Yesterday, Sept. 29th, was the Feast of St. Michael, the Archangel! How much we need his assistance in combating the devil in these days….in all the big things that trouble this world, but also in the little every day ways that he tries to get his licks in. St. Michael, the Archangel, pray for us!
The first fact we learn concerning this great Prince is that in the mighty combat which took place in Heaven, when the bad Angels fell away from their allegiance to God, Michael sounded his war cry: “Who is like to God,” and immediately, joined by the good Angels, he drove Satan and his legions from Heaven and plunged them into the depths of Hell.
Next, we hear his praises from no less an authority than his brother Angel, St. Gabriel, who speaking to the Prophet Daniel, says, “Michael, who is your Prince,” “Michael, who is a great Prince created for the children of your people,” and again, “Michael, who is one of the first among Princes.”
St. Thomas says of him, “Michael is the breath of the Redeemer’s spirit who will, at the end of the world, combat and destroy Antichrist, as he did Lucifer in the beginning.”
St. Michael was the protector and defender of God’s chosen people. He came with the Israelites from Egypt and accompanied them through the desert. He it was who gave them, from God, the Ten Commandments, and during the thousands of years that elapsed before the coming of Christ, he was their champion and defender.
Though express mention of him is made only a few times, yet owing to his office as their appointed friend and defender, we know that he never abandoned God’s people but took an important part in all that concerned them.
He is now the defender of the Catholic Church and of all the faithful, whom he defends against the constant assaults of the devil.
He is invoked in sickness and most especially at the hour of death, when his “all— powerful” help is so much needed, for then it is that Satan makes his last and fiercest attack on the Christian soul, seeking with craft and cunning, with fears and despair lo drag it down to Hell.
In the prayers said by the priest and people after Mass, there is a special and beautiful prayer to St. Michael imploring his help for the Church. It runs as follows: Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard 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, thrust down to Hell Satan and with him all the wicked spirits, who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
We should make it a sacred duty to join fervently in this important prayer.
In our morning and evening prayers we invoke St. Michael when saying the Confiteor, but we should try to do so with more devotion and confidence. Many do not even think of what they are saying.
St. Michael has been honored from the earliest times in many countries.
The Emperor Constantine, grateful for the victories gained over his enemies, which he attributed to the protection of St. Michael, built a magnificent church near Constantinople in honor of the Archangel which he called Michaelion.
It became a place of pilgrimage, and many sick and infirm were cured in it by the intercession of the Archangel.
Constantine’s successors erected no less than fifteen churches in Constantinople itself to St. Michael.
In Rome, churches were also built and dedicated to St. Michael as far back as 494 A.D. The Archangel appeared to the Bishop of Siponto, on Monte Gargano, in the Kingdom of Naples, where a beautiful church was dedicated lo him. This became a place of great devotion and attracted many pilgrims.
In France, he appeared on Mont St. Michel, where there still exists a famous sanctuary consecrated to the Archangel.
In Egypt, the Christians dedicated their food-giving river, the Nile, to St. Michael, and on the 12th of every month they held a special celebration in his honor, and this celebration was kept with marked solemnity in the month of June, when the river begins to rise.
When Germany was converted, the cult to the pagan god Woden was replaced by devotion to St. Michael, and as a result there are to be seen numerous chapels dedicated to the Archangel in the mountain districts of that country.
In England, the feast of Michaelmas used to be celebrated with great rejoicing, the favorite dish of the day being the roast goose. Now it is mainly known as a legal term, the day marking what is called in law, the Michaelmas term.
St. Michael has appeared at different times to those who needed his help and invoked his aid. A most notable example was when he assisted St. Joan of Arc in the extraordinary mission given her by God of aiding the French King to restore peace and prosperity to his kingdom and expel his enemies from its shores.
ST. MICHAEL AT THE HOUR OF DEATH
We read in The Book of Similitudes of St. Anselm that a religious of this monastery, on the point of death, was dreadfully assaulted by the devil, who reproached him at first because of the sins he had committed previous to his Baptism, for the monk had received this Sacrament when already advanced in years.
The poor man knew not how to reply and was very much troubled until St. Michael, who had come to his assistance, answered that all the sins he had committed before Baptism were remitted in that Sacrament.
The evil spirit then urged several sins of his committed after Baptism.
The Archangel replied that these had been washed away in the general confession he made before his religious profession, and that the dying man should trust in the divine mercy.
Satan at last opposed to him the many offenses and negligences in his life subsequent to religious profession.
As the good monk said nothing in defense, St. Michael declared that all his sins were forgiven him, because he had confessed them and satisfied for them by good works, especially by obedience, and that if anything remained it was expiated by his patience under the sufferings of a sickbed.
At these words the devil departed in confusion, and the good religious, with confident hope, meekly gave up his soul to God.
We all must die, and we all must be prepared for the fierce attacks of the devil at this dreadful hour. Hence every Christian should make sure of having St. Michael’s help at the hour of death. This we can do by being devoted to the great Archangel during our lives.
CHILDREN RAISED TO LIFE BY ST. MICHAEL
The King of Dacia, Mulhoares, was gravely ill and suffered all the more because he had no heir to his throne. His children had all died.
He was counseled to have recourse to St. Michael.
The King followed this sage advice, and some time after twins were born to his wife. Alas, a new trial awaited him. These children also died!
Full of lively faith, the King ordered the bodies of the children to be taken to the church and placed before the altar of St. Michael, and he and his people besought the great Archangel to come to their aid.
Lo, St. Michael appeared and spoke lo the King: “I am Michael, whom you and your people have invoked, and I have presented your petition to God who is pleased to restore life to your children. Behold them alive, and I and the other Angels will watch over them. God wishes, too, to cure you, but you must thank the Angel who is Prince of your kingdom. That you may love him, I will now show him to you.”
A most beautiful Angel then appeared, clothed in royal robes, with a crown of gold on his head. He blessed the King, who was instantly restored to health.
HOW TO HONOR ST. MICHAEL?
1st. By frequently repeating this short prayer: “Glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Heavenly Court, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”
2nd. By invoking his aid in sickness.
3rd. If we find it hard to conquer a temptation, or correct some fault, let us pray to St. Michael, who will assuredly help us to overcome the most violent temptation —and the most inveterate.
4th. By having a little picture of St. Michael in our prayer— book, saying each time we see it, “Glorious St. Michael, I love you.”
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St. Michael, St. Gabriel & St. Raphael
They 1. Combat Satan. 2. Escort the faithful to heaven at their hour of death. 3. Be a champion of all Christians & the Church itself. 4. Call men from life on Earth to their heavenly judgment.
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