Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel

The devotion to St. Michael the Archangel is a very old one. St. Michael, from the Hebrew "Who is like God?", is one of God's 'chief' angels, as revealed in the book of the prophet Daniel. St. Michael's name is a battle cry; both shield and weapon in the struggle, and an eternal trophy of victory.

St. Michael appears by name in the Scriptures four times:

1. Daniel 10:13: Gabriel says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel [or "prince" in the Douay-Rheims translation] of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."

2. Daniel 12: The Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says, "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."

3. Jude: "When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses...,"

4. Revelation 12:7: "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon."

The early Church fathers also believed and have passed down to us through Sacred Tradition that St. Michael, while not mentioned by name in these Scripture passages, guarded the entrance to the gate of Paradise, with his flaming sword, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24), and that he was the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22:22), and the very angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35).

Christian Tradition teaches us to call on St. Michael to:
--To fight against Satan.
--To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.
--To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of many orders of knights during the Middle Ages.
--To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment

O glorious prince St. Michael,
 chief and commander of the heavenly hosts,
 guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits,
servant in the house of the Divine King
and our admirable conductor,
 you who shine with excellence
and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, 

who turn to you with confidence
and enable us by your gracious protection
 to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Additional Reading on the Angels

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