In 1864, a soul, Father Louis Cestac, saw a vision of demons spread out over the earth, causing unbelievable ravage. And then, the Mother of God told him that the time had come to pray to the Queen of the angels, and to ask Her to send the holy legions to combat and overthrow the powers of hell.
“My Mother,” said this soul, “you who are so good, could You not send them without our having to ask?”
“No,” replied the Holy Virgin. “Prayer is a condition set by God Himself in order to obtain graces.”
Upon asking for a prayer, Fr Cestac received from the most Holy Virgin, the prayer, August Queen.
Over the weekend, an unseen hand gently and lightly took me to the 40-day St. Michael’s Lent Novena. It was a set of prayers I had been led to more than a year ago in August when a colleague had hurt me very deeply. Through the 40 days of prayers at that time, I found strength and consolation to rise each day and to go to face this strange and unexplained hate towards me. With the love of Jesus, Mother Mary and St. Michael, I made it through those bitter days of humiliations and hurts.
Last weekend, I realised that it was 40 days to Christmas. The yearned for end of year break was approaching in a week’s time. I was very tired. All I could think about and anticipate was the end of a work year and the beginning of some weeks of rest – and not forgetting, the joy of preparing for Christmas!
But out of nowhere, Someone reached out and caught my heart, leading me instead to the St. Michael’s novena. With little deliberation, I promised to say it.
Nonetheless, the leading this time was so gentle that as soon as I said the first day prayers, I wondered if I had misread the summons – because it felt like the prayer did not fit the season. I wondered if I had jumped into this with the spiritual impetuousness so typical of me. Yet, having sealed my will to saying the prayers, I balked against bailing out.
Today, I discovered that my committing to the prayer had nothing to do with impulsivity. For today brought a very minor brush against that same colleague’s hatred and anger. After long weeks of peace away from her, she had returned briefly this morning, and in those minutes contrived to let me know how deeply the rivers of hate still flowed within her. Slightly singed this time from the fire in her hidden depths, I had no intention of returning to the poisonous wellsprings I had swum in before. So, as often as it rose within me, I placed this new hurt in the hands of St. Anne, the mother of Mary, for St. Anne is the keeper of my tears.
As the last of the waterbirds sang their farewells to the setting sun, and the smoke-coasted winds bowed their heads to the coming night, a new emissary came before my heart, bearing the prayer, August Queen. Something brushed against my spirit as I read the lines of the prayer.
August Queen of the Heavens, heavenly sovereign of the Angels, Thou who from the beginning received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech Thee to send Your holy Legions, so that under Thy command and through Thy power, they may pursue the demons and combat them everywhere, suppress their boldness, and drive them back into the abyss. Who is like God? O good and tender Mother, Thou will always be our love and hope! O Divine Mother, send Thy Holy Angels to defend me and to drive far away from me the cruel enemy. Holy Angels and Archangels, defend us, guard us. Amen.
Defend me. Cruel enemy. A battle cry. Am I being asked to say the prayer? I wondered. Putting the call to the test, I received my answer: I recalled the vicious, senseless anger of my colleague earlier in the day.
It was not mere frustration with the vagaries of life. It was the breath of hell.
And the August Queen prayer was to be prayed against it.
Overruling the last remnant of doubt, I firmly decided to make it my morning prayer for as long as I needed to. But Someone wanted no shadow of uncertainty to fall across my prayer, no matter how slight.
At that moment, one of my children, named after St. Michael, casually told me about a sudden gust of wind earlier in the morning. Among the many little beads of events from a busy day, this stood out and it was laughingly shared it with me.
It took me back to a day a few years ago, when I had been in prayer to St. Michael and hours later, had sought a sign.
A sudden gust of wind had sprung out of nowhere.
It came straight for my heart and then it was gone.
I understood then that it was the sign for me of St. Michael’s presence. And now, upon hearing what my child had said, I immediately recognised it – it was St. Michael’s sign.
August Queen. The title of the prayer tugged at me. And then, I saw what I had not seen before.
The August Queen prayer was the closing prayer of the St. Michael’s novena.
The last petal uncurled. In the final days of the year, even as the bells Christmas joyously tinkle ever closer, another wind is rising unseen, determined to come between us and the Light to Come. The shadow that hides within the confines of many hearts is the odour of that feral entity.
It must be fought – but now with The August Queen prayer.
That was St. Michael’s sword to me.