Hymns of protection from the adversary
  • So I decided I wanted to find a hymn talking about Christ crushing the serpent's head for Easter.

    And I didn't have much luck. Maybe I should have asked here first, I'll bet some of you guys might have had a half a dozen suggestions off the top of your heads, but regardless...

    I said to myself: "Maybe I can find a poem and just set it to a tune with the right meter."

    So I found this work by Rhys (Rees) Prichard called "The Welshman's Candle." with a poem called: A Prayer againſt the Temptations, Aſſaults of the Devil (starts page 152).

    I found an easier to read version here.

    So I decided to put a few verses of it to a Welsh hymn tune and see how it came out. First I tried Ffigysbren. The meter fit just fine, but the tune didn't really fit the tone of the verses I selected. Then I tried Erfyniad. That one worked really well with the verses I chose, though it would be easier for a choir to sing than a congregation.

    Then I started thinking. I don't remember ever singing hymns of protection like this. And this is the era where we may need it most.

    I remember, when there was that big hoopla about the black mass that was going to take place in Oklahoma City thinking to myself (as soon as the consecrated Host was returned): "So what. A bunch of teenagers dress in black, wear "Saint Peter's Cross earrings, listen to Mercӱful Fate on their iPods and attempt to say mass backwards while under the influence of whatever they're under the influence of. Big Deal."

    But then my Bishop (Zubik) asked us to say Saint Michael's prayer daily with the Diocese of Tulsa, (which I dutifully began doing) and I began to wonder if it might be a big deal.

    Then my priest quoted Bishop Slattery's comments describing the black mass as obscene during the announcements at my parish.

    And I really began to change my mind...

    ...And I'm beginning to wonder if maybe hymns and prayers like these may be more important than our (OK my) modern mind(s) realize.

    The church is under direct attack from the adversary and we blame it on stuff like culture.

    I mean, like I said, I don't remember ever singing hymns of protection like this. Sometimes there are similar prayers in Divine Office (which I do using my Android™® device) but really I don't remember doing anything similar with any of my parishes.

    Maybe it's a good time to re-introduce these types of prayers and hymns. Or are they already common and I just haven't seen them?
  • I just did a quick search through all of my hymnals and I couldn't find any type of hymn of protection against the enemy. When I searched online, the only thing I could find that would somewhat fit is "Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem": http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/y/y003.html

    The second stanza says,

    For Judah's Lion bursts his chains,
    crushing the serpent's head;
    and cries aloud through death's domains
    to wake the imprisoned dead.

    I also found an akathist hymn to St. Michael the Archangel, but that's probably not what you're looking for if you want to do it for Easter. The words are here: http://cs-people.bu.edu/butta1/akathistarchangelmichael.htm
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  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,014
    Not for your specific need, but if one is willing to sing the masterwork of a heretic schismatic, Ein feste Burg arguably qualifies as such a hymn.
  • bonniebede
    Posts: 756
    the lorica
    in particular the verse

    I summon today
    All these powers between me and those evils,
    Against every cruel and merciless power
    that may oppose my body and soul,
    Against incantations of false prophets,
    Against black laws of pagandom,
    Against false laws of heretics,
    Against craft of idolatry,
    Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
    Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;
    Christ to shield me today
    Against poison, against burning,
    Against drowning, against wounding,
    So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

    the Lorica (St Patricks breastplate) has been set to several tunes, though most do not use all the words. We have used this prayer as a prayer of protection before doing various types of ministry which needed that kind of special protection.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,532
    I have set three well known exorcism prayers to music:

    The Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel, the exorcism prayer of St. Benedict and prayer to the BVM called August Queen of Heaven.

    The last one is most little known, but I chanted those prayers every day for a couple of years straight all in a row.

    Here is the last one.

    August Queen of Heaven!
    Sovereign Mistress of the angels!
    Thou who from the beginning
    hast received from God
    the power and mission to crush the head of Satan,
    we humbly beseech thee
    to send thy holy Legions,
    that, under thy command
    and by thy power,
    they may pursue the evil spirits,
    encounter them on every side,
    resist their bold attacks
    and drive them hence into the abyss of eternal woe.


    I will look them up and see if I have them on my computer.
  • I did find a hymn that reads like what I originally was looking for for Easter,
    So I decided I wanted to find a hymn talking about Christ crushing the serpent's head for Easter

    Sing, O heavens, O earth, rejoice, but I don't like the tune.

    I may set the lyrics to Sonne der Gerechtigkeit and see how it turns out.

    I still wonder if there is better out there for Easter.

    All the musings about hymns of protection came later, after I set some of Rhys Prichard's poem to Erfyniad, which came out looking like this:

    Thou hast, O Christ! the dreadful dragon bound,
    Thou both his thighs didst with thy chain surround,
    Thou didst despoil him of his boasted arms,
    Thou hast preserv'd our souls from all alarms.

    Let not the serpent, our frail souls beguile,
    Let not the dragon, thy weak servants foil,
    Let not the lion, thy elect undo,
    Let not the fiend, thy faithful sons subdue.

    Wise is the serpent, we, alas! but dull,
    The dragon too, is of devices full:
    If therefore thou shalt not thine aid afford,
    The fiend will steal thy ransom'd flock, O Lord!

    Make us all wise, to see each wily snare,
    Wary, that we may of his nets beware,
    Strong, to resist the efforts, he may use,
    And cautious - all his efforts to refuse.

    With favour on thy servants, Lord! look down,
    Assist thy brethren to obtain the crown,
    And all, who fight beneath thy banner, aid,
    To bear their cross, and crush the serpent's head.

    @Francis, If you can find them in the bowels of your machine, that would be great!
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,444
    It doesn't mention the serpent explicitly, but the Orthodox/Byzantine Easter liturgy includes:

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    Trampling down death by death,
    And upon those in the tombs
    Bestowing life!.

    There are many, many settings.

    Here's one in Greek.
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  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 377
    Here in the UK Monsignor Ronald Knox's translation of 'Finita iam sunt proelia' is popular:
    Battle is o'er, hell's armies flee,
    raise we the cry of victory.....
    sung to a very rousing tune called SURREXIT
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  • Abide With Me

    1 Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
    the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
    2 Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
    earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
    Change and decay in all around I see.
    O thou who changest not, abide with me.
    3 I need thy presence every passing hour.
    What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
    Who like thyself my guide and strength can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
    4 I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless,
    ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
    Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
    I triumph still, if thou abide with me.
    5 Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes.
    Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
    Heaven's morning breaks and earth's vain shadows flee;
    in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

    Scripture References
    Job 14:1 · Malachi 3:6
    Thematically related:
    st. 1 = Psalm 27:9 · Luke 24:29
    st. 2 = Psalm 102:26-27 · James 1:17
    st. 3 = Romans 16:20
    st. 4 = Psalm 27:1 · 1 Corinthians 15:55
    st. 5 = 2 Peter 1:19
    Further Reflections on Scripture References
    The text was inspired by Luke 24:29, in which the two travelers to Emmaus ask Jesus to "stay with us, for it is nearly evening." But "Abide with Me" is not a hymn for the evening of a day; instead evening is a metaphor for the close of life, a transition from life's "little day" (st. 2) to "Heaven's morning" (st. 5), which Lyte himself was quickly I approaching. The text is a prayer for God's abiding care when friends fail (st. 1), when everything seems to change and decay (st. 2), when the devil attacks (st. 3), when death approaches (st. 4), and when we pass from this life to heaven's glory (st. 5).

    Psalter Hymnal Handbook

    Though inspired by Luke 24:29, Lyte’s hymn develops “evening” as an extended metaphor for the close of life.
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