St. Michael The Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.
The name Michael comes from the Hebrew MYKAL (or Micah), which means "Who is like God." Michael the Archangel, one of the seven archangels, led the "good angels" in the fight against Satan and his followers, and his name was the "war cry" of these "good angels."
He is also one of the three angels mentioned by name in the Scriptures, the others being St. Raphael and St. Gabriel. St. Michael is spoken of twice in the Old Testament, and twice in the New.The first reference occurs in the Book of Daniel (chapter x), where Michael comes to comfort Daniel after he has had a vision, and promises to be his helper in all things. In Daniel xii, Michael is called "the great prince who standeth for the children of Thy people." In these references Michael is represented as Israel's great support during the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity. Daniel, wise and holy leader that he was, wanted his people to understand that God had not forgotten them, and that, even though enslaved, they had a royal champion. In the New Testament (Jude ix), we are told that Michael disputed with the devil over the body of Moses; this episode is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. In the Apocalypse (chapter xii) we find the most dramatic reference to St. Michael. Here John recounts the great battle in Heaven, when the wicked angels under Lucifer revolt against God, and how Michael, leading the faithful angels, defeats the hosts of evil and drives them out. In this role he has been painted by many artists, and the poet Milton, in book vi of "Paradise Lost", recounts the famous struggle. Because of this victory, St. Michael is revered in Catholic tradition and liturgy as the protector of the Church, as once he was regarded as the protector of the Israelites. In the Eastern Church, as well as among many theologians in the West, St Michael is placed over all the angels, as prince of the Seraphim. He is the special patron of sick people, mariners, and grocers; in Asia Minor many curative springs were dedicated to him. His cult has also been popular in Egypt, Rome, France, and Germany. His emblems are a banner, a sword, a dragon, and scales. The name Michael is a variation of Micah, meaning in Hebrew, "Who is like God?" Saint Michael, Archangel. Scriptural Saint. Celebration of Feast Day is September 29. Taken from "Lives of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc. He is mentioned in scripture four times:
- Dan., x, 13 sqq., Gabriel says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel [D. V. prince] 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";
- (b), Dan., xii, 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."
- (c) In the Catholic Epistle of St. Jude: "When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses", etc. St. Jude alludes to an ancient Jewish tradition of a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses, an account of which is also found in the apocryphal book on the assumption of Moses (Origen, "De principiis", III, 2, 1). St. Michael concealed the tomb of Moses; Satan, however, by disclosing it, tried to seduce the Jewish people to the sin of hero-worship. St. Michael also guards the body of Eve, according to the "Revelation of Moses" ("Apocryphal Gospels", etc., ed. A.Walker, Edinburgh, p. 647).
- (d) Apocalypse, xii, 7, "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." St. John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. According to the Fathers there is often question of St. Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned. They say he was the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen., iii, 24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balsam (Numbers, xxii, 22 sqq), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (IV Kin gs, xix, 35), etc. Cf. P. Bonaventura da Sorrento ("Michael", Naples, 1892).
Christian tradition gives to St. Michael four offices:
- To fight against Satan.
- To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the devil, 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 the order of knights during the Middle Ages
- To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment