A Biblical Look at St. Michael, the Archangel

March 2, 2023

About This Image 

The image above is a colorized version of "Saint Michael" by Italian master Guido Reni (1575–1642).  This image is featured on the St. Michael printable prayer card available in my Etsy shop, Catholic Book And Card.  For the card, I tinted the original paint to the vivid blue associated with Saint Michael (as shown above).

Saint Michael in the Bible

Saint Michael, is one of three archangels the Bible mentions by name (the others being Saints Raphael and  Gabriel). Saint Michael is mentioned four times - twice in the Old Testament, and two more times in the new.  

The first reference is in the Book of Daniel. In Chapter 10 St. Michael comes to comfort Daniel after he has had a vision, and promises to be his helper in all things. In Daniel 12, St. Michael is called "the great prince who standeth for the children of Thy people."

In these references St. Michael is shown to support Israel during the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity. In writing about St. Michael Daniel, strove to show his people that God had not forgotten them, and remind them that even in bondage they had a royal champion. In St. Jude 9, we are told that Michael disputed with the devil over the body of Moses - an episode not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible.

In the Revelation (Chapter 12) we find the most dramatic reference to St. Michael. Here St. John recounts the great battle in Heaven, when the wicked angels under Lucifer revolt against God. In this passage, Michael, leading the faithful angels, defeats the hosts of evil and drives them out. 

Because of this victory, St. Michael is revered in Catholic tradition and liturgy as the protector of the Church. 

Michael's battle against the rebel angels has been painted by many artists (one such painting serves as the main banner of this blog). It has been written about various writers, as well, including the poet Milton in book 6 of Paradise.  

In the Eastern Church, St. Michael is placed over all the angels, as prince of the Seraphim. And, in Asia Minor, many curative springs were dedicated to him.

St. Michael is a powerful figure in spiritual warfare. He is considered to be the special patron of the sick, police officers, the military, the state of Israel and the Catholic Church.  St. Michael's emblems are a banner, a sword, a dragon, and scales. 

St. Michael's name is a variation of Micah, which asks (in Hebrew), "Who is like God?"  It is the same question posed by Moses in Exodus 15:1-11. The passage, also called the Song of the Sea, is thought to be a very old section of Scripture that can still be heard today in the Mi Kamocha of Jewish worship:

Who is like You among the gods, Adonai? Who is like you? Glorious in holiness, awesome in praises...

About Michaelmas

Today September 29th is St. Michael’s feast day. During the middle ages this day - known as Michaelmas - was a holy day of obligation.  

In 1969, the Novus Ordo Calendar added combined the feasts of St. Gabriel and St. Raphael with St. Michael's and discontinued the individual feasts of the archangels. Traditional Latin Mass congregations using the pre 1962 liturgical calendar keep the original dates for all three feasts.  So, for me, this is St. Michael's day alone.

The SSPX (Society of St. Pius the X) devotional newsletter suggests that today is a good day to read the proper of the Mass of St. Michael, as found in the traditional missal.  The newsletter also encourages us to "pray to St. Michael when temptations arise, especially those related to abuses of the internet, radio, and telephone." 

The St. Michael Prayer

The Saint Michael Prayer is an amazing prayer for spiritual warfare.  The abridged version (below) is short and easy to memorize and it can be said anytime you are feeling in need of spiritual protection.  The prayer was written in Oct. 1, 1884 by Pope Leo XIII following a disturbing mystical experience at Mass.

The Pope had just finished celebrating Mass when he suddenly stood transfixed in front of the altar as if in a trance, his face drained of color. Once recovered, he went to his office and composed a prayer to St. Michael. He told his staff the prayer should be offered throughout the Church.

Pope Leo told others that he had heard two voices which he believed to voices of Our Lord and of Satan. The Pope heard Satan boast that he could destroy the Church in 75 or 100 years, if given the opportunity. Then he heard Our Lord give Satan permission to make the attempt.

The prayer was recited after Low Mass in the Catholic Church from 1886 until it was discontinued in 1964. Thirty years later, in his Regina Coeli address, Pope John Paul II said, “Although the prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask every one not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of the world.”

I'm happy to say that, at the SSPX Chapel I attend, the priest leads the faithful in the prayer to St. Michael after each and every Mass!

Saint 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 - cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits, who roam about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. 

To purchase the St. Michael printable prayer card (75¢ US) please check out my Etsy listing here.


Read today's SSPX daily devotional newsletter here

To see all of my printable prayer cards and prayer pamphlets, please visit my Etsy shop at BlackwoodAbbey.shop

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