dimanche, septembre 30, 2007

Solemnity of Saint Michael the Archangel

At the beginning of the Creation, God made the angels. There were myriads and thousands of thousands. While being invisible to our eyes, they share our destiny and walk along with us on our road toward God. The world of the angels is fascinating, first, because of their very nature. As pure spirits, they don’t have to carry the weight of the infirmities of the flesh. Their intuitive intelligence is so piercing that they can comprehend directly the essence of things. Their world is also fascinating, because they have been raised by grace to the supernatural order and made citizens of the city of God. They are different than us as for nature, but they are our fellow-citizens as for the order of grace. They see the face of God, but this does not prevent them from taking care of us. In fact, they are useful helps in our pilgrimage toward the celestial Jerusalem and precious allies in our battle against the powers of darkness.

The powers of darkness! Who are they? Saint Paul tells us that we have to fight against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. (Eph.6:12) These are the devils, angelic creatures but who turned away from God. They have the same nature as the good angels, and as such, are redoubtable adversaries, more powerful and more intelligent than us. At their head, Lucifer stands. Lucifer, which means the light-bearer, was a magnificent creature. Created like any other rational creature to share the glory of God, he rejected it for one reason and declared: non serviam “I will not serve!”

This was the supreme trespass against the supreme authority of God: an act of full pride which made Lucifer deny the supremacy of God. But in his blind dementia, he also denies the love of God which was at the origin of his own creation. Created by love, now Lucifer, for one instant of pride has now become subject to hatred. Then, he and the angels who followed him in his rebellion were condemned. As Saint Peter reports, God delivered them, drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell unto torments, to be reserved unto judgment. (2 Pet.2:4)

All the angels may have followed Lucifer if one among them would have not stood to defend the honor of God. Quis us Deus is his name: Who is like God, or in Hebrew Michael. For his fidelity to God, Saint Michael deserved to be called Prince of the Angels. He is the captain of the celestial army, leading the faithful troops to the battle against the powers of darkness. For this reason, the men of the militant Church show a great veneration for the Archangel Michael. His devotion has always been spread in the world, especially throughout the Middle-Ages.

Today, here in this parish dedicated to the Archangel Saint Michael, we honor this great champion of Christian battle and we put ourselves under his protection. He is traditionally represented dressed with a cuirass, symbol of faith that protects us against the temptations of doubt or of rationalism. Like him, we certainly cannot understand the mysterious plans of the divine Providence, but with a humble faith, we believe that they are good and infallible. Who is like God? Who can understand them? Who can tell God that He is wrong and that there may be another way better than the one He proposes? The mystery of the Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Creation, the loving mystery of the Incarnation, all the mysteries of faith are great and inscrutable. Denying them is continuing the rebellion of Satan and the fallen angels. Accepting them with a humble submission is recognizing the highest wisdom of God. May Saint Michael help us to keep a deep and strong faith! It is, as Saint John says, our victory over the world. (I John 5:4)

We also depict Saint Michael with a sword with which he strikes down the dragon. The sword has a mystical significance in many civilizations, and especially in the Christian Middle-Ages. It is the weapon of the kings and of the knights which represents authority and justice. It also evokes war and the warlike virtues: strength, power, sacrifice. It separates the good from evil and as such establishes a balance. The sword, forged in iron and carried by a spirit symbolizes the war that we have to fight against the flesh in order to be reconciled with our spiritual dimension. As Saint Michael has defeated the dragon, we can overcome our flesh by the sword of mortification and of justice.
Another attribute that we often see with Saint Michael is the scale of justice. According to tradition, the Archangel stands between the soul and God at the time of death. He weighs the soul and the side on which the scale goes will determine its eternal destiny. Nothing will be forgotten. This thought should help us to make the scale incline on the good side by helping us to keep constantly in our mind that we have to do good and turn away from evil.

From all times, men, associations, confraternities and nations have been imploring Saint Michael’s protection and they have not been deceived. Today, with the same hope, we ask for his protection. Doing this does not dispense us of working on our own sanctification, but it brings us a precious comfort. I am sure that he will walk with us this afternoon during our pilgrimage, as he will walk with us each day of our life until the end of the great pilgrimage of our earthly life. Under the protection of his powerful sword, we can remain safe.
Let us give thank to Saint Michael for all the good work he does for us and let us turn to the Queen of the angels. Let us tell her that we proclaim our fidelity and that we are ready to fight the good battle of faith. It is our victory!

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

i love you arch angel michael, thank you for everything you have done for my family and me... please continue protecting us from evil...