Today is the Feastday of St. Michael the Archangel. This is a good time to discuss his roles as Psychopomp, Upper-Level Angelic Manager, and Defender of the Universal Church and all her members.
Historically, the western Church had three feast-days for each of the three Archangels mentioned by name in the Bible: Michael (Sept. 29), Raphael (October 24), and Gabriel (March 24); there is a separate Feast of the Guardian Angels on October 2.
In 1969, the Vatican abolished Raphael’s and Gabriel’s separate feasts and made September 29 the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. This follows the traditional Lutheran practice of naming September 29 the feast of “Saint Michael and All Angels,” but I digress.
Traditionally, Catholic angelology invokes St. Michael as a defender, whether against spiritual entities, against physical personal enemies, and as a psychopomp escorting the souls of the departed. This last function can be seen in the Offertory for the Requiem Mass:
Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and the deep pit; deliver them from the lion’s mouth, may hell not swallow them up, nor may they fall into darkness, but may Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the holy light: Which you once promised to Abraham and to his seed. Amen.
In addition to protection and psychpomp duties, St. Michael may also be invoked to help ensure your success by fighting off your competition, so long as your cause is just and your business legal.
In this regard we can consider that occultists commonly attribute St. Michael with patronage over the element of Fire and the Sun, which makes sense if we ponder Judge Brandeis’ metaphor that “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” in this case the sun’s fire burning away our impurities and the things that can work against our genuine best interests.
“Our genuine best interests,” as we let that sink in we can also invoke St. Michael’s purifying fire to cleanse us of delusions and false notions, while we can invoke him in tandem with St. Gabriel to help us come into messages of Truth while helping us overcome the temptations of comfort found in our previous illusions.
Lastly, St. Michael is the Patron and Defender of the Universal Church; for this reason he is Patron of the Traditional Roman Catholic Movement, alongside St. Philomena. We can see this theme expressed at length in the long version of Pope Leo XIII’s Prayer to St. Michael (found at the bottom of this post).
It’s St. Michael’s duty as protector of the Church that also puts him in charge of protecting the Church’s individual members: he is patron of policemen, firemen, soldiers, and in charge of the guardian angels of all human beings.
This also puts him in the position of a type of mediator between human and divine, as he’s seen to mediate the Church’s liturgical prayer; this is close to, though maybe not exactly, a role Jewish angelology gives to Sandalphon who oversees prayer and sacred song. We see this in the Order of Mass, when St. Michael is invoked both during the Confiteor and the blessing of incense at the Offertory; this is also the reason his feastday is traditionally ranked as a “Double of the First Class” on the pre-1962 Church Calendar.
So today, as we celebrate this Feast of Saint Michael, let us call to mind his many responsibilities both towards God and towards us, and thank him for his tireless work on our behalf before we invoke him yet again during the course of our spiritual adventure.
PRAYERS TO ST. MICHAEL
The Saint Michael Prayer
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, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
For Help Against Spiritual Enemies
Glorious St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly hosts, who standest always ready to give assistance to the people of God; who didst fight with the dragon, the old serpent, and didst cast him out of heaven, and now valiantly defendest the Church of God that the gates of hell may never prevail against her, I earnestly entreat thee to assist me also, in the painful and dangerous conflict which I have to sustain against the same formidible foe. Be with me, O mighty Prince! that I may courageously fight and wholly vanquish that proud spirit, whom thou hast by the Divine Power, so gloriously overthrown, and whom our powerful King, Jesus Christ, has, in our nature, so completely overcome; to the end that having triumphed over the enemy of my salvation, I may with thee and the holy angels, praise the clemency of God who, having refused mercy to the rebellious angels after their fall, has granted repentance and forgiveness to fallen man. Amen.
Prayer to St. Michael, “Long Version,” by Pope Leo XIII
O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, and spirits of evil.
Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist Thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels.
Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men; his depraved mind, corrupt heart, his spirit of lying, impiety, blasphemy, his pestilential breath of impurity and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the Spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.
Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate Thee as their protector and patron; in Thee Holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to Thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, do Thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered, hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee
LET US PRAY
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.
For more information about the Angels and Archangels, see chapter 6 of The Magic of Catholicism.