September 29: Feast of the Dedication of St Michael the Archangel, Class I

 

The most famous shrine to St Michael in Western Christendom is of course Mont St-Michel in France, where St. Michael appeared to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches in 708 and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet.  St Aubert repeatedly ignored the angel's instruction, being sceptical of apparitions, until St. Michael burned a hole in the bishop's skull with his finger! 

St Michael, whose name means Who is like God?", rates several Scriptural mentions:

(1) Daniel 10:13 sqq., Gabriel says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel [D.V. prince] of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."

(2) Daniel 12, the Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."

(3) In the Epistle of St. Jude: "When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses", etc.

(4) Apocalypse 12:7, "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon."

There is a lot more about him in the apocryphal Book of Enoch (quoted by St Jude), which, though judged not one of the inspired books of Scripture, still has considerable value.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that Christian tradition gives to St. Michael four offices:

•To fight against Satan.

•To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.

•To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.

•To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment ("signifer S. Michael repraesentet eas in lucam sanctam", Offert. Miss Defunct. "Constituit eum principem super animas suscipiendas", Antiph. off. Cf. The Shepherd of Hermas, Book III, Similitude 8, Chapter 3).  

St Michael, pray for us.

No comments: