The Protection of the Holy Angels against the Devils, with Particular Reference to their Different Temptations, which are here Treated of.-continued 2.

The Protection of the Holy Angels against the Devils, with Particular Reference to their Different Temptations, which are here Treated of.-continued 2.


My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

The Protection of the Holy Angels against the Devils, with Particular Reference to their Different Temptations, which are here Treated of.-continued 2.

Not but that the devils sometimes avail themselves of sufferings, tempting souls who they foresee will not make a good use of them to long for crosses; or urging them to take them upon themselves, because, not being of God’s disposal, they will easily sink under the weight of them; or, again, they will induce them to augment such crosses as come to them in the order of God’s providence. For instance, God sends some mental suffering which ought to be borne with patience and resignation: they will induce the persons thus afflicted to contemplate their sufferings, to reflect too much upon them, and thus to aggravate their own misery. As they throw a veil over the evil which resides in unlawful pleasures, so they conceal from men the good which sufferings contain; they allow men to perceive only what is painful in them, for the purpose of tempting them to impatience, weariness, despair, and murmuring against the leadings of God’s providence. They exert all their powers to cast souls into a state of despondency, leading them to regard their evils as irremediable, and to look only at this present life, and so urging them to desperation. They even harass souls with painful temptations with respect to God, tormenting them with suggestions against faith, or with fears of their own reprobation, or with doubts as to whether they have consented to sin; confusing the imagination and leaving the mind disquieted, from uncertainty as to whether consent has been given to the temptation or not; raising in people’s consciences scruples with regard to their confessions, which they fancy they have never properly made; persuading persons to make fresh general confessions unadvisedly, and often to repeat their ordinary ones through fear of not having mentioned everything, or of not having been sufficiently explicit, thus keeping the soul in a state of anguish for, as these spirits are themselves devoid of all hope, and in a perpetual state of unrest and unutterable disquietude, the effects they produce are akin to their own wretched condition. Wherever they approach they cause trouble, despondency, sadness, and confusion; and, if they cannot make men the companions of their misery hereafter, they endeavour at least to make them share their wretchedness in the present life; and again, they harass us with contradictions from without, exciting our relations, our friends, and such as are under obligations to us, to provoke us, as we see in the case of Job’s wife, at the same time representing to our imagination their ingratitude and injustice.

Sometimes, by God’s permission, they take possession of the imagination of good people, even to such a degree as to make them see things quite differently to what they really are, thus rendering unavailing everything that can be said or done to undeceive them. That holy man, Father John of the Cross, was imprisoned by the religious of his Order, and strangely ill-treated; he was even stripped of his religious habit, as one who was incorrigible. Men wonder at seeing so great a servant of God treated after this manner by good men, but we have no reason to be surprised: God, designing to make him a man of suffering, permitted the devil to try him cruelly; and to this end these lying spirits made the religious who tormented him look upon him only as a disobedient person, who was wanting in the spirit of submission; and there seemed to be some ground for this opinion: for in a Chapter of the Order which had been held, several distinguished religious, men high in authority, and considerable for their learning and personal merits, had decided that Father John of the Cross should not proceed any further with the matter begun: thus he was regarded as a rebel. People did not fail to say that his designs, however good they might be, ought to be abandoned, since he had been forbidden to think any longer of them; that, moreover, he was a person devoid of discretion, calculated only to attract public attention, and create much confusion in the Carmelite Order, by reason of his imprudent and headlong zeal. No attention was paid to anything alleged on the contrary part; and this, indeed, was clearly apparent in the last persecution to which he was subjected on his death-bed from the Prior of the house where he lay sick. This Prior, though one of the reformed religious, and that too at the beginning of as holy a reform as ever took place, at a time also when the first-fruits of the renewed perfection of this holy Order were most rich and abundant, put an evil interpretation on all the actions of the man of God, and became thereby to him the cause of the severest trials. It is wonderful to find his Provincial visiting this monastery, and doing all in his power, both by his authority and by argument, to soften the mind of the Prior, yet in vain: the devil who possessed his imagination kept it filled with illusions which made him see things quite otherwise than what they were. At last, some little time before the man of God expired, the devil having withdrawn, the superior was seized with a sudden astonishment at what he had done: yet nothing new had occurred, all was as before, only the devil had departed.

The smallest imperfections give great advantage to these apostate spirits. The slightest things, as it is truly observed in the Life of St. John Chrysostom, lately published, suffice to furnish them with an occasion for exciting violent passions against those who are combating them by labouring to restore primitive strictness of life and manners. These princes of darkness avail themselves of the most trifling acts of a faithful servant of God to provoke and foment a fierce opposition against him, blackening things the most innocent. In the days of persecution, bishops and priests died in defence of the faith; but now that the Church is in peace, bishops and priests can no longer be persecuted save for maintaining strictness of discipline. The devils do for the imagination what certain mirrors do for the eyes: they magnify appearances, and can make atoms look like high mountains.

They make things seem, as we have said, quite different to what they truly are, like those glasses which change the colour of the objects seen through them. They present very false notions of true devotion, making it appear to consist in what it does not,—that is to say, in particular practices, inward lights and sensible movements; and making it not to appear where it really is,—that is to say, in a firm resolve to do the will of God in all things, and in the manner He wills. They persuade men of the world that devotion is fitted only for the cloister, and represent it in such a light as to make it seem impossible for them to practise it. All their artifices tend to make it look unattainable to persons living in the world, that they may put the very thought of it out of their minds; or they represent it under so frightful an aspect that they have not the courage to embrace it; or they impute to it the defects of those who profess it, in order to decry it.

As their own nature is all malice, they insinuate a malicious tendency into the minds of men, making them see something evil in the most holy actions, and inclining them to put a bad interpretation on the acts of others: all which is the very opposite to true charity, which thinks well of every one, and when it cannot approve the action, at least excuses the intention. It is one of the commonest faults in the world to be slow to believe what is good, and ready to think what is evil. If we can find nothing to blame in a life, the virtuous tenor of which looks like a reproach to ourselves, we direct our attacks against the interior, and, invading the very recesses of the heart, which is known to God only, we charge it with hypocrisy and dissimulation. St. Teresa relates that the Holy Lady of Cardona spoke readily of her graces, and was very frank in mentioning her virtues, and she regards this conduct as that of a soul who looked to God alone, without considering self: another would have condemned it as proceeding from vanity, and would have suspected this virtuous lady of seeking the esteem of creatures.

Father Caussin, in his “Holy Court,” reflecting upon this truth, that we ought to be very cautious in passing judgment upon the actions of our neighbour, after having highly extolled the conduct of the great St. Francis de Sales, remarks, that a critical spirit would have seen much in it at which it might take exception. For instance, says this eloquent author, the Saint testifies that the recollection of Madame de Chantal, of glorious memory, is so dear to him, that he often recurs to it, and thinks of her with affection, and that even at the holy altar. A censorious spirit might be scandalised at the imagination of a holy man being thus occupied with the remembrance of a woman; and yet in him it was a movement of grace. On the other hand, we read of saints who begged of God that they might never remember, even in their prayers, the women who had recommended themselves to them. Their particular grace led them to act thus; but the ways of the Holy Spirit of God in the conduct of His saints differ so widely that they are an inscrutable abyss to poor human reason.

When the devils foresee that great spiritual assistance is preparing for souls, or that special benedictions are about to be showered on a city, a diocese, or a province, they raise fierce persecutions against those whom God designs to employ for this purpose; they use every means to calumniate them, and to inspire people with a horror of them; and not only do they assail those who are employed in public ministrations, but they persecute such as lead the most retired and solitary life, when they observe in them any extraordinary virtue; for, says St. Teresa, these souls never go alone to heaven—they save and sanctify a great number of persons by their prayers and by their union with God. We have seen in our days a religious of the Discalciated Carmelites leading a most solitary life on Mount Carmel, imitating those ancient Fathers who retired into the wildest deserts, that he might spend some time in complete separation from the society of men. The rage of the devils against this servant of God is something quite marvellous to read of.

If they apprehend that the genuine piety of some chosen soul, and the extraordinary graces with which Heaven has endowed it, will be productive of much fruit in the Church, they will labour to put some deluded creature forward, making this miserable being pass for a saint, and then they will expose the delusion, in order to lead men to the conclusion that they who are truly moved by the Spirit of God are deceivers likewise, and thus hinder the good which they might have effected. If they see devotion taking firm root in a country, through the solid practice of the frequent use of the sacraments, the exercise of prayer and union with God, they will cause some of those who make profession of devotion to fall into certain faults, and they will then raise a cry against frequent communion, against prayer, and other exercises of piety; they will throw ridicule on the devout, and exert their power to the utmost to oppose the designs of God. O my Lord! exclaims the seraphic Teresa, how does it move one to pity! If a soul is deceived in the ways of prayer, people exclaim and raise a great outcry, and men do not perceive that for one who goes astray from praying amiss, thousands of souls are lost from the neglect of prayer. The pious Louis of Grenada, in his “Memorial,” devotes a chapter to showing that it is often a great mistake to cry out so much against the abuse of frequent communion; not but that we should condemn such abuse, and have a horror of it; but we fail to observe, says this learned master of the spiritual life, that, under the pretext of some abuses which occur, we not only hinder the great progress of holy souls in virtue, by the frequent use of communion, but also, which is of the highest importance, much glory which would redound to God. Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that those who prevented frequent communion, robbed Him of His delight. St. Thomas teaches that daily communion was matter of precept in the first centuries. The holy Council of Trent expresses a wish for the restoration of this practice. It is the duty of confessors to examine the state of those who receive holy communion every day, that they may not make a bad use of it; but to disapprove a practice which was so habitual in the primitive Church, and which the last General Council desired, if possible, to restore, can but proceed from the hatred which the spirits of hell have conceived against this Mystery of Love.

A great servant of God has wisely observed, that there are certain persons in whom the devils seem to entrench themselves as in a fortress, and by whose means they render their temptations the more dangerous. There are persons whose very presence disposes to impurity, while there are others who inspire feelings of revenge, or again, of vanity. The devils lodge themselves in the eyes of some; in their hair, in their hands, and make everything about them fascinating—their voice, their words, the expression of their eyes, their gestures—so that it is difficult not to be seduced by them. People are sometimes surprised at seeing miserable men attach themselves to very ordinary women, deserting for them wives who are both beautiful and pleasing. This often happens through the secret artifices of the devils, who invest wretched beings, who naturally ought to inspire aversion, with a charm to ensnare hearts. A sick man at the point of death was in a state of great peace; one of his friends, a heretic, entered his room to pay him a visit; at the same moment he felt himself greatly tempted against the faith. The devils, who had no vantage-ground from whence to attack this poor sick man, found in this heretic a fortress, as it were, from which to direct their assaults upon him. I was told this by the late M. Le Gauffre, the worthy successor of Father Bernard, of glorious memory; and the circumstance is well worthy of notice, that we may take heed what company we keep, and not give place to the devils to tempt us, particularly at the hour of death. Let us here observe, that as the devils make violent assaults upon us by means of those who are in their power, so also the Spirit of God gives us great assistance by means of those souls which He fills with His presence. The blessed Angela of Foligni, when performing some journey of devotion, was favoured with extraordinary gifts; and our gracious Saviour revealed to her, that if she had chosen any other companion than the one who travelled with her, who was a person of much virtue, she would have been deprived of all these graces. Nothing is more pernicious than conversation with the wicked, nothing more profitable than intercourse with the good.


My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.


October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer


Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.


Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer


Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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