The Leonine Prayers
(To be said publicly after Low Mass
or for private use after any Mass)
Pope Leo XIII
For eighty years (18851965), Catholics
throughout the world recited a set of prayers
at the end of low Mass, in company with the priest
kneeling at the steps of the altar. These prayers were commonly referred to as Prayers after Mass, and sometimes as the Leonine Prayers, since it was the great Pope
Leo XIII who instituted them at the
end of the 19th century.
In regard to their
disappearance, there is too much conflicting speculation to consider the why, but the when
occured around 1964/5 after Vatican
Council II. These prayers were
prescribed only for low Masses
of a private or non-solemn character, when no further devotion
followed after the Last Gospel. Thus,
whenever Mass was sung (whether a Missa cantata or a Solemn High
Mass), or a low Mass
was said as the principal conventual or parochial liturgy of the day, these prayers were omitted, as they
were, too, whenever Mass was followed by Eucharistic Adoration, public recitation of the Rosary or other such devotion.
Today there is a growing sense among Catholics
of the fittingness of the Leonine Prayers
as a kind of private thanksgiving and petition immediately after
the great and august mysteries
of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
have been enacted upon the altar, and the fruits of the Mass
received in Holy Communion. The custom is
especially good as a check against the all-too-frequent tendency to rush
out of Mass immediately after the final blessing. Reciting some formal prayers after Mass
helps everyone slow down, take a deep breath, and linger in the Presence
of the Lord, letting His Eucharist
work in our souls, giving Him the chance to speak
to us and teach us. When some of the faithful remain behind after Mass
and set an example of prayer, it will
surely, over time, have a good effect on
others, reminding them that what Mass is-for
does not end with the final prayer and blessing.
Only the offering of Mass ends, whereas the offering
of self to God, which is
both symbolized and enacted in the mysteries
of the Mass, is meant to continue at all
(Taken from an Article by Peter A.
Kwasniewski, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the International Theological Institute
in Gaming, Austria.)
The Leonine Prayers
by Pope Leo XIII
Three Hail Marys
Priest: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou
amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
(Said 3 times)
Hail, Holy Queen (Salve Regina)
Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in
this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O
loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Priest: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God
we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Priest: Let us pray.
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down
with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and
immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles
Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the
conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church.
Through the same Christ Our Lord.
Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the
heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who
prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls.
Three Invocations to the Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart of Jesus,
All: Have mercy
(Said 3 times)
Longer Version of the
Prayer to Saint Michael
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in
battle; be our protection 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.
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.
"By the Power of the Father, Saint Michael and
his Heavenly Host in Battle" - by Peter Paul Rubens
We do not know exactly what Jesus
granted to Satan: all we know is that your enemy the devil goes about like a
roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1Peter
5:8). We would be fools not to invoke heavenly
aid against him.
Dragon stalks Woman and Child
(symbolic of Holy Mother the Church and Her priests) from the Book of Revelation
Let us daily offer this prayer of Leo
XIII against the wickedness and snares of the devil. The more we pray God to rebuke him,
the more he will be rebuked. Saint
Michael is granted power over Satan
in proportion to the desires of the people of God
for the devils defeat.
If we are lukewarm, Saint Michael's hand is to some extent bound. If we
are on fire against the evil one and his servants,
Saint Michaels hand is ever freer to wage
war, and his
more powerful to assist us. Faith is our own
weapon; let us use it. Then Michael's heavenly
host, for their part, can use their weapons
to the fullest.
We must not underestimate our role as intercessors before God
in the battle against the demons. The prayer
of Pope Leo XIII itself
indicates it. A prayer devoutly raised to God asking for Saint Michael's
intervention may be the difference between a soul
entangled and lost,
and a soul set free
and saved. When we think
about how the devil pursues priests and religious
above all, we should realize how fitting it is to pray
this prayer immediately after Mass, praying
not only for the faithful in general, but in
particular for the priest who
offered that very Mass. If, according to the
Apocalypse of Saint John, the dragon,
the ancient serpent, is in pursuit of the Child and the Woman, will he
not be in ceaseless pursuit of every priest
and religious who, in their
own consecrated states, are the icons in this world of the Woman
and her Child?