The Great Saint Michael the Archangel
by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
No adequate explanation of the Holy Angels is complete without reference to Saint Michael the Archangel. He joins Saints Gabriel and Raphael as the trio of Archangels specifically mentioned by name throughout the Church’s history, given their appearance in Sacred Scripture.
The “Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel” offers a fitting summary of who this celestial being is and the significant role which he plays in the Almighty’s creation.
Saint Michael the Archangel
An angel is similar to God in that he is a spirit; he differs from the Creator in that he is a created spirit while only God is the Uncreated Spirit. The name God gave to Michael means “who is like unto God.” Saint Michael belongs to the choir of angels called the Archangels, usually listed eighth of the nine choirs.
Defend us in battle
We readily acknowledge that a fierce war is waging—a terrible conflict which has continued unabated since the fall of the angels. Good and evil constantly do battle. Saint Michael is fervently implored for his powerful, fearless assistance against the considerable forces of the underworld.
By asking for his help, the Christian faithful recognize his longstanding position as protector of God’s holy people.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil
The devils are like the “good” angels: created spirits without bodies. But the devils are the fallen angels who disobeyed God rather than submit to His commands. Not only are the devils evil but they also want us to become evil. They delight in setting pitfalls for us. Saint Michael vanquishes the demons; he assists us in negotiating the inevitable hurdles which can trip us.
May God rebuke him, we humble pray
Already we know that God has defeated Satan. Jesus’ salvific Death and Resurrection was the death knell for Hades and its advocates. Still we are to pray that the Lord will rebuke him. Why? Because when we pray, we are summoned to state our intention, thereby aligning our wills with that of the Lord’s. We desire what God desires, namely, that Satan’s influence will cease over those who continually seek to become truer friends of the Master.
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host
The one who prays uses Saint Michael’s title. He has been granted special command among the angels. Furthermore, it is expected that he will do something. There is a tangible anticipation that this Archangel will act.
By the power of God
The prince of the Heavenly Host must rely on the strength of the Lord. Saint Michael possesses tremendous power because the Creator believes it appropriate that he has it. Saint Michael, too, bows under God’s mighty hand.
Cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits
Why must Satan and his minions be thrown into Hell if presently they are there? We long for the day when Satan will be tightly bound, never again able to tempt any one to sin. His domination will be forever at an end. The vast army of the demons will no more roam earth to inflict their damage on souls.
Who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls
This phrase precisely describes what the devils seek: the everlasting ruination of immortal souls. They waste no time in enticing men and women, boys and girls to forsake Jesus and His call to authentic holiness. Saint Michael is an antidote to the pernicious activities carried on by “Satan and all the evil spirits.” This Archangel has the authority from God to stop them.
This often-used word signals belief and acceptance. It underscores what we have now affirmed. Saint Michael indeed serves God and His children in a notable, lasting manner. The Church professes that this Archangel has been chosen by the Lord Himself to help usher in the reign of abiding peace which Christ came, died and rose to establish.
Disciples of Christ may learn much from Saint Michael the Archangel. He is a true Servant who surrenders to the divine directive. He is a warrior who willingly spars with the terrors of Hell. He is an example of sanctity who offers the faithful a model of love for God and zeal for souls.
With the scores of good angels, Saint Michael, the champion, protects and defends the Church Militant. The Church is blest by his presence. Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us!
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Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
Saint Michael the Archangel; Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel
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