In our struggle with the powers of darkness

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Like his baptismal patron, Saint Joseph, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, seems, at times, to stand alone in the night. One has the impression that, as the Year of the Priesthood draws to a close, the forces of evil are trying desperately to discredit the Holy Father and to disfigure the face of the Church. Days of shame and darkness have come upon Our Lord's beloved priests in so many countries. Could this not be a sign that the attack on the priesthood, that appears to be spreading and growing, is, in fact, in its final stages?

Onslaught and Triumph

We are witnessing, I believe, a diabolical onslaught against the Bride of the Lamb, an attempt to destroy her by attacking the most wounded of her ministers in their carnal weaknesses. More than ever, we must pray Our Lord to dispel the powers of darkness with the radiance of His Eucharistic Face. "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His Face" (Ps 67:2). Our Lord Jesus Christ will undo the destruction wrought by the devil and his human allies, and He will cause His priests and His Spouse the Church to recover a glorious holiness that will confound His enemies and be the beginning of a new era of saints, of martyrs, and of prophets.


Could we not offer the Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph for the Joseph whom God has set over the household of His Church: Pope Benedict XVI? It is no coincidence that, in these days of battle against the powers of darkness, the Successor of Peter bears the name of Joseph, protector of the universal Church. The providential designs of God are often revealed in such details.

I recommend the Prayer to Saint Joseph that Pope Leo XIII promulgated with his Encyclical Quamquam pluries in 1889. It is perhaps more suitable today than when it was written one-hundred-twenty-one years ago. In many places it is customary to pray this prayer after the recitation of the Rosary.

To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials, and having asked the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently ask your patronage also. Through that sacred bond of charity which united you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the fatherly love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood, and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength.
O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God's Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.


There are so many sad stories that have happened to Priests in my Diocese in the "Year of the Priest", including our Bishop, that the other night I started to really reflect on it and it made me cry. I just don't understand. I do feel though that support for Priests is really necessary and "Spiritual Motherhood of Priests" is essential.

Thank you Father for inspiring us to pray this Novena in preparation for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and for that other Joseph, our Holy Father Benedict who 'seems, at times, to stand alone in the night.' Let him not stand alone.

I beg everyone reading this to join us, as I will beg everyone who reads my own blogs. Tomorrow, the Novena begins.

I agree with your writing Father. It is a time of great trial at the moment within the Church, but a glorious holiness will come. I will join in praying the Novena in preparation for the Solemnity of St. Joseph and for our Holy Father Pope Benedict.

Courage, dear brothers and sisters! Even if our Holy Father Pope Benedict were the only light in the darkness, that darkness cannot overcome that light nor can it diminish it. And in addition to our Holy Father there remain among the clergy and religious many brilliant lights burning with the glory of Heaven. Think for a moment of those lights and how the darkness can never overcome the Light of Christ all over this beautiful and troubled world. Father Mark is one of these great lights, and even though some of us may feel like a dimly burning wick, Christ promises never to put it out and, again, the darkness cannot diminish even a dimly burning wick.

Let us shine before the Lord with His Light, and let us do so in confidence. And everywhere we go let us leave the encouragement of the Holy Ghost with friend and stranger, priest and pauper, bishop and Pope!

O Christ our Light, the one true Eternal Flame, behold thy Bride the Church, surrounded and assaulted, infiltrated and distressed, and visit Her with the radiance of thy Holy Face that all darkness and every evil be cast out from Her good company of faithful people, devout religious and her anointed priests so that She be ready at thy soon-appearing with lamps alight and hearts raised up; for thy tender mercies' sake. Amen.

Thank you for your wise and comforting words about our Holy Father. He is being put through such trials at the moment that I am convinced Satan is behind all this. Now I've found the Novena, I'm going to pray it. And I've just found this blog, too! I shall read it every day from now on. Pope Benedict has been a huge influence on my spiritual life - we must keep him from harm.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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