Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost—29 September AD 2019
Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel
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Prayers in time of Windstorm
Chaplet of Saint Michael
(Longer) prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel
29, is the anniversary of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint
Michael the Archangel. When I went to do some research on the Basilica,
I found that there a countless number of basilicas dedicated to Saint
Michael, including several in these United States, and at least one here
in Florida. At first I was pretty sure that the Basilica in question was
the Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo on Mount Gargano, Italy, s cave
located near the Adriatic, to the east of Rome. This Basilica dates
back to the year 490 and an apparition of Saint Michael himself, who
dedicated this cave as a church for himself.
After a little more
looking, I found that our Basilica is in Rome, near to Saint Peter's, in
what used to be the tomb of the Emperor Hadrian—a large circular
building that was consecrated by Pope Boniface IV on this date somewhere
between 609 and 615.
The tomb was the site of an apparition to Pope Saint Gregory the great
in 590 of Saint Michael sheathing his sword as sign that a plague that
gripped Rome was then ending. Over the centuries the building served as
a church, a castle, a fortress and an ecclesiastical prison. In each
case, it is generally referred to as Castel Sant-Angelo. In 1277
Nicholas III connected the castel to the Vatican by means of a passage
way (the Passetto de Borgo) which served several popes as an
escape from siege on the Vatican.
On this day, the
Church honors the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, as well as
the entire choirs of angels and archangels. You already know something
about the nine choirs of angels if you were here early enough this
morning to recite the Chaplet of Saint Michael.
Michael's name is a
rhetorical question that translates from the Hebrew to the English “Who
is like God?” It is spoken with the conviction that there is no one who
can compare favorably with God. Michael’s name was the battle cry of
the good angels who fought against the rebellious angels like Lucifer,
who thought himself to be very much like God!
(12:7) tells us that Michael will victoriously lead a re-engagement of
this battle, which will take place at the end of time.
The Greek Liturgy names Saint Michael as “Archistrategos” a term roughly
translated as head strategist, or perhaps “general” of the heavenly
He is found also in
where he helped the Jews to return from captivity in Persia; and in
Daniel 12 where it is predicted that he will protect God's people
against the Anti-Christ in the end times.
In his Epistle,
Saint Jude has Michael hiding the dead body of Moses to keep the Jews
from worshiping it—only to find himself in contention with Satan, who is
trying to make the body available for idolatry.
Church attributes four major functions to Saint Michael:
To fight against Satan.
Michael is, after all, the “prince of the heavenly host” who has been
assigned to resist the army of evil since the very beginning of time.
Nonetheless, the duty remains our own as well.
To rescue souls at the
point of death—perhaps by inspiring final repentance and/or by arranging
for the deathbed reception of the Sacraments
To bring the souls of the
departed before God for their particular judgment.
To champion God’s
people—the Jews in Old Testament times; the Church in recent times.
Giving patronage of the military orders.
We are going to
recite Pope Leo XIII’s longer prayer to Saint Michael at the end of
Mass. It was written in 1884, after the Pope had a vision of a
conversation between Christ and the Devil., during which the Devil asked
for more time to destroy the Church, The prayer really seems
appropriate to the modern Church. Leo has the Devil pouring out “the
venom of his malice on men” who are then filled and inebriated with
“bitterness against the Church” and who have “laid impious hands on Her
most sacred possessions.” They have invaded the Vatican itself!
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.
we are small and weak, and there is very little we can do to oppose the
diabolically inspired enemies of the Church. But in Leo XIII we have
the authority of a great Pope—and in his prayers to Saint Michael we
have bold invocations of the Archangel tasked with the care of souls and
the defense of the Church. It is up to us to make these prayers our
Today we will say
the longer prayer—we say the shorter prayer after nearly every Mass we
offer. So, please attend Holy Mass as often as you are able, and make
the prayer to Saint Michael your very own personal prayer—pray for an
end to the confusion which plagues the modern day Church!