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ST MICHAEL, ARCHANGEL – DEFENDER OF GOD’S PEOPLE FROM OF OLD

Both in the Old and the New Testament, the holy Archangel Michael is called the “guardian angel of the people of God”. He is also honoured as the “Herald of the General Judgment” and the “Guardian of Paradise”. It is his office to lead all the elect into the Kingdom of Eternal Glory.

Defender and leader of God’s people in Paradise

The world’s history is replete with instances of St Michael’s solicitude for the children of men during the time of their earthly pilgrimage. He began to fulfil his office as defender and leader of God’s people in the Garden of Paradise. St Ambrose says that God commissioned St Michael to lead Adam into Paradise, to explain to him the purpose of his creation, to guide him and to associate with him in visible form. After the fall of Adam and Eve, this same glorious Archangel stood guard at the gate of Paradise with flaming sword, “to keep the way of the tree of life” (Gen 3:24).

The Fathers of the Church tell us that even though in many instances the name of St Michael is not mentioned in Holy Scripture, when reference is made to the services of an angel, we may confidently believe that it was either St Michael himself who rendered assistance, or his angelic subjects, who did so at his command.

Important missions

They speculate that it may have been St Michael who warned Noe [Noah] of the coming flood, and that it was through St Michael that Abraham was named the father of the chosen people and received that wonderful promise which Holy Church has immortalised in her prayers for the dead: “May the holy standard-bearerMichael, introduce them into that holy light which thou didst promise of old to Abraham and his descendants.”

The Angel who appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Ex 3:2) was St Michael, according to the teaching of St Gregory Nazianzen. It was this mighty Angel who performed the wonders which took place at the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and through whom God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites on Mount Sinai. Likewise, the Angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (4 [2] Kings 19:35) was the holy Archangel Michael.

After the death of Moses, according to an ancient Jewish tradition to which St Jude refers to in his Epistle (Jude 1:9), St Michael concealed the tomb of Moses from the people, and also from Satan, who wished to disclose it to the Israelites to seduce them thereby to the sin of false worship.

God revealed to St Michael the designs of His justice and mercy regarding His chosen people. Of this the prophecies of Daniel and Zacharias bear witness. Finally, it was this great celestial prince who aided the Israelites and rendered the army of Judas Macchabeus victorious over their enemies.

(Even to this day the Jews invoke the holy Archangel Michael as the principal defender of the Synagogue and their protector against enemies. On the Feast of the Atonement they conclude their prayers with this beautiful invocation: “Michael, Prince of Mercy, pray for Israel, that it may reign in Heaven, in that light which streams forth from the face of the King who sits upon the throne of mercy.”)

Protector of the Church

Just as the chosen people of the Old Law were marvellously protected by St Michael, so we may believe that this same prince of Heaven protects the Church of God even more wonderfully. Under the New Law, as under the Old, St Michael is the “Vicar of the Most High and the Prince of His people,” ever prepared to render assistance. The Fathers of the Church are of one mind in teaching that St Michael is the guardian angel and the protector of the Catholic Church.

Time and again, in centuries past, St Michael came to the rescue when dreadful wars and persecutions threatened to destroy Christianity. He it was who, at the command of Mary, Queen of Angels, came to the assistance of Constantine the Great in the fourth century and helped his forces to gain a brilliant victory over the pagan Emperor Maxentius. The Archangel himself revealed his identity in this instance. Appearing to Constantine after the completion of a beautiful church, which the latter had erected in his honour in gratitude, he said: “I am Michael, the chief of the angelic legions of the Lord of hosts, the protector of the Christian religion, who while you were battling against godless tyrants, placed the weapons in your hands.” This famous edifice, generally known as the Michaelion, has been the scene of many miracles wrought through the great Archangel.

Many miracles

Later, St Michael proved himself a powerful protector against invasion. The Greek Emperor Justinian erected six churches in his honour, in grateful recognition of his assistance. St Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, who in the fifteenth century saved France, ascribed her vocation and her victories to St Michael. Three times he appeared to her and informed her that she was called to deliver her country. In the sixteenth century, when it seemed that the Turks (Muslims fighting under the Turkish sultan) would conquer all Europe, St Michael at the command of the Blessed Virgin again championed the cause of the Christian (Catholic) Faith, and a glorious victory was gained over the infidels at the Battle of Lepanto.

Thus has St Michael proved himself a valiant warrior for the honour of God, both in Heaven and on earth. And he still wages incessant war with the archfiend Satan in the great Kingdom of God on earth, the Church.

Victorious St Michael

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was reputed to have had visions of the past and future combats of the Church. Repeatedly she saw St Michael, in the form of a warrior, standing above the Church, replacing his bloodstained sword in its scabbard as a sign of victory. She was also shown how, in the present-day struggles of the Church, St Michael would bring about a most glorious victory. This thought should be consoling to all faithful Christians who view with alarm the many shafts of persecution now being directed against the Church.

Pope Leo XIII, realising by divine enlightenment the present and future struggles of the Church against the powers of Hell, felt convinced that through the intervention of St Michael, Hell would be conquered and the Church restored to peace and liberty. He therefore composed a prayer in honour of this warrior Archangel and ordered it to be recited daily after low Mass in all the churches throughout the Christian world.

It is said that one day, having celebrated the Holy Sacrifice, the aged Pontiff was in conference with the Cardinals. Suddenly, he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side feared that he had already expired, for they could find no trace of his pulse. However, after a short interval the Holy Father rallied and, opening his eyes, exclaimed with great emotion: “Oh, what a horrible picture I was permitted to see!” He had been shown in spirit the tremendous activities of the evil spirits and their ravings against the Church. But in the midst of this vision of horror, he had also beheld consoling visions of the glorious Archangel Michael, who had appeared and cast Satan and his legions back into the abyss of Hell. Soon afterwards, he composed the well-known prayer: “St Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and the snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray…”

The Church has special need of St Michael’s powerful protection in our times. On all sides she is assailed by strong and bitter enemies. In one country after another, religious persecution rises to an ever higher pitch of hatred and insolence. The terrible crimes which have been committed in recent times, and are still being committed against the Church, both in her sanctuaries and against her members, surely are instigated by the devil. No human mind could be base enough to conceive and put them into execution.

The gates of Hell shall never prevail

We know that the gates of Hell shall never prevail against the Church, for our Lord has promised to be with her till the End of Time, but we must do our part in defending her cause. God might have cast the rebel down into Hell by a single act of His Will, but he chose rather to send against them His armies of loyal spirits under the leadership of the great St Michael. So too, in the present critical times, He could confound the enemies of the Church by merely willing to do so. But He wills, rather, that we should cooperate in her defence under the leadership of the Great Captain of the heavenly hosts.

– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield, Fifth Edition, 1962

 

 

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WHY IS ST MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL CALLED “PRINCE OF THE HEAVENLY HOST”?

Theologians are of the opinion that St Michael surpasses in glory and power all other angels in Heaven and possesses in the highest and most perfect degree the zeal and the love peculiar to the highest Seraphim.

The title “Archangel” does not, in accord with the words of St Peter and St Jude Thaddeus, signify that St Michael belongs to the choir of angels designated by that name, but that he is an angel of superior rank. The Church also invokes him as the prince of the angels, who has supreme command over all the heavenly hierarchies.

St Michael has supreme command over all the heavenly hierarchies

This position of honour was merited by St Michael in the battle which he waged against Lucifer and the rebellious angels before the creation of the world. When God created the angels as magnificent spirits of light and love, which in countless hosts surround His heavenly throne, He bestowed upon them most eminent gifts of nature and grace.

But before admitting them to the unveiled vision of His glory in Heaven, He placed them under probation, just as later He subjected mankind to a trial of obedience in the persons of Adam and Eve.

The nature of the trial is not known with certainty. Learned and saintly theologians hold that the Heavenly Father revealed to the angels the future Incarnation of His Divine Son, whom they were to adore in His Sacred Humanity. At the same time He revealed to them the surpassing dignity and glory of Mary, whom, as the Mother of God, they were to venerate as their Queen.

The angels were subjected to a trial

Lucifer, one of the most glorious and exalted princes of the heavenly court, dazzled by the splendour of his own gifts, rebelled at the thought that human nature should be preferred to his own angelic nature. He would not acknowledge that a woman, inferior to him in nature, should at some future time be made his Queen, and that the seed of that woman should be preferred to himself for the honour of the hypostatic union. Desiring for himself the prerogatives of the God-Man, he raised his great battle-cry of rebellion: “I will be like the Most High!” (Is 14:14).

Who is like unto God?

Some have held that, in their pride, a third of the angels took up Lucifer’s rebellious cry. At the same instant another great Archangel, equal in beauty and grace to the proud Lucifer, prostrated himself before the throne of God. With an act of profound adoration, he opposed the cry of the rebellious angels with his own battle-cry of love and loyalty: “Mi-cha-el” – “Who is like unto God?”

The fearlessness and fidelity of this mighty champion roused the faithful angels, who rallied to his standard, repeating with one accord: “Who is like unto God?”

The tremendous battle

Then followed that tremendous battle between the good and the bad angels which St John describes in the Apocalypse:

And there was a great battle in Heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world (Apoc. 12:7:9).

Thus, St Michael and his faithful followers won a glorious victory. With the swiftness of lightning, Lucifer and his companions were transformed into hideous demons and cast into the abyss of eternal torment and darkness, which God created for them.

The angels most willingly recognise St Michael’s supremacy

In reward for his zeal and fidelity, the holy Archangel Michael was made prince and commander-in-chief of all the heavenly legions. The angels most willingly and gratefully recognise his supremacy, for after God, they owe to him their perseverance in grace and their eternal happiness.

With loving submission they receive from him their various offices. They are attentive to his slightest wish, seeing in his commands and regulations the will of God, the sovereign Lord and King of all. Thus St Michael receives highest honour among the angels in the heavenly court.

St Michael was the first to announce the Saviour to the angelic choirs

On our part, also, he deserves highest honour among the angels. Since he was the first to recognise and adore the Word-made-flesh, and the first to be illumined by His grace, he is the “first Christian”. He is also the “first Apostle,” because he was the first to announce the Saviour to the angelic choirs. He is the “first lieutenant” of Jesus Christ, for he was the first to lead the faithful servants of God to victory against the enemy.

– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield, Fifth Edition, 1962

 

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GOSSIP ALERT: THESE TWO WORDS SUCK CHARACTER AND HONOUR

Ten commandments – love of neighbour – false witness against neighbour 

THE DEMONS OF THE FIRESIDE (HOW UNREST AND STRIVE IS CAUSED AT HOME BY TWO LITTLE WORDS)

“They say”

Why these two little words, under so terrible a title – “the demons of the fireside?”

Does an evil spirit conceal himself beneath these insignificant letters?

The Abbé Allemand, a servant of God well experienced in the preservation of youth, used to say to young men when going out in the evening: “Be on your guard; there is a demon hidden under every leaf of the trees.” – These are words, too, in which a demon really seems to hide, judge from all evil they effect under the semblance of good-nature.

Hear how the two which we have written above have been scourged by the pen of an intelligent woman of the world:

There are two words so short that they are frequently uttered before reflection has time to repress them.

So light that they flutter from mouth to mouth, without our even knowing from whose lips they originally came.

So powerful that they justify slander, authorise calumny, reassure the most timid consciences, and spread about, without contradiction, the gossip which destroys reputations and causes the ruin and despair of families.

So wicked that they rob youth of its joys, old age of its dignity and repose, loving hearts of their pure confidence, and nearly every one of some part of his happiness.

Guard your homes

So loved that they find access to every house. No reunion is without them; they are found, indeed, in places from which it would seem that their wickedness should exclude them.

So sprightly that they lend animation to conversation, brighten up the most obtuse minds, furnish subjects of interminable gossip to the most taciturn persons.

They are called: “They say.”

“They say…”

“They say…” serves as a mask to a skeleton in the household, or to one of those vampires which formerly were said to come in the night, troubling the sleep and sucking the blood of their victims.

It is not blood that the monster, hidden under the two words, “they say,” sucks; it is character and honour.

Could we not exorcise this terrible and indefatigable demon of the fireside? – We could, if lies, malice, hatred, and the petty meannesses of vanity were replaced in the human heart by truth, justice, kindness, and love of our neighbour…

But, alas! this happy time will never come, and to the end of the world the demon of slander and calumny will reign, concealed under the perfidious mask, formed by the words, “they say.”

Tips on how to make this demon flee

What we must do is never harbour this demon.

Come together, honest, loyal hearts, and resolve:

  • Never to utter the hypocritical words, “they say,” replete, as they most likely are, with the dishonour of a family.
  • To stop, from the very first, the person who pronounces them, asking simply: Who is this mysterious personage, whom you call “They”?
  • Never to believe what reaches you through this messenger, “They say…”, whose profession is to lie, but who secretly chuckles over the credulous dupes of his falsehoods.

-From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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MILLIONS OF EVIL SPIRITS ROAM ABOUT THE WORLD AND EXERCISE TREMENDOUS INFLUENCE OVER WORLD EVENTS

St Michael, Archangel, Helper and Defender of Christians

“Besides the protection which the glorious Archangel Michael extends to the Church at large, he is also the protector of every individual Christian and of all Christian nations . How fortunate we are in having so powerful an advocate! Surely, never so urgently as in the present time have Catholics needed St Michael’s help to remain steadfast in their Faith. Unbelief has carried its insolence to the very limit and boldly proclaims that there is no God . Blasphemy against Jesus Christ, against His mysteries and His doctrines has increased in the most frightful manner. It is our duty to be faithful Catholics, to confess our Faith openly and energetically and to preserve a glowing, invincible love for Jesus Christ.

When Satan rises to seduce us…

St Michael is the conqueror of Satan . Under his leadership, let us unfurl everywhere the banner of the Catholic Faith and have no fear of godlessness . In a thousand secret ways, Satan plots and wars against God and tries to usurp His throne. Let us keep the kingdom of our heart firmly closed against him, that he may never reign therein by sin. When the spirit of darkness incites us to thoughts of pride or rebellion, let us answer him with St Michael: “Who is like unto God? ” Who am I – a creature of dust and ashes, the fleeting phantom of an hour – in comparison to God?

When Satan tries to seduce us to commit this or that sin; when in alluring pictures he presents to us the pleasures and attractions of this world; when he promises us honours, riches, happiness , on condition that we break a Commandment , omit a good work, or commit an evil deed; when he tempts us to give way to murmuring and impatience and to find fault with the inscrutable ways of Divine Providence; when the siren song of sinful pleasures sounds in our ears, filling our hearts with unholy longings and crowding our imagination with forbidden sights and scenes; then let us ever oppose the tempter with the same energetic words: ‘Who is like unto God?’

Our whole life is a continuous temptation

‘Our whole life,’ says St Bernard, ‘is a continuous temptation.’ He drew this truth from Holy Scripture. We have to battle against foes who are mighty in power, cruel in their vengefulness, fearsome in their craftiness, countless in their number, tireless in their persecutions. There are spirits who deal blows without being seen , who intrude everywhere, who see everything that we do, while remaining invisible to us. And they battle with weak persons who wander in darkness, on slippery paths, surrounded by frightful abysses . With furious rage these many enemies have sworn to avenge themselves upon us, because God has called us to occupy the thrones left vacant by them. They are bent upon the eternal ruin of our souls.

The number of the demons is incredible. St Anthony of the Desert (251-356) said repeatedly that millions of evil spirits were roaming about the world. And the influence which these evil spirits exercise over world events is tremendous. Yet we need not despair, because St Michael is a defender more powerful by far than the spirits of darkness. In the prayer of the Church we daily ask him to ‘cast into Hell Satan and the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.’

Prayer of exorcism to St Michael

Viewing the world situation in the spirit of faith, we cannot deny that the great evils which now afflict the world will never be amended without prayer and penance. Yet even Catholics have lost sight of this truth. They pray for the cure of the sick, for success in their undertakings and for many other personal intentions – but not enough, or not at all, for the cessation of the prevailing moral evils which mean triumph for Satan and attack on the Church and ruin for souls. The Prayer to St Michael deserves to be taken to the hearts of all Catholics and recited by them frequently, and even daily. It is a prayer particularly applicable to our times and to all Christendom.”

– From “Neath St. Michael’s Shield” (links added afterwards)

 

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HELP! – DISGUSTING THOUGHTS DURING PRAYER – ARE THEY CAUSED BY THE DEVIL?

Question: Sometimes when I pray, I get really bad, even disgusting thoughts… I am not sure whether I should mention this in Confession.

Answer: “You are not alone in this problem: even some of the saints have spoken of it. Such thoughts are a particular kind of involuntary and distressing distraction in prayer. Obviously you don’t intend to have such thoughts and so you are not committing a sin, but if you want to, you can talk about the matter in Confession, though without going into details about what exactly the thoughts are. Your confessor will probably have heard of this phenomenon before and will help to reassure you.

More than normally open to distracting thoughts

When we pray we are more than normally open to distracting thoughts of all kinds. These sometimes arise from, or are consequences of, our experiences. If you have committed sins of unchastity in the past, you can renew your sorrow for those sins but without dwelling on them. We also believe in the Devil: his petty and nasty character may be responsible for the attempt to soil your prayer and to dishearten you. Therefore it is also a good idea to pray to St Michael and your holy Guardian Angel for protection.

More positively, turn away gently and peacefully from your thoughts that have disturbed you, and take the opportunity to dwell with a renewed determination on what is holy. One way to do this is to take some concrete scene, perhaps one of the mysteries of the rosary or one of the Stations of the Cross , and imagine yourself there, speak to our Lord from your heart, and ask Him for the particular graces that you need today.

Focusing on the words of the Mass or on a traditional prayer can also help. Most of all, do not be unduly disturbed and do not be tempted to give up on your prayer. It may well be that when you have found prayer difficult and a struggle; it is precisely then that Our Lord brings good out of evil, rewarding you with a deeper union with Him.”

– This article by Fr Tim Finigan was published in the Catholic Herald newspaper, issue 11 2014. [The inserted links to well-known traditional catholic devotions and prayers referred to in the above text have been added afterwards]. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk [external link]

 

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE DEVIL IS NOT TOSSING FLOWERS AT US, BUT FLAMING ARROWS

Christian life is a daily battle against the Devil

“Christian life is a constant battle against the Devil, who really exists and is not the stuff of legend, Pope Francis said in a homily last week.

The battle is not easy, because the Evil One’s traps and temptations are many, and ‘the Devil is not tossing flowers at us’, but ‘flaming arrows’ aimed to kill, the Pope said at a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

There are three ‘enemies of Christian life’, Pope Francis said: ‘The Devil, the world and the flesh’, in other words, the carnal passions that are ‘the wounds of Original Sin’.

‘But this generation, and many others, made people think that the Devil was a myth, a character, an idea, the concept of evil,’ the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio.

‘The Devil exists and we have to fight against him. Paul says so – I’m not the one saying it. The word of God says it,’ the Pope added, referring to the day’s reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (6:10-20), which calls on believers to ‘stand firm against the tactics of the Devil’.

Even believers ‘are not too convinced’ the Devil exists, he said, or else ‘we are a bit lazy in the fight and we let ourselves be led by our passions, by temptations. It’s because we are sinners – all of us… However, do not be discouraged. [Have] courage and strength because the Lord is with us’ and supplies all we need for battle, the Pope said.

Because the Devil is ‘the father of lies, the father of deception’, Christians must arm themselves with the ‘armour of God – the truth’.

Earlier in the week hundreds of exorcists gathered in Rome for a convention organised by the International Association of Exorcists. In a message Francis said their work showed the Church’s care for ‘those who suffer because of the work of the Devil’.”

– This article was published in the Catholic Herald newspaper, issue November 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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IS IT NOT UTTER FOLLY NOT TO WISH TO TASTE EVEN IN THIS LIFE THE JOYS OF HEAVEN?

By St John Vianney

Our great enemy

“Sin is the executioner of the good God, and the assassin of our souls. Sin is it, which snatches us from heaven to cast us into hell. And yet we love it! What folly! If we reflected well upon it, we should have such horror of sin that we would not commit it.

O my children, how ungrateful we are! God wishes us to be happy, and we will not! We turn from Him and give ourselves to the demon! We fly from our friend and seek the executioner!

We commit sin; we bury ourselves in the more, and once caught there we cannot rise. If it was a question of our worldly fortune, we should contrive to escape from the difficulty; but as it concerns only our soul, we stay there.

I am going to the same place as you, to be crucified anew

What has God done to us, then, that we afflict Him thus, even crucifying Him again in a sense – Him, Who has redeemed us from hell? If all sinners, when betaking ourselves to their guilty pleasures, met Our Lord on the way as Saint Peter did, and if He said to them: ‘I am going to the same place as you, to be crucial died there anew’ – perhaps that would make them reflect a little.

Oh! how insensate we are! We employ in damning ourselves the time which God has given us to save our souls! We make war on Him with the instruments He has given us for His service!

Is it not utter folly to earn hell, by allying ourselves with the devil, in preference to tasting even in this life the joys of heaven, by uniting ourselves to God in love? It is impossible to fully comprehend such madness, or to bewail it sufficiently.”

– St John Vianney

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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