St Michael and All Angels

Many people smile when one speaks of angels. I am surprised they do not fall to the ground in terror. Angels are not the chubby putti beloved of renascence artists and sentimental Christmas cards, they are mighty spirits, messengers of God. Fire and flame attend them; they are truly awful.

‘War broke out in heaven.’ With those terrible words we enter into a spiritual reality with immense consequences for us all. The battle between good and evil, the thrusting out of Lucifer, the triumph of Michael, are events that can be understood figuratively yet at the same time make sense personally. We all know the war between good and evil in ourselves and what a close-run thing it is at times. One of the reasons I am a Catholic is that the Church is clear-eyed about this struggle and encourages everyone to hope without presuming. Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death, once and for all, but each of us must make his triumph our own, and that is the work of a lifetime.

Today, let us pray for all who struggle; for all who believe that love and goodness are better than hatred or selfishness; who want to be what, as children of God, they are called to become; and let us ask the prayers of St Michael and all angels to defend us in the conflict that will assuredly be ours.

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11 thoughts on “St Michael and All Angels”

  1. I feel it is good to pray daily for deliverance from evil and that our demons be driven out through the integrity of Christ’s Holy Name, aided by the sword of St Michael. It’s powerful stuff.

    We might also pray for spiritual discernment in recognising evil since so often in masquerades as what is ‘good’ and humane. In addition…and this is equally important…that we do not see evil where it does not exist except as a projection of our own personal conflicts and self-justification.

    Angels are indeed awesome in the original sense of the word, but they are the messengers of a loving Father who yearns to gather his children safely to himself.

  2. The story paints a vivid picture of what happened during the battle and the banishment of Lucifer. This is one story from my Catholic childhood that remains vividly in my memory.

    It also while figurative, does speak to me of the idea that in the absence of good, evil will flourish. People deny that Lucifer or the devil exists and for perfectly logical reasons. But, the mysteries revealed in the bible allow us to ignore logic and concentrate on the incarnational nature of Jesus Christ and his ministry, because we have both the physical evidence of his existence and the witnessing of the Gospels.

    So sin is part of us, which we repent for and forgiveness and mercy is the grace that flows when we do. That is Jesus’ gift which defeats the devil within us, if we accept Jesus and live for him.

    A great feast to celebrate, pity that the Anglican Church treats it as a minor festival.

  3. I’ve always liked what Madeleine L’Engle said about how angels must be truly awesome in appearance, because the first thing they always say upon appearing to mortals is “Fear not!”

  4. Thank you! Every Christmas I rant about this… Here in the US angels are nearly always portrayed as pretty little blonde women. In the Bible when an angel appears, people freak out. Big strong men freak out! I’m pretty sure that the appearance of a pretty little blonde girl wouldn’t elicit the same response! Plus the Bible never mentions a pretty girl as an angel.

  5. I have relegated angels of all types to a time of magical thinking, of childhood, especially a personal guardian angel. The imagery of angels is used so much for commercial purposes, I’ve stopped thinking about them in a serious way.

    I just come from reading the Catholic Catechism entry on angels, and I am mistaken in my thinking. Angels are serious, real and powerful spiritual beings.

    I join your prayer.

  6. Now I shall smile if I hear anyone say “Oh, would you be an angel and do x, y and z for me?”

    Thank you for turning my thoughts to Epstein’s marvellous Michael on Coventry cathedral.

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