St Michael, Archangel
Michael, that high lord who is guardian of thy race.
1 In tempore autem illo consurget Michaël princeps magnus, qui stat pro filiis populi tui : et veniet tempus quale non fuit ab eo ex quo gentes esse cœperunt usque ad tempus illud. Et in tempore illo salvabitur populus tuus, omnis qui inventus fuerit scriptus in libro.
Judas Thaddeus repeats the legend of his strife with the devil for the body of Moses.
In the Apocalypse we are told that
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon… and flung him down to earth
7 Et factum est prælium magnum in cælo : Michaël et angeli ejus præliabantur cum dracone, et draco pugnabat, et angeli ejus: 8 et non valuerunt, neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in cælo. 9 Et projectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui vocatur diabolus, et Satanas, qui seducit universum orbem : et projectus est in terram, et angeli ejus cum illo missi sunt.
Who is like God?
Love gives its direction to the will, enlightened by the understanding. The angels, those ‘flames of fire’ as the Psalmist calls them, are burning with love.
True, sincere love is the song which we must know if we would join the choir of angels in the kingdom of God.
The Church has an especial devotion to St Michael. Its origin, doubtless is in the Bible, but it has much increased in the course of the ages; it has been, so to speak, christened. From protector of the Jewish race, he has become protector of the new people of God, the Church. As one of the seven who stand before God’s Face, he also stands and watches by the Blessed Eucharist, and after their death leads the souls of the faithful up to the throne of God.
Protector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was considered as the Chief of the Christian armies in the wars against the Mahometans in the Ⅴth Century, and against the Turks in the ⅩⅤth. Louis Ⅸ, the Saint, did all
by my Lord St Michael
and St Joan of Arc was always lead by him.
He has his place in literature; Roland was taken to heaven by him; Vondel gives Michel’s portrait in his ‘Lucifer’. His statue stands in many towns which have chosen him for their patron, and he has inspired the artists of every century. What gives him such an attraction?
The Psalmist, speaking of man, says
Thou hast placed him only a little below the angels
We know the angels, those richly endowed and highly privileged beings, are fare above us. The angel’s knowledge is intuitive: he does not need the medium of reason; he was created with a strong will, and is confirmed in grace. His faculties are all in order and under control, making of him a unit of the highest perfection.
That mighty being gave itself freely and once for all to God; his choice was absolute, making him for ever
free to God,
and therefore perfectly adapted to his service. None but the Queen of angels, whose being is yet greater and richer in grace, can surpass their praise and their service.
They are a mighty host, strong powers, flames of fire,
Bless the Lord, all you angels of his; angels of sovereign strength, that carry out his commandment… bless the Lord, all you hosts of his, the servants that perform his Will.
Psalm 102.20, 21
It is not difficult to see why St Michael is so beloved. No other angel has been allowed to show us his virtues and qualities so clearly. No other has proved to us so often and so distinctly the inexorable nature of his choice, none has defended it more unceasingly.
Today’s Collect says
God, who ordainest the service of angels and men in a wonderful order, be pleased to grant that our life on earth may be guarded by those who stand always ready to serve thee in heaven.
Deus, qui, miro órdine, Angelórum ministéria hominúmque dispénsas: concéde propítius; ut, a quibus tibi ministrántibus in cælo semper assístitur, ab his in terra vita nostra muniátur. Per Dóminum.
Is it really he who called God’s wrath down upon the fallen angels? Was he then, in the abyss of time, already God’s well-beloved?
Is the last day really his day? Is he to have the honour of bringing all souls to the foot of God’s throne? Is he the trusted servant, the great general who will bring the last standard, taken from the enemy, to his king?
For the Christian folk, he is the ideal of the great military leader. All who love the Church love the protector of God’s kingdom here on earth, so penetrated is he by the will of the Lord of the angels.
We in our weakness claim his help in our fight with the devil. Michael and his angels, so full of God’s own power are actual and invincible forces, infinitely greater than those of hell. In our day, the Church, more than ever, needs is protection against her enemies.
Holy Michael, Archangel, protect us in the day of battle, and also on the day of judgement, that we may be saved from eternal loss!
from With the Church: Meditations on the Missal and the Breviary
edited by Father Mathias Goosens OFM
published 1962, cum approbatione ecclesiatica