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But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send Him to you.

John 16:6-7

Monday, February 08, 2010

Blessed Michael the Archangel

 
Sancte Michael ora pro nobisThe great guardian angel of the Church, St. Michael is the second saint mentioned in the Ordinary of the Mass (in the Confiteor). His name in Hebrew means "Who is like God?", the reply and war-cry of the good angels to Satan, who rebelled against God. St. John in his Apocalypse, chapter 12, recounts that St. Michael lead the good angels in battle against the devil and his followers and drove them from heaven.

In Daniel, chapter 12, Michael is called "the great prince who standeth for the children of Thy people." In chapter 10, another angel (probably St. Gabriel) says that St. Michael contends for Israel. He may have also appeared to Joshua before the fall of Jericho.

St. Michael is revered in both the Old and New Testament as the protector of the people of God. Wikipedia lists rabbinic traditions concerning St. Michael, including that he taught Moses, and disputed with the devil over the soul of Moses. Perhaps this relates to a statement in the Letter of St. Jude that St. Michael disputed with the devil about the body of Moses.

Both Christian and mystical Jewish tradition depicts St. Michael assisting the souls of the pious in their entry into the heavenly Jerusalem. He is sometimes depicted carrying a set of scales, because he escorts souls to judgment. For the same reason he is also (more rarely) depicted holding the book of life, or next to a body, holding a baby (the soul newly born to the next life).

Even more than as a patron in military conflicts, in the early Church, especially in Asia Minor, St. Michael was invoked as a healer. Curative springs were dedicated to him -- I wonder whether he was considered the angel mentioned in John 5:4?

So he is the special patron of sick people; also of policemen and paratroopers. Someone with a sense of humor decided that since he is depicted with a a set of scales, he should be the patron of grocers. He is the patron of various nations, cities and shrines. From being the patron of a sea-side shrine, he became the patron of mariners.

It might seem that all the prayers from all the people devoted to him would be too much for any creature to handle, but St. Michael is one of the bodiless Powers of Heaven, dwelling with God, not limited by time as we would be here on Earth. "With loving solicitude and princely bearing," he intercedes for us, and with our guardian angels at the end of our days, "he presents us to the Light Eternal and introduces us into the House of God's glory." [adopted from Dom Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Volume VIII]

Charity should flow in two directions. Here is a parish dedicated to St. Michael. Here is a lay Catholic organization dedicated to St. Michael. Various saints in their earthly life were devoted to St. Michael, including St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and St. Joan of Arc.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St. Michael

Pope Leo XIII approved this prayer to St. Michael in 1888. Some Catholics believe that this is the original version of the prayer to St. Michael said after low Masses, but this belief appears to be erroneous. Pope Leo mandated that the shorter, more familiar prayer be said after Masses in 1886. This prayer was composed for use outside of Mass:

O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan

Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.

These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.

Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Saint Raphael is also associated with healing and is often thought to be the angel of the pool of Bethsaida.

4/16/2011 04:06:00 PM  

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