Saint Michael the
Archangel, Model of the Perfect Knight
September 28, 1966
By Plinio Correa de Oliveira
St. Michael The Catholic calendar reads: Saint Michael, Prince of the Heavenly Host fought the rebel angels in the heavenly battle. He continues to lead the battle to free us from the devil. Our guardian angels depend on him. He is the custodian angel of the Church and the one who presents the Eucharistic Oblation to the Eternal Father. We are in the novena of Our Lady of the Rosary and in the novena of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces.
I call your attention to the fact that Saint Michael is the chief who fought against the devil and cast him into hell. He is the leader of the guardian angels of individuals and also of the guardian angels of institutions. He is himself the guardian angel of the Institution of institutions, the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.
St. Michael Therefore, he has a custodian function, which one may ask how it relates to his attitude or mission of casting into hell those who rose up against Our Lord, on the one hand, and on the other hand the protection he gives the Church and men in this vale of tears and in this arena of life. And we see that these two missions are concatenated. He defended God; God wanted to employ him as His shield against the devil. God wants him to be the shield of men against the devil. God wants him to be the shield of the Holy Catholic Church against the devil. But he is not merely a shield: he is also a sword. He not only defends but also defeats and casts into hell.
Quis Ut Deus This is, therefore, the twofold mission of Saint Michael. This is why in the Middle Ages the knights considered Saint Michael the first of all knights; the heavenly knight, perfectly loyal as a knight must be, ideally strong as a knight must be, pure as an angel as a knight must be, and victorious as a knight must be; a knight who placed his whole confidence in God, and then, after she was born, also in Our Lady.
So we should consider admirable Saint Michael as our natural ally in the struggle; because the counter-revolutionary movement wants to be nothing other than a group of men who execute, on a human level, mutatis mutandis, the task of Saint Michael the Archangel; in other words, to defend the honor of God, the glory of Our Lady, the Catholic Church, and Christian civilization. Therefore, we see this has an enormous affinity with us and that it is very fitting for counter-revolutionaries to make Saint Michael the Archangel their special patron.
Dom Guaranger has a text on the angels contemplative devotion:
The Church considers Saint Michael as the mediator of her liturgical prayer. He stands between humanity and divinity. For His own glory, God, Who has established in admirable fashion the visible and invisible hierarchies, abundantly employs in His service these heavenly spirits who incessantly contemplate the adorable face of the Father and who know, better than men, how to contemplate the beauty of His infinite perfections.
This is where it goes on to say that Saint Michael also presents the Eucharistic oblation to the Eternal Father. And this is also how he appeared to the three little shepherds at Fatima with the chalice in hand.
Mi cha El: who is like God? Of itself, this name expresses, in its brevity, the most perfect adoration, the most complete recognition of divine transcendence, and a creatures humblest confession of his own nothingness; he is, therefore, the model of humility.
Because he who exclaims that no one is like God, exclaims that he himself is nothing; this is perfect humility. The knight's form of humility is not a gooey, sugary and illogic sentimentality.
St. Michael So also the Church invites the heavenly spirits to bless the Lord and sing His praises; to laud and bless Him incessantly. This contemplative vocation of the angels is the model of our own, as the beautiful preface to the Sacramentary of Saint Leo reminds us. It is truly fitting to render graces to Thee Who teaches us through the Apostle that our lives are meant for heaven; Who benevolently wishes us to transport ourselves in spirit to the place where these whom we venerate serve Thee, and especially to soar to those heights on the feast of the blessed Saint Michael the Archangel.
This is a remarkable trait of devotion to the angels. The angels are inhabitants of the heavenly Court. And in the heavenly Court they live in eternal contemplation, a contemplation of one who sees God face to face; and all the great mystics tell us about their visions of parties that are held in heaven, which are true feasts indeed. They are not mere images or chimeras; they are true feasts in which God successively manifests His grandeurs and they acclaim Him with new triumphs which absolutely never end.
There is a heavenly happiness, a sense that heaven is the motherland of our soul and precisely the order of things for which we have been created; the one that fully corresponds to all our aspirations. There is such a sense of heavenly happiness through the face-to-face contemplation of God, Who is the absolute perfection of all things that some of it can and must transpire to earth. And in epochs of true faith some of that happiness filters down; something of that piety is felt by pious souls and communicated through the most pious ones to become a common treasure of the whole Church.
And that is what we lack so direly nowadays: One has no idea of heavenly happiness; and without the idea of a heavenly happiness one has no appetite for heaven; and people wallow in the sheer craving of the goods of the earth. But if they were able to understand even for a moment what the consolation of the Holy Ghost is like, what a grace from the Holy Ghost is like, what type of happiness the consideration of the heavenly goods actually brings; if they were able to understand that even for a minute they would begin to become detached from the goods of the earth and to understand how everything is fleeting, how all this is nothing, how there are values which are above all this and make the earth a little handful of dust.
That is exactly what is missing and what the angels can obtain for us; they, who are inundated with this happiness and, once in a while, communicate it to the saints. There is a kind of mystical phenomenon which is a concert Saint Therese the Little Flower experienced it and tells about in the History of a Soul a marvelous, faraway concert with marvelous, otherworldly harmonies. It is a little bit of the eternal canticle of the angels that thus arrives to the ears of the blessed, precisely to give them an appetite for the things of heaven.
This appetite is abysmally absent in our times. Many people are only interested in and enthralled with things of the earth money, politicking, worldliness, trivia in the daily news but they are not enthused with elevated things, doctrinal things, and even less for specifically heavenly things.
Saint Michael book of hours: Let us
therefore ask the angels to communicate to us this desire of heavenly things
with which they overflow. This is an excellent intention to be added to the
feast of Saint Michael the Archangel: that he make us his imitators and perfect
knights of Our Lady on this earth.
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: "Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!"
He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint Michael, which is the original version:
Original - Prayer to St. Michael
O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.
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, 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 of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent 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 the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as 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.
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 find
mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing 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 ye 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.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.
Roman Raccolta, July 23, 1898, supplement approved July 31, 1902,
London: Burnes, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1935, 12th edition.
Short Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
The well-known short version of this prayer follows in English and Latin. The Pope ordered this prayer to be recited daily after Low Mass in all the churches throughout the Catholic world. However this practice was almost completely swept away in the 1960s by liturgical changes made in the wake of Vatican Council II.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in
battle, be our protection against the malice 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 evil spirits who wander through the
world for the ruin of souls.