St. Michael the Archangel
The name Michael signifies “Who is like to God?” and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as “one of the chief princes,” and leader of the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. He has been especially honored and invoked as patron and protector by the Church from the time of the Apostles. Although he is always called “the Archangel,” the Greek Fathers and many others place him over all the angels – as Prince of the Seraphim. St. Michael is the patron of grocers, mariners, paratroopers, police and sickness.
On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said: ‘”May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”‘
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host
– by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
St. Raphael the Archangel
St. Raphael is one of seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord. He was sent by God to help Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah. At the time, Tobit was blind and Tobiah’s betrothed, Sarah, had had seven bridegrooms perish on the night of their weddings. Raphael accompanied Tobiah into Media disguised as a man named Azariah. Raphael helped him through his difficulties and taught him how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. Tobiah said that Raphael caused him to have his wife and that he gave joy to Sarah’s parents for driving out the evil spirit in her. He also gave Raphael credit for his father’s seeing the light of heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession.
Besides Raphael, Michael and Gabriel are the only Archangels mentioned by name in the bible. Raphael’s name means “God heals or The Remedy of God.” This identity came about because of the biblical story which claims that he “healed” the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal book of Enoch. Raphael is also identified as the angel who moved the waters of the healing sheep pool. He is also the patron of the blind, of happy meetings, of nurses, of physicians and of travelers.
St. Gabriel the Archangel
The name Gabriel means “man of God,” or “God has shown himself mighty.” It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the angel who appeared to Zachariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptizer. Finally, he announced to Mary that she would bear a Son Who would be conceived of the Holy Spirit, Son of the Most High, and Saviour of the world. St. Gabriel is the patron of communications workers.
Who Is Like Unto God?
(As) we celebrate the Feast of the holy Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Each year, this feast gives us a golden opportunity to renew our friendship with the angels who are given for our spiritual benefit and are eager to assist us in our battle against the principalities and powers of the world of darkness. We need only to ask their assistance and their guidance on our way to heaven.
Let us take a moment to reflect on the glorious prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, the most potent of all God’s helpers. We start with his name: “Michael” is of Hebrew origin and, literally translated, means, “Who Is Like Unto God?” It is actually a composite of three little Hebrew words that form one phrase: “Mi” (pronounced “mee” and meaning “who?”); “cha” (pronounced “ka” and meaning “like”), and “el” (the Hebrew name for “God.”) The phrase, “Who is like unto God?” is not a statement about this angel being so close or similar to God – no one can claim that. Rather, it is a rhetorical question. It is what Michael uttered in his disbelief that someone would claim to be like God. That someone was another angel named Lucifer.
Tradition has it that Lucifer, the sublime Seraphim, ranked highest in the order of angels and proudly asserted that he wanted to “be like the Most High” (see Isaiah 14:14 for this). One faithful angel of a lower rank, unable to countenance the impudence of a creature thinking he were equal to God, courageously stood up in the divine assembly to defend the rights of God with a rebuke that issued from the depths of his being as a question something like: “And just who could possibly claim to be like God?” And so “Mi-cha-el” became his name.
Michael then cast Lucifer out of heaven with all his rebellious companions. No creature that rejects the sovereignty of God could ever remain in heaven. Michael is thus the defender of the rights of God and the one who manhandles the strongest of the demons. We have him to thank for showing us that proud Satan can actually be defeated and that the rights of God can be vindicated against all blasphemers.
Does God really have rights? You better believe it! The Lord of Heaven and Earth has, above all, the supreme right to be worshipped by all creation. God doesn’t need our worship in an absolute sense, but all creatures need very much to worship Him and keep Him in the first place in our lives because that is how the order of the universe is maintained. When creatures replace Him with idols or arrogantly suppose that they, as creatures, are gods, then all things fall apart and man loses the very meaning of his life. God is the divine center that holds all things together and, as such, He has an absolute right to be worshipped by His creation.
Today we need St. Michael’s aid more than ever. Never in the history of humanity has Satan convinced so many people to set up false idols to replace the worship of the True God. Never has Satan been so successful in getting people to abandon the worship of God and obedience to the moral law on such a massive scale. In the same way, never have we seen so much blasphemous conduct disseminated with such intensity throughout the human community by the power of modern communications; nor have we ever seen the glorification of Satan given such pride of place in the entertainment business.
We need a powerful and glorious angel to teach us to defend the rights of God again. St. Michael has been doing this since before time began and is eminently equipped to teach us to make sure that God remains as the absolute center of our lives and our society. Let us turn to St. Michael on his feast day and thank him for defending God and us against “the wickedness and snares of the devil.” Let us invoke his protection over our loved ones and renew our friendship with him again on his feastday.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
Copyright 2007 – Human Life International
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