Thursday, 29 September 2022 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day we are celebrating the great Feast of the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael. The three great Archangels were three of the seven Holy Archangels mentioned to be serving before the Holy Presence of God, the chiefs of the Angelic Host and heavenly forces. In other traditions such as Eastern Orthodoxy, the other Archangels were also named, but according to the Roman Catholic tradition and Scriptural canon, only three Archangels were named, namely St. Michael the Archangel, named in the Book of Joshua and also in the Book of Revelations of St. John the Apostle, and then St. Gabriel the Archangel, named in the Gospels as the one bearing the Good News to Mary, and lastly St. Raphael the Archangel, mentioned in the Book of Tobit as the Archangel who came to help Tobit and his son, Tobias. Hence today we celebrate these three Archangels of God whose names are known to us definitively through the Scriptures and through Church traditions and teachings.

St. Michael the Archangel is the chief of all the Heavenly Host, the leader of the Archangels and the Angels of God. He is the leader of the forces of God in the great struggle and battle against the evil ones, the champion of the Lord and the one who smites the devil, the great enemy of all the faithful and the living. His name, Michael, means ‘Who is like God?’ that resounds with the battle cry which he uttered in the great War in Heaven that we heard in one of our first reading passages today from the Book of Revelations. That was the battle cry which St. Michael the Archangel uttered against the forces of Satan, the great enemy, who rose in rebellion against God.

At that time, the greatest and most brilliant among all the Angels of God, named Lucifer, the Angel of Light came to bear prideful ambition and the desire to surpass his own Creator, Lord and Master. He desired to sit upon the Throne of God and become the Master of all Creation, and therefore, rose in rebellion against God. One tradition stated that when God was away from His Throne, Lucifer, deluded by his own vanity, vainglory and pride, sat upon the Throne of God and claimed the rulership of all the Universe, only to be challenged and rebuked by St. Michael the Archangel, who rebuked Lucifer and cast him out from the Throne of God and Heaven, because he, thereafter known as Satan, the devil and great enemy, dared to rebel against God.

Unlike Lucifer, who was mighty and brilliant in all things, which led to his downfall through pride, St. Michael the Archangel was humble before God, and it was told according to another tradition that he trembled before the Presence of God, fully aware of the infinite glory and greatness of God, and fully devoted to his Lord and Master. But before the enemies of the Lord, this mighty Archangel stands tall as the greatest among all the champions and defenders of the Lord, leading the Heavenly Host and fearlessly crushing the forces of Satan and his allies, those fallen angels and spirits who have chosen to put their lot and trust in Satan instead of siding with God.

St. Michael has often been considered as a great protector of the people of God, as he led the forces of the Lord against all those seeking for the ruination of many souls of mankind. From the ancient days, St. Michael had appeared to Joshua at the time when the Israelites were about to enter into the Promised Land, reassuring the Lord’s chosen leader of God’s ever-present guidance, and how the Lord’s Angels, led by none other than St. Michael himself, would always march before the Lord’s faithful ones, guiding them and protecting them. St. Michael’s name has always been invoked to protect the people of God in their hour and time of distress.

Meanwhile, St. Gabriel the Archangel was known for his role in proclaiming the Good News of God to Mary, the one whom God had chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God Most High, the Mother of the Saviour of the world, and hence to be the Mother of God herself. St. Gabriel the Archangel in the Annunciation proclaimed with great joy the long awaited proclamation of the coming of God’s salvation, which He has promised and renewed the same promise to His people through His many prophets and messengers throughout time. The words of St. Gabriel the Archangel was the very first moment when the Lord’s salvation was definitively revealed to the people of God.

The name Gabriel means ‘the strength of God’ referring to the strength and encouragement that the words that St. Gabriel had spoken before Mary, a simple and humble young maiden in the little village of Nazareth, that she would be the one through whom the salvation of the whole world would come. And while he was not named, the Angel who appeared before Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist at the Temple of God was also often considered to be the Archangel Gabriel. In the same way, St. Gabriel proclaimed another encouraging news to Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, on the upcoming birth of their long-awaited son. That brought hope and strength back to the elderly couple once again.

Then, lastly, St. Raphael the Archangel appeared to Tobias, and assisted both him and his father Tobit, saving the new wife of Tobias, Sara from the attacks by the evil spirit Asmodeus, as well as healing Tobit from his blindness. St. Raphael brought God’s healing and consolation to the ones who were suffering and in pain, enduring hardships and difficulties, trials and obstacles in life. The name Raphael means the ‘healing of God’ which fits the works by which St. Raphael the Archangel was sent by God to this world, to heal and strengthen, to encourage and patch up those who had been afflicted by suffering, pain, grief and sorrow, among other things.

As we heard from our Scripture passages and as we have discussed just earlier on, the Holy Archangels of God were those powerful spirits whom God had entrusted with the specific mission in guiding and protecting us mankind from the attacks and efforts of the evil ones, the devil himself and the other fallen angels and wicked spirits. St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael in each of their capacities and missions are our great allies in the ever continuing constant and daily struggles for the fate of our souls. Ever since the beginning of creation, Satan, the fallen Lucifer had always despised God’s beloved creations, and especially that apply to us all mankind, and just as he brought our ancestors down, he is always ever plotting and trying to bring us all down as well.

That is why today as we celebrate the great Feast of the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, all of us are reminded of the great love that God has for each one of us, that He sent us His mighty servants, the three Chiefs and Princes of the Angelic Host, particularly the leader of them all, St. Michael the Archangel, to be by our side, and to lead the forces of Heaven, in the constant and daily struggle and battle for our souls. And we have to have faith in God, believing wholeheartedly that the Lord will always protect us and provide for us, and His mighty Archangels and the Heavenly forces will guard us against Satan and all of his fellow wicked spirits’ futile attacks on us.

Today, as we rejoice in the hope that the Holy and Mighty Archangels of God had brought us, let us all pray the special prayer, Prayer to St. Michael, which Pope Leo XIII had commissioned, entrusting ourselves to the guardianship of St. Michael the Archangel and the other Holy Archangels and Angels of God that through their intercession and help, we may always remain faithful and steady in our lives and faith. Let us all pray, ‘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 host, 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.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel (I Classis) – Monday, 29 September 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast of a great protector, our great defense against the assaults of the evil one, Satan, the prince and progenitor of all evils. We celebrate today the feast of the chief of all the angelic hosts of heaven, that is St. Michael the Archangel, prince of all the angels, and chief of the seven Archangels who served before the throne of God.

The angels were created by the Lord to be His servants, that is to be the ones who carry out His will throughout the world, to be His messengers and the bearers of His good works, to exercise His power throughout the universe He had created. He created angels of many forms and kinds, and they have various tasks and functions, depending on how they were created.

Just like men, when we were first created, the angels were initially pure and blameless, free from what is now called as sin, the impurities and imperfections that blemished the purity of creation, through disobedience against the will of God. The angels too, were granted free will just like us, so that, just as we are able to choose our path and destination in life, then they too were able to choose.

But everything was good and perfect, just as our ancestors once lived in perfect peace and harmony in the gardens of Eden, the angels were all pure and immaculate, free from all evil and taints of sin, that is until the corruption and fall of Lucifer, the greatest, brightest and the mightiest of all the angels, and unfortunately, his pride too was the greatest of all the angels, his vanity and sense of superiority over others, which proved to be his greatest undoing.

While now we speak of St. Michael the Archangel as the chief of all the heavenly hosts, he was not made such because of his greatness and his power or might, neither it was because he was the most beautiful or splendid among the angels of God. It was rather because of St. Michael’s great obedience and faith in the Lord, which made him to be the greatest defender of the Lord and His beloved people against the forces of evil.

For as mentioned, that Lucifer was once the greatest and the mightiest among the angels, but this made him proud beyond any pride, and he began to plot his rise among the angels, and eventually even boasted that he would make his throne rise above the stars of God, namely the angels, to be the ruler of them, and displacing God as the ruler over all creations.

Lucifer was proud and haughty, and he was brought down, because he was thinking too highly of himself, aspiring to be the ruler of all surpassing the Creator, while he is merely a creation, albeit a glorious and great one at that. On the contrary, St. Michael was known for his great faith and piety, and the complete trust he has for the Lord. And in addition to this, he was also told to be trembling at always before the presence of God.

This does not mean that St. Michael was fearful or weak, but rather, in doing so, he actually by himself acknowledging the superiority of God, and how great God is as compared to himself. It is his humility, courage and piety which made the Lord to choose him and honour him to be the great commander of His heavenly forces. And he courageously led the forces of the faithful against the deceiver and the evil one, the fallen Lucifer, who was struck down and cast out of heaven, to suffer for eternity the fate prepared for him.

The examples of St. Michael’s faith, piety, dedication and courage therefore should become guiding lights for us to follow, that in our actions and deeds, we may model them after what St. Michael had once done, and what he is doing now, that is leading the hosts of the Lord in a constant and regular battle for the salvation of our souls, against Satan, the fallen Lucifer, and his allies, those angels who were also ensnared in his pride and vanity, and ended up rebelling against God.

We mankind are special indeed, for we are the greatest of God’s creations, including even the angels, and we are the most beloved ones of all the things which God had created. As such, while the angels who rebelled were given no second chance to turn back to the Lord, and receive forgiveness, we mankind alone had been given this gift of forgiveness, that as long as we repent our sins and rebelliousness, and if we are willing to follow the way of the Lord, we will be saved.

That is why, even though our ancestors had disobeyed the Lord, through the instigation of the snake, the form assumed by the fallen Lucifer, who wanted mankind to also follow into his rebellion, God gave us a second chance, and by no other means than to send His very own Son, part of Himself, Jesus Christ our Lord, to assume our own form, and through what He had done, He gave up His life and through His sacrifice, gained for us a new hope and a new justification in Himself.

And we also have to note that the Lord is thoroughly concerned with us, brothers and sisters in Christ. He is truly concerned about our fate, and whether we will share the fate of the devil, that is to suffer in the hell fire, or to be reunited with Himself in perfect love and harmony, just as what He intended for us at the very beginning when He first created us.

That is why, He sent us Jesus His Son, so that through what He taught His disciples, and from them passed down to us, we may all know what we need to do in order to avoid the dark fate which awaits us if we remain in our life of sin. But we need to be aware that, what Jesus said today in the Gospels, we should not interpret or take it literally, which means that if a part of our body made us to sin, then we should not chop it off just like that.

There is indeed wisdom and thought put into that kind of decision, to cut off the part that corrupts the entire body and soul, but that also means that we can no longer do good with the same part of the body, which God had given us. This is where we need to truly understand, that what the Lord means is that, we have to really do our best to excise from ourselves any actions or parts which have been great hindrances to our salvation, beginning from within ourselves.

Sin corrupts everything it touches, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is caused by the accumulation of the negativity in our hearts, of which things such as pride, jealousy, hatred, greed and many others consist of. And it was this same thing that had corrupted even the greatest and the brightest of the angels into rebellion against God and therefore sinned against Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore let us renew our faith in the Lord, not by just mere empty words and promises, but also through real action and devotions, that is by following the examples of St. Michael the Archangel. Let us excise from our hearts, all evils and darkness, that we may truly become pure and worthy of the Lord once again. We can do this by sincere love and devotion to the Lord, and by listening to what He had said to us through Jesus.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all sharpen the edges of our humility and obedience to God, that we may always listen to Him and follow Him, obeying Him in His will for us rather than to listen to our own desires and pride, as Lucifer had done. Let us all not be enslaved by our emotions and pride, that we may truly rebuke Satan and let him to suffer alone the fate which he had earned for himself. Do not let him to drag us into hellfire, brethren!

Let us pray and ask for the help and intercession of St. Michael the Archangel and the holy angels, so that they may help us and protect us from all the harm which the evil one and his allies, the fallen angels had intended for us. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, so that by the power of God, you who are the prince and leader of all the heavenly hosts, may smite down Satan and all his lies, and all those who are working their evils in our world, seeking after the ruination of all the souls of the faithful. Amen.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, by Pope Leo XIII (1886)

Guido_Reni_031

Sancte Michael Archangele,

St. Michael the Archangel,

 

defende nos in praelio;

defend us in battle

 

contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.

Safeguard us against the wickedness and the snares of the devil.

 

Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:

May God therefore restrain him, we humbly pray:

 

tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,

and you, the Prince of the heavenly hosts

 

satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,

divina virtute in infernum detrude.

by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan, and with him the other wicked spirits

who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

 

Amen.

Amen.

 

(By Pope Leo XIII, in 1886, recited every time after the Holy Mass as an invocation for the intercession of the mighty Archangel in the rebuke of Satan)

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel (I Classis) – Monday, 29 September 2014 : Gradual and Alleluia

Psalm 102 : 20, 1 and Tradition of the Faith

Benedicite Dominum, omnes Angeli ejus : potentes virtute, qui facitis verbum ejus.

Response : Benedic, anima mea, Dominum, et omnia interiora mea, Nomen sanctum ejus.

Alleluja, alleluja.

Response : Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio : ut non pereamus in tremendo judicio. Alleluja.

English translation

Bless the Lord, all you His angels. You who are mighty in strength, who do His will.

Response : O my soul, may you bless the Lord, and all that is within me praise His Holy Name.

Alleluia, alleluia.

Response : Holy Archangel Michael, defend us in battle, that we perish not in the dreadful judgment. Alleluia.