Novena for victory over enemies
- Psalm 55
2 Listen, God, to my prayer;
do not hide from my pleading;
3 hear me and give answer.
I rock with grief; I groan
4 at the uproar of the enemy,
the clamor of the wicked.
They heap trouble upon me,
savagely accuse me.
5 My heart pounds within me;
death’s terrors fall upon me.
6 Fear and trembling overwhelm me;
shuddering sweeps over me.
7 I say, “If only I had wings like a dove
that I might fly away and find rest.
8 Far away I would flee;
I would stay in the desert.
9 I would soon find a shelter
from the raging wind and storm.”
10 Lord, check and confuse their tongues.
For I see violence and strife in the city
11 making rounds on its walls day and night.
Within are mischief and trouble;
12 treachery is in its midst;
oppression and fraud never leave its streets.
13 For it is not an enemy that reviled me –
that I could bear –
Not a foe who viewed me with contempt,
from that I could hide.
14 But it was you, my other self,
my comrade and friend,
15 You, whose company I enjoyed,
at whose side I walked
in the house of God.
16 Let death take them;
let them go down alive to Sheol,
for evil is in their homes and bellies.
17 But I will call upon God,
and the LORD will save me.
18 At dusk, dawn, and noon
I will grieve and complain,
and my prayer will be heard.
19 He will redeem my soul in peace
from those who war against me,
though there are many who oppose me.
20 God, who sits enthroned forever,
will hear me and afflict them.
For they will not mend their ways;
they have no fear of God.
21 He stretched out his hand at his friends
and broke his covenant.
22 Softer than butter is his speech,
but war is in his heart.
Smoother than oil are his words,
but they are unsheathed swords.
23 Cast your care upon the LORD,
who will give you support.
He will never allow
the righteous to stumble.
24 But you, God, will bring them down
to the pit of destruction.
These bloodthirsty liars
will not live half their days,
but I put my trust in you.
1 I must boast; not that it is profitable, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I know that this person (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows)
4 was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter.
5 About this person I will boast, but about myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses.
6 Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me
7 because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
8 Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
10 Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
- Psalm 126
When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs.
The heathens themselves said: “What marvels
the Lord worked for them!”
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad.
Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.
They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy
gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
5 who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
6 In this you rejoice,
although now, for a little while,
you may have to suffer through various trials,
7 so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable,
even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Although you have not seen him,
you love him;
even though you do not see him now,
yet believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
9 as you attain the goal of [your] faith,
the salvation of your souls.
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
2 my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be disgraced;
do not let my enemies gloat over me.
16 Look upon me, have pity on me,
for I am alone and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart;
bring me out of my distress.
18 Look upon my affliction and suffering;
take away all my sins.
19 See how many are my enemies,
see how fiercely they hate me.
20 Preserve my soul and rescue me;
do not let me be disgraced, for in you I seek refuge.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me;
I wait for you, O LORD.
22 He passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them,
24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
25 After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’
26 And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
27 Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
28 And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.
29 And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
30 For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
How great is your name, O Lord our God,
through all the earth.
Your majesty is praised above the heavens;
on the lips of children and of babes
you have found praise to foil your enemy,
to silence the foe and the rebel.
When I see the heavens, the work of your hands,
the moon and the stars which you arranged,
what is man that you should keep him in mind,
mortal man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him little less than a god;
with glory and honor crowned him,
gave him power over the works of your hand,
put all things under his feet.
All of them, sheep and cattle,
yes, even the savage beasts,
birds of the air, and fish
that make their way through the waters.
How great is your name, O Lord our God,
through all the earth!
- Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous. Love is not pompous, it is not inflated,
5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in the day of battle;
be thou our refuge 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,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God,
who, by the will of the Father
and the work of the Holy Spirit,
through your death gave life to the world,
free me by this, your most holy Body and Blood,
from all my sins and from every evil;
keep me always faithful to your commandments,
and never let me be parted from you.
- You need simply watch;
the punishment of the wicked you will see.
- You need simply watch;
- O give your strength to your servant
and save your handmaid’s son.
Show me the sign of your favor
that my foes may see to their shame
that you console me and give me your help.
- O give your strength to your servant
These three imprecatory Psalms (53, 83, 109) are not included in the Breviary. They are prayed by monks who use the full Psalter in their Liturgy of the Hours. Some imprecatory verses are also suppressed in the Breviary.
It is evil for us to wish evil on evildoers.
It is bad enough if they sin against us; it is worse if we let ourselves be provoked by their sins to sin against the law of love:
We should understand that our human antagonists are brothers and sisters whom we are ordered to love with merciful compassion. We may hate sin in all its forms, both in us and in others--pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.
When it comes to the fallen angels and the malice of the souls in Hell, we would do best to follow the gracious reserve expressed in the Prayer to St. Michael: "May God rebuke them, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, cast into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls."
I don't like "demon-chasing." Striving to detect the hand of spiritual powers in all of our affairs seems to me to be a game that the enemy delights in playing with us. When we notice spiritual opposition, then is the time to briefly ask for God's radiance to dispel the darkness, but we should not pretend that we can march into darkness like the Ghostbusters and assault the demons at will. That is not how Jesus spoke or acted.
There is no question that, as a matter of justice, all of our evildoing merits just punishment. In His mercy, God will allow us to make personal repayment for all of the sins we have committed, so that in our own suffering of just punishment, we will repay all the wrong we have done to others. That is the great lesson of Purgatory. But the great good we wish for ourselves of being cleansed, healed, and delivered from all of our sins must be what we wish for those who have harmed us.
God's anger is righteous because there is not the slightest taint of malice or ill-will in it. He hates only that which is truly hateful in us, and He longs to destroy that which would destroy us. Eradicating evil is God's job, not mine; vengeance belongs to him, not to me (Romans 12:19). The bitter passages in these psalms represent our natural desire to see our enemies suffer evil for the evil they have done, but we must bear in mind that God Himself has shown us a better way, the way of the Cross and of kenosis (Philippians 2:7).
Jesus died to save sinners--people who are bad, wicked, criminal, unworthy of mercy or love. Jesus wants us to pray earnestly for those who are most in need of His mercy:
- O my Jesus, forgive us our sins,
- save us from the fires of Hell.
- Lead all souls to Heaven,
- especially those who most need Your mercy.
- The fool says in his heart,
- “There is no God.”
- They act corruptly and practice injustice;
- there is none that does good.
- God looks out from the heavens
- upon the children of Adam,
- To see if there is a discerning person
- who is seeking God.
- All have gone astray;
- each one is altogether perverse.
- There is not one who does what is good, not even one.
- Do they not know better, those who do evil,
- who feed upon my people as they feed upon bread?
- Have they not called upon God?
- They are going to fear his name with great fear,
- though they had not feared it before.
- For God will scatter the bones
- of those encamped against you.
- They will surely be put to shame,
- for God has rejected them.
- Who will bring forth from Zion
- the salvation of Israel?
- When God reverses the captivity of his people
- Jacob will rejoice and Israel will be glad.
- God, do not be silent;
- God, do not be deaf or remain unmoved!
- See how your enemies rage;
- your foes proudly raise their heads.
- They conspire against your people,
- plot against those you protect.
- They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
- let Israel’s name be remembered no more!”
- They scheme with one mind,
- they have entered into a covenant against you:
- The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
- of Moab and the Hagrites,
- Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek,
- Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre.
- Assyria, too, in league with them,
- backs the descendants of Lot.
- Deal with them as with Midian;
- as with Sisera and Jabin at the wadi Kishon,
- Those destroyed at Endor,
- who became dung for the ground.
- Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
- all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
- Who made a plan together,
- “Let us take for ourselves the pastures of God.”
- My God, make them like tumbleweed,
- into chaff flying before the wind.
- As a fire raging through a forest,
- a flame setting mountains ablaze,
- Pursue them with your tempest;
- terrify them with your storm-wind.
- Cover their faces with shame,
- till they seek your name, LORD.
- Let them be ashamed and terrified forever;
- let them perish in disgrace.
- Let them know that your name is LORD,
- you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
- O God, whom I praise, do not be silent,
- for wicked and treacherous mouths attack me.
- They speak against me with lying tongues;
- with hateful words they surround me,
- attacking me without cause.
- In return for my love they slander me,
- even though I prayed for them.
- They repay me evil for good,
- hatred for my love.
- Appoint an evil one over him,
- an accuser to stand at his right hand,
- That he may be judged and found guilty,
- that his plea may be in vain.
- May his days be few;
- may another take his office.
- May his children be fatherless,
- his wife, a widow.
- May his children wander and beg,
- driven from their hovels.
- May the usurer snare all he owns,
- strangers plunder all he earns.
- May no one treat him with mercy
- or pity his fatherless children.
- May his posterity be destroyed,
- their name rooted out in the next generation.
- May his fathers’ guilt be mentioned to the LORD;
- his mother’s sin not rooted out.
- May their guilt be always before the LORD,
- till their memory is banished from the earth,
- For he did not remember to show mercy,
- but hounded the wretched poor
- and brought death to the brokenhearted.
- He loved cursing; may it come upon him;
- he hated blessing; may none come to him.
- May cursing clothe him like a robe;
- may it enter his belly like water,
- his bones like oil.
- May it be near as the clothes he wears,
- as the belt always around him.
- May this be the reward for my accusers from the LORD,
- for those speaking evil against me.
- But you, LORD, are my Lord,
- deal kindly with me for your name’s sake;
- in your great mercy rescue me.
- For I am poor and needy;
- my heart is pierced within me.
- Like a lengthening shadow I am gone,
- I am shaken off like the locust.
- My knees totter from fasting;
- my flesh has wasted away.
- I have become a mockery to them;
- when they see me, they shake their heads.
- Help me, LORD, my God;
- save me in your mercy.
- Make them know this is your hand,
- that you, LORD, have done this.
- Though they curse, may you bless;
- arise, shame them, that your servant may rejoice.
- Clothe my accusers with disgrace;
- make them wear their shame like a mantle.
- I will give fervent thanks to the LORD;
- before a crowd I will praise him.
- For he stands at the right hand of the poor
- to save him from those who pass judgment on him.