness and spiritual
trial which My Providence will not fail to supply him with every day
of his life; his cross, made up in its length of a definite period of
days or months when he will have to bear with slander or be helplessly
stretched out on a bed of pain, or forced to beg, or else a prey to
temptation, to dryness, desolation and many another mental anguish;
his cross, made up in its breadth of hard and bitter situations stirred
up for him by his relatives, friends or servants; his cross, finally,
made up in its depth of secret sufferings which I will have him endure
nor will I allow him any comfort from created beings, for by My order
they will turn from him too and even join Me in making him suffers.
him carry it, and not drag it, not shoulder it off, not lighten it,
nor hide it. Let him hold it high in hand, without impatience or peevishness,
without voluntary complaint or grumbling without dividing or softening,
without shame or human respect.
him place it on his forehead and say with St. Paul: "God forbid
that I should glory save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ."
him carry it on his shoulders, after the example of Jesus Christ, and
make it his weapon to victory and the scepter of his empire.
him root it in his heart, and there change it into a fiery bush, burning
day and night with the pure love of God, without being consumed.
cross: it is the cross he must carry for there is nothing more necessary,
more useful, more agreeable and more glorious than suffering for Jesus
of you are sinners and there is not a single one who is not deserving
of hell; I myself deserve it the most. These sins of ours must be punished
either here or hereafter. If they are punished in this world, they will
not be punished in the world to come.
we agree to God's punishing here below, this punishment, will be dictated
by love. For mercy, which holds sway in this world, will mete out the
punishment, and not strict justice. This punishment will be light and
momentary, blended with merit and sweetness and followed up with reward
both in time and eternity. . . .
resolved then, dear Friends of the Cross, to suffer every kind of cross
without excepting or choosing any: all poverty, all injustice, all temporal
loss, all illness, all humiliation, all contradiction, all calumny,
all spiritual dryness, all desolation, all interior and exterior trials.
Keep saying, "My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready." Be ready to be forsaken by everyone. Be ready to undergo hunger, thirst,
poverty, nakedness, exile, imprisonment, the gallows and all kinds of
torture, even though you are innocent of everything with which you may
be charged. What if you were cast out of your own home like Job and
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary; thrown, like this saint, into the mire;
or dragged upon a manure pile like Job, malodorous and covered with
ulcers, without anyone to bandage your wounds, without a morsel of bread,
never refused to a horse or a dog? Add to these dreadful misfortunes
all the temptations with which God allows the devil to prey upon you,
without pouring your soul the least feeling of consolation. Firmly believe
that this is the summit of divine glory and real happiness for a true,
perfect Friend of the Cross.
Adam lost our birthright to Heaven when he stretched out his arm to
a tree. The second Adam stretched out His arms to a tree and made it
possible to enter Heaven by being incorporated as members of His one,
true Church and persisting in a state of sanctifying grace until the
point of our dying breaths. What was lost for us on the Tree of the
Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden was won back for us
on the Tree of Life that is the Holy Cross. The One whose newborn Body
was placed in a manger, a feeding trough for animals, was affixed by
our sins to the wood of the Holy Cross, which has become the true manger
from which we are fed His very own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in
the Most Blessed Sacrament. Oh, what sublime mysteries of love and mercy,
of forgiveness and redemption.
We must thank
Our Lord today for His gift to us of our Redemption, a gift which we
did not and do not merit. We must thank Him for the gift of the true
Church. And those of us who have embraced, perhaps much later than we
should have, the glories of the Church's authentic tradition in the catacombs where shepherds make no concessions to conciliarism or to the legitimacy of its false shepherds must thank
Him and His Blessed Mother, the Co-Redemptrix and the Mediatrix of all
graces, for helping us to see that the sermon preached on Calvary can
heard only if Catholics of the Roman Rite assist exclusively at
the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, where everything points to the Cross of the Divine
Redeemer--and from there to the glories of an unending Easter Sunday
in Paradise if we remain faithful to the point of our dying breaths.
Our Lady of
Sorrows, whose Immaculate Heart was pierced by the fourth through seventh swords of sorrow prophesied
by Simeon, pray for us this day, Good Friday, April 6, 2007,
so that we will withdraw from the world and thus draw close to you as
we console you for what our sins and ingratitude and indifference caused
you and your Divine Son to suffer, so that we might be with you in the
gaze of the Beatific Vision of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for all eternity. May we keep you company at the tomb of your Divine Son so that we may celebrate with joy His Easter victory over sin and eternal death made possible by His paying back in His own Sacred Humanity the blood debt of sin that was owed to Him in His Infinity as God.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our deaths!
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us now and in death's agony.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint James the Greater, pray for us.
Saint James the Lesser, pray for us.
Saint Matthew, pray for us.
Saint Simon, pray for us.
Saint Bartholomew, pray for us.
Saint Thomas the Apostle, pray for us.
Saint Philip, pray for us.
Saint Matthias, pray for us.
Saint Andrew, pray for us.
Saint Barnabas, pray for us.
Saint Isidore of Seville, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Frances of Rome, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint John of God, pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Damian, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Saint Genevieve, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Saint Rita of Cascia, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
Juan Diego, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.