On Michaelmas Day (Sept. 29, 1815)

By Richard Challoner, 1815

Consider first, that on this day, the church of God celebrates the festival of St. Michael, and of all the heavenly host of Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, and the rest of the orders of blessed spirits: wherefore the devotion of this day is: 1st, To join with all these heavenly choirs in giving glory, praise, and thanksgiving to God, Who created these angelic spirits to glorify Him; and Who has inspired them with all unspeakable love for us; and has sent them to minister for us, in order to our receiving the inheritance of salvation, Heb. i. 14. 2dly, we ought on this day to congratulate with these heavenly citizens, and their great leader St. Michael, these friends of God, and of ours; and to rejoice in their eternal happiness.
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Secondly, We ought to associate ourselves with them, in order jointly to promote the common cause of our common master; that is, the greater glory of God, and the advancement of His divine service and love; and with them to fight His battles against the devil and his rebel angels. O, Christians, how happy, how glorious is this cause in which both we and they are engaged! And how advantageous is it for us to have such auxiliaries in this great warfare!
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Consider Thirdly, what lessons we have to learn from the behavior of these blessed spirits, from the first moment of their creation; and what we are to imitate in them. They no sooner received their being, but they turned to their Creator by adoration and love; and dedicated themselves eternally to Him. We were made for the same end as they were that is, to glorify God; and, like them, were strictly obliged to turn to our Creator, as soon as we were capable of knowing him; and to dedicate our whole being to His love and service. But have we done so? Have we not rather, like Lucifer, and his associates, turned away from God, at our first coming to the use of reason, and preferred every empty toy before Him? The good Angels are perpetually attentive to God, wheresoever they are, or whatever they are about; their eye and their heart is always upon Him; they are perpetually jealous of His honor, and ever laboring to procure, not their own glory, but the glory of their great king. Do we imitate them? Is the eye of our soul turned towards God in all our employments? Are we always seeking His greater glory. If so, like the Angels, wheresoever we are, and whatsoever we are doing, we shall in some measure have heaven with us, even here upon earth.
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Consider Fourthly, from the gospel of this day, (St. Matt, xviii.) what kind of exercises of virtue are to bring us effectually to the eternal society of the Angels. We must be converted from the corruption of pride, which cast the devil out of heaven, and become as little children, by innocence and humility, or we shall have no share with the good Angels in the kingdom of heaven. There is no room for pride in that blessed society: the devil is the king over all the children of pride, Job xli. 25. There is no room there for any that willfully associate themselves with the rebels (that have been cast out from heaven); by corrupting others, or suffering themselves to be corrupted and drawn away from their allegiance; by giving or taking scandal against their own souls. The true way to arrive at the happy company of the Angels is humility, innocence, and purity. If we would come amongst them, we must cleanse ourselves from all defilements of the flesh, and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, 2 Cor. vii. 1. For nothing that is defiled shall enter into that blessed city, where they dwell for ever, Rev. xxi. 27.
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Conclude so to honor St. Michael, and all the good Angels, as to imitate their fidelity to their God; their constant attention to promote His glory; and their constant opposition to all the enterprises of His enemy. The name of Michael signifies who is like God? Let this be your motto in all your spiritual warfare: at all times stick close to God, and He will stick close to you; prefer His honor before all other considerations; and He will speedily crush Satan under your feet: yea, He will enable you to walk upon the asp and upon the basilisk, and to tread upon the lion and the dragon, (Ps. xc.) and nothing shall have power to hurt you.
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Instruction for the Feast of the Holy Archangel Michael (September 29)
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The Prophet Daniel calls the holy Angel Michael the prince of the angels (x. 13.); the holy Apostle Jude names him an archangel, and John in the Apocalypse describes the contest between him and Lucifer, in which St. Michael drove the other out of heaven. Who then can doubt, that the Archangel Michael from the beginning of the world’s creation has been highly honored by God? Several miraculous visions of this holy archangel on Mount Gargano in Italy and at Tuba in France, and many wonderful graces which God granted through his intercession, gave special occasion in the sixth and seventh centuries to his public veneration and to the instituting of festivals in his honor. He is also deserving of special honor, because God has given him to His holy Church as her protector, as He had previously given him to the Jewish synagogues; as he carefully guarded the Jewish people entrusted to him, so he guards the children of God’s Church, placed under his care, preserving them in the true faith, defending them against temptations in life, but especially against the attacks of Satan in the hour of death, for which reason our mother, the Church, exhorts us often to turn to this holy archangel, saying: “Holy Archangel Michael, protect us in the battle, that we may not perish at the terrible judgment.”
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The Introit of Mass as on the Feast of the Guardian Angels, as also the Gospel, which treats of scandal, is read on this day, because St. Michael so bravely resisted the scandal of Satan, conquering him and driving him with his followers from heaven. (Apoc. xii. 7 – 9.)
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PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who, by a wonderful order, hast regulated the ministry of angels and men, grant that those who are always ministering before Thee in heaven, may defend our lives here on earth. Through etc.
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LESSON. (Apoc. i. 1 – 5.) In Those Days: God gave unto him to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass: and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John: who hath given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen. Blessed is he, that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy: and keepeth these things which are written in it. For the time is at hand. John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace from him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth, who hath loved us, and hath washed us from our sins in his own blood.
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EXPLANATION. This lesson is the beginning of the mysterious revelation which St. John received on the Island of Patmos, and in which in a series of allegories he presents a perfect picture of the fate of the Church of God from its first contest until its final victory at the end of the world. The seven spirits before the throne of God, are those holy angels to whom God has given the greatest power to work for our salvation, among them the holy Archangel Michael.
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See how good God is to us, since He gives us such powerful spirits, the nearest to His throne, to be our special protectors.
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PRAYER TO THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL. Great prince of heaven, St. Michael, I commend my body and soul to thy protection, from this day henceforth I choose thee for my daily protector and intercessor, and I beseech thee graciously to assist me now and at all times, but especially at the end of my life. Keep me from timidity and obtain for me from God the remission of my sins and complete resignation to His divine will, so that my soul, consoled and cheerful, may leave my body; receive her then according to thy office, and lead her through the ranks of thy holy comrades to the face of God, in the enjoyment of whose presence she will be eternally blessed. Amen.

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