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.