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Tag Archives: Old Testament

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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TODAY’S BIBLE READING I (ISAIAH 25:6-10)

(28. Sunday in Ordinary Time)

THE LORD WILL PREPARE A BANQUET, AND WILL WIPE AWAY TEARS FROM EVERY CHEEK.

And the Lord of hosts shall make unto all people in this mountain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wine, of fat things full of marrow, of wine purified from the lees.

And he shall destroy in this mountain the face of the bond with which all people were tied, and the web that he began over all nations.

He shall cast death down headlong for ever: and the Lord God shall wipe away tears from every face, and the reproach of his people he shall take away from off the whole earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.

And they shall say in that day: Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord, we have patiently waited for him, and we shall rejoice and be joyful in his salvation.

For the hand of the Lord shall rest in this mountain: and Moab shall be trodden down under him, as straw is broken in pieces with the wain.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING I (ISAIAH 5:1-7)

(27. Sunday in Ordinary Time)

THE VINEYARD OF THE LORD OF HOSTS IS THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.

I will sing to my beloved the canticle of my cousin concerning his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a hill in a fruitful place.

And he fenced it in, and picked the stones out of it, and planted it with the choicest vines, and built a tower in the midst thereof, and set up a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.

And now, O ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and ye men of Juda, judge between me and my vineyard.

What is there that I ought to do more to my vineyard, that I have not done to it? was it that I looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it hath brought forth wild grapes?

And now I will shew you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be wasted: I will break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down.

And I will make it desolate: it shall not be pruned, and it shall not be digged: but briers and thorns shall come up: and I will command the clouds to rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel: and the man of Juda, his pleasant plant: and I looked that he should do judgment, and behold iniquity: and do justice, and behold a cry.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (JOB 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17)

(Week 26 of the year: Saturday)

HAVING SEEN YOU WITH MY OWN EYES, I RETRACT ALL I HAVE SAID.

Then Job answered the Lord, and said:

I know that thou canst do all things, and no thought is hid from thee.

Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have spoken unwisely, and things that above measure exceeded my knowledge.

With the hearing of the ear, I have heard thee, but now my eye seeth thee. Therefore I reprehend myself, and do penance in dust and ashes.

And the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. And he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.

And he had seven sons, and three daughters.

And he called the name of one Dies, and the name of the second Cassia, and the name of the third Cornustibii.

And there were not found in all the earth women so beautiful as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.

And Job lived after these things, a hundred and forty years, and he saw his children, and his children’s children, unto the fourth generation, and he died an old man, and full of days.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (JOB 38:1, 12-21, 33-35)

(Week 26 of the year: Friday)

HAVE YOU GIVEN ORDERS TO THE MORNING, OR JOURNEYED ALL THE WAY TO THE SOURCES OF THE SEA?

Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said:

Didst thou since birth command the morning, and shew the dawning of the day its place?

And didst thou hold the extremities of the earth shaking them, and hast thou shaken the ungodly out of it?

The seal shall be restored as clay, and shall stand as a garment:

From the wicked their light shall be taken away, and the high arm shall be broken.

Hast thou entered into the depths of the sea, and walked in the lowest parts of the deep?

Have the gates of death been opened to thee, and hast thou seen the darksome doors?

Hast thou considered the breadth of the earth? tell me, if thou knowest all things?

Where is the way where light dwelleth, and where is the place of darkness:

That thou mayst bring every thing to its own bounds, and understand the paths of the house thereof.

Didst thou know then that thou shouldst be born? and didst thou know the number of thy days?

Then Job answered the Lord, and said:

What can I answer, who hath spoken inconsiderately? I will lay my hand upon my mouth.

One thing I have spoken, which I wish I had not said: and another, to which I will add no more.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (JOB 19:21-27)

(Week 26 of the year: Thursday)

I KNOW THAT MY AVENGER LIVES.

Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched me.

Why do you persecute me as God, and glut yourselves with my flesh?

Who will grant me that my words may be written? who will grant me that they may be marked down in a book?

With an iron pen and in a plate of lead, or else be graven with an instrument in flint stone?

For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth.

And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God.

Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another: this my hope is laid up in my bosom.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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BIBLE READING (NEHEMIAH 2:1-8)

IF IT PLEASES THE KING, GIVE ME LEAVE TO GO TO THE CITY OF MY ANCESTORS AND REBUILD IT.

And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king: that wine was before him, and he took up the wine and gave it to the king: and I was as one languishing away before his face.

And the king said to me: Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou dost not appear to be sick? this is not without cause, but some evil, I know not what, is in thy heart. And I was seized with an exceeding great fear:

And I said to the king: O king, live for ever: why should not my countenance be sorrowful, seeing the city of the place of the sepulchres of my fathers is desolate, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire?

Then the king said to me: For what dost thou make request? And I prayed to the God of heaven,

And I said to the king: If it seem good to the king, and if thy servant hath found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldst send me into Judea to the city of the sepulchre of my father, and I will build it.

And the king said to me, and the queen sat by him: For how long shall thy journey be, and when wilt thou return? And I pleased the king, and he sent me: and I fixed him a time.

And I said to the king: If it seem good to the king, let him give me letters to the governors of the country beyond the river, that they convey me over, till I come into Judea:

And a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, to give me timber that I may cover the gates of the tower of the house, and the walls of the city, and the house that I shall enter into. And the king gave me according to the good hand of my God with me.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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