October 30, 2013: Saint Michael the Archangel—Prince of the Heavenly Hosts

~by Susi Pittman

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Saint Michael the Archangel is described in Holy Scripture as one of the chief princes and leader of the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. The Greek Fathers, Saint Basil and many others place him over all the angels as Prince of the Seraphim and he is especially honored as patron and protector by the Church since the time of the Apostles.

Did you know that the “warcry” of the good angels in heaven when they fought against Lucifer and his army was Michael (pronounced Mic-ai-el) and means Who is like to God? How could Lucifer ever consider himself to be above God? You can read the accounting beginning at (Apocalypse) Revelations 12:7.

Saint Michael’s name appears in scriptures four times: Daniel 10:13; Daniel 12:1; St. Jude 1:8-13; and lastly (Apocalypse) Revelations 12:7. He is definitively the most powerful angel known to humankind.

He has been recorded to have appeared on earth which in most cases caused the place to be  deemed holy by the Church. There are thousands of chapels all over Europe that honor Saint Michael by name. There are perhaps two very notable pilgrimage sites that have sanctuaries built on the spot where Saint Michael appeared.

The Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo sul Gargano, sometimes called simply Monte Gargano, is a Catholic sanctuary on Mount Gargano, Italy, part of the commune of Monte Sant’Angelo, in the province of Foggia, northern Apulia.

It is the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the archangel Michael and has been an important pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. The historic site and its environs are protected by the Parco Nazionale del Gargano.

According to this legend, around the year 490 the Archangel Michael appeared several times to the Bishop of Sipontum near a cave, asking that the cave be dedicated to Christian worship and promising protection of the nearby town of Sipontum from pagan invaders. These were the first apparitions of Michael in Western Europe.

In Normandy a magnificent sanctuary in honor of Saint Michael rests on Mont-Saint-Michel in the Diocese of Coutances. Saint Michael is said to have appeared there, in 708, to St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches. What is rather phenomenal about this unique church is the way in which you are able to reach it before a road was built in the late 1800’s. The mount was surrounded by water, but at a particular times the tides would recede and give way to a sandy walk to the mount.  The spring tides in the Bay have the highest range in Europe. The rising tide advances as a wave over 1.7 feet high, covering a distance of over 15 miles at the speed of a galloping horse, causing the bay to fill, sometimes to 39 feet deep or more. The bay around Mont-Saint-Michel stretches from Normandy to Britain. Today the town of Saint Michel located at the base of the mount, has 30 residents who entertain over two million visitors a year.

Saint Michael is governor of heaven. The tradition of the Church states that he assists the dying, accompanies the souls to their private judgment, brings them to purgatory, and afterward presents them to God at their entrance into Heaven. Thus he is the actual patron of the holy souls.

God is so good to give the world a powerful warrior angel to aid us in our journey while on earth and even unto the heavenly gates.

Lastly, I had always wondered if faced with an immediate and encompassing confrontation with evil, how would I be able to handle it? What would I say? I felt that my fast and sincere request would be to call out the name of Jesus and plead His blood upon me. It’s just what I thought would be on my lips without thought or consideration. Four years ago, as I slept, a disturbing presence moved into my dream. I found it to be outside of dreaming, to the point of being fully awake. The overwhelming sense of darkness and foreboding were suffocating and the words that flew from my lips surprised even me…Saint Michael help me! At that instant, the darkness was gone and I found myself sitting up in bed with what I can only describe as the odor of peace. Saint Michael’s response was instantaneous! I can remember it today like it was last night.

God has given to us His Only Son, Jesus, the Angels and Saints to aid us in our earthly journey. We should never hesitate to invoke them, thank them and revere them. They are the spiritual pictures we hang upon the walls of our souls to remind us of our family and where we are going.

We celebrate the feast day of Saint Michael on September 29th, which is the feast day of the Archangels. I recommend petitioning Saint Michael in your daily prayers by recitation of the prayer at the top of this column. Offer it up for your entire family and all that you hold dear. Saint Michael stands at the ready to assist you in the name of Jesus Christ.

Sancte Michael Archangele,defende nos in proelio…Amen

St. Michael Prayer

Susi Pittman is founder of CatholicStewardsofCreation.com and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Council of Women in Jacksonville, Florida; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine;a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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