September 29, 2019: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor's Corner
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
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 power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Happy Feast of St. Michael (and his archangel companions!). Though September 29 falls on Sunday this year, this is the traditional day when St. Michael is honored for his powerful role in the story of salvation. In honor of our heavenly hero, we recall three Scriptural characteristics of St. Michael’s mission.
- St. Michael conquers the devil and the forces of darkness in the book of Revelation. The name “Michael” is from Hebrew, which literally means “who is like God.” Traditionally, this is St. Michael’s response to the devil’s prideful usurpation of heavenly realms. This humble response is the source of his great power. Recognizing that God alone is the source of life empowers St. Michael with the strength to be the angel who is called “great prince of the Heavenly Host.” Pope Leo XIII promulgated the prayer to St. Michael and directed that it be prayed after Low Mass. Though this is not longer common practice, I recommend to pray this prayer daily that, joined as the Christ’s Body, we might unite together with St. Michael in humble, if strong, struggle and resistance against the devil.
- St. Michael guides departed souls from this world to the next. In the New Testament book of Jude, St. Michael contends with Satan over the body of Moses. Because of this passage, there is a beautiful tradition that regards St. Michael as a patron in the moment of our death. Just as he did with Moses, so too, St. Michael guards those who have died from the grip of the devil and guides them to their heavenly reward. We simply have to invoke his name and intercession.
- St. Michael protects us against the forces of darkness. Although he is not mentioned by name, St. Michael is thought to be the archangel who helped both Joshua and Gideon to victory over the enemies of Israel who threatened to extinguish them. This military protection also has a famous example in the life of Joan of Arc. It is St. Michael who appears to 13-year-old Joan and inspires her to lead with soldierly strategies well beyond any of the French generals, who marvel at her astute military planning. We can avail ourselves of this protection through the prayer of the chaplet of St. Michael, which like the rosary, uses prayer beads to contemplatively call down God’s help through St. Michael’s intercession.
St. Michael the Archangel, Pray for us!
~ Fr. Michael