Jul 092018

One of the trends I noticed over the last decade or so is how the recitation of the prayer of Saint Michael the Archangel is happening in more and more parishes in my diocese. Previously I found it was uncommon that it was recited after Mass. Now I find it is uncommon that it is not recited. Now this is totally anecdotal and I have of course not canvassed all the parishes in my diocese. Still it is something I noticed and I was wondering if others have seen this trend also?

Today I was thinking about this as the priest recited it after Mass. The part though I was thinking of was the variance in translations of this prayer in English.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our ________ against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

  1. Safeguard.
  2. Defense
  3. Protection.

In three different parishes there are three different translation word choices. So I have learned to adapt between where I go to daily Mass and weekend Mass to say the same word with everyone else. So of course when I went to the Basilica today they used another word.

Now I understand translation differences, but what I find interesting is that as far as I have notices every other word in the prayer is the same in each version. It is just this one word that has variances. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another common prayer in English with such variances.

Update: Other variances pointed out to me:

  1. cast/thrust
  2. prowl/wander

  3 Responses to “Variances in the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer”

  1. I hear 2 other variances within my parish in ArchDen.

    Divine power/power of God

  2. Looking at the Latin helps a little, although translation is of course more an art than a science. And the actual original language was probably Italian, too.

    “defende nos” – defend us in battle
    “esto praesidium” – be our protection

    “divína virtúte” – “divine power” is closer than “power of God”

    “pervagántur in múndo” – closer to “wander” than “prowl”, it’s the same root as “vagabond”

    There’s a good article on this very thing here: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/in-infernum-detrude-or-how-to-improve-the-english-translation-of-the-prayer

  3. In Engalnd and Wales ot was always : Holy Michael, archangel, defend us in the day of battlle…

    In Ireland it was : Blessed Michael, archangel, defend us in the hour of conflict …

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