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Info on St. Michael QUESTION from Suzanne December 26, 1998 Would you please email me info on the significance of St. Michael and what St. Michael is known for? I have been unable to find anything on the Internet or within my online Encyclopedia.
I am a single mother raising a seven-year-old son. I also am a United Methodist seminary student.
Before my ex-husband left us 6 years ago, he gave our son a St. Michael medallion. My son and his father are both named Michael. (As an FYI: My ex was raised Catholic but has not attended Catholic church regularly since leaving Catholic High School. My ex did not attend church while we were married and he now periodically attends a United Methodist church with his wife. They had an affair while we were married and they later married; we divorced against my protests.)
I pulled the medallion out this weekend to place on a boys' Cross necklace that I gave my son for Christmas. Because Catholicism is an aspect of my son's lineage, I would like to share some information with him about St. Michael and the Catholic Church, even though he is being raised United Methodist by both parents. And, because his grandfather is active in the Catholic Church, I would like to take my son to mass on occasion. My faith journey has been heavily influenced by Catholic writers, such as Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, so I hope my son (like I have) will gain an appreciation not only for his own faith denomination but others within our ecumenical community, including Catholicism.
Any information you can provide would be helpful. Thank you.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on December 28, 1998 Dear Suzanne:
I am sorry to hear about your marital situation. I know what you go through in this for the same thing happened to me.
I also congratulate you on your desire to provide a positive influence to your children in terms of their religious heritage.
St. Michael the Archangel is the Prince of Spiritual Warfare which is the reason he is usually scene in armor and a sword in pictures or statues.
When Lucifer was kicked out of heaven (and with him 1/3 of the angels), it was St. Michael who did the eviction.
St. Michael is also the General who battles with Satan today. St. Michael is the official protector of the Church and of the Pope. St. Michael is involved in battling Satan, or in directing other angels in the battle, whenever Satan and his fallen angels attack the Church or us.
There are many verses in the Bible where St. Michael the Archangel is mentioned.
Probably the most famous prayer about St. Michael was the prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII (based on Scripture):
St. 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 hosts, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. There are several scriptural references contained in the St. Michael prayer:
Revelations 12:7-9 is the reference for St. Michael defend us in battle, and cast into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits.
The phrase May the God rebuke him we humbly pray is based on Jude 9, where the archangel Michael says May the Lord rebuke you! to the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses.
There are two scriptural references for the phrase: And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts... In Daniel 10:13, the archangel Michael is referred to as one of the chief princes who helped in the fight against the prince of Persia, a demon opposing the work of another angel. St. Michael is also referred to as a prince in Daniel 12:1, which states At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people.
The phrase snares of the devil is from 2 Tim 2:26 which says, that they may return to their senses out of the devil's snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will.
The phrase who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls is from 1 Peter 5:8 which says, Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Finally it is clear from scripture that we can address the angels in our prayer, because Psalm 103:20-21 says Bless the Lord, all you angels... Bless the Lord all you hosts, ministers who do God's will. So no one should complain that Pope Leo XIII didn't know his scriptures when he composed the St. Michael prayer at the end of the 19th century.
So an annotated version of the prayer would look something like this:
St. Michael the archangel (Ps 103:20-21), defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil (2Tim 2:26). May God rebuke him we humbly pray (Jude 9), and do thou, O prince of the heavenly hosts (Dan 10:13, 12:1), cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits (Rev 12:9) who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls (1Pet 5:8). Amen. There is also a Cave in Italy where St. Michael appeared several times. In one apparition St. Michael told the local bishop to take up the rocks of the floor of the cave which were blessed by St. Michael himself and distribute them to the local people. St. Michael instructed the bishop to teach the people a devotion to St. Michael. In return St. Michael would save the local people from the plague.
Interestingly enough, the plague ravaged the whole area EXCEPT for the people who offered devotion to St. Michael.
The Bishop wanted to bless the Cave as a sacred place, but St. Michael said no, the cave was already blessed by him.
Today a basilica has been erected in and at the cave. One of the altars in the cave was built by St. Michael himself.
I have a few pieces of rock from the floor of St. Michael's Cave. Some of these pieces are places in the knot on the cinture (belt) of my monastic robes.
Interesting note: These rocks are the only things on the planet that have actually been blessed by a non-human.
Later we will have this story and others available on the website that give a lot more information about St. Michael, but hopefully this much will get you started. :-) God Bless.
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