Collect of the Day: Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael and the Devil by Raffaello Sanzio, 1518
 

The Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel

(Michaelmas)
Bless the Lord, all ye His Angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute His word, hearkening to the voice of His orders.
(From the introit of the day’s Mass, Ps. 102, 20)


Collect of the day


Deus, qui, miro órdine, Angelórum ministéria hominúmque dispénsas : concéde propítius ; ut, a quibus tibi ministrántibus in cælo semper assístitur, ab his in terra vita nostra muniátur. Per Dóminum…

O God, who hast constituted the services of Angels and of men in a wonderful order, mercifully grant, that they who ever stand before Thy face to do Thee service in heaven, may also defend our life upon earth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity…

Lesson – Apocalypse of St. John, 1. 1-5 / Gospel – St. Matthew, 18. 1-10
From
The Liturgical Year
by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.
The glorious Archangel appears today at the head of the heavenly army: There was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels. In the sixth century, the dedication of the churches of St. Michael on Monte Gargano and in the Roman Circus increased the celebrity of this day, which had however been long before consecrated by Rome to the memory of all the heavenly Virtues.
The east commemorates on the sixth of September an apparition of the victorious Prince at Chone in Phrygia; while the eighth of November is their solemnity of the angels, corresponding to our feast of today, bearing the title: “Synaxis of Saint Michael prince of the heavenly host, and of the other spiritual Powers.” Although the term synaxis is usually applied only to religious assemblies here on earth, we are informed that in this instance it also signified the gathering of the faithful angels at the cry of their chief, and their union eternally sealed by their victory.
Who, then, are these heavenly Powers, whose mysterious combat heads the first page of history? Their existence is attested by the traditions of all nations as well as by the authority of Holy Scripture. If we consult the Church, she teaches us that in the beginning God created simultaneously two natures, the spiritual and the corporal, and afterwards man who is composed of both. The scale of nature descends by gradation from beings made to the likeness of God, to the very confines of nothingness; and by the same degrees the creature mounts upwards to his Creator. God is infinite being, infinite intelligence, infinite love. The creature is forever finite: but man, endowed with a reasoning intellect, and the angel, with an intuitive grasp of truth, are ever, by a continual process of purification, widening the bounds of their imperfect nature, in order to reach, by increase of light, the perfection of greater love.
God alone is simple with that unchangeable productive simplicity, which is absolute perfection excluding the possibility of progress; He is pure Act, in whom substance, power, and operation are on thing. The angel, though entirely independent of matter, is yet subject to the natural weakness necessary to a created being; his is not absolutely simple, for in him action is distinct from power, and power from essence. How much greater is the weakness of man’s composite nature, unable to carry on the operations of the intellect without the aid of the senses!
“Compared with ours,” says one of the most enlightened brethren of the angelic doctor, “how calm and how luminous is the knowledge of pure spirits! They are not doomed to the intricate discoursings of our reason, which runs after the truth, composes and analyzes, and laboriously draws conclusions from premises. They instantaneously apprehend the whole compass of primary truths. Their intuition is so prompt, so lively, so penetrating, that it is impossible for them to be surprised, as we are, into error. If they deceive themselves, it must be of their own will. The perfection of their will is equal to the perfection of their intellect. They know not what it is to be disturbed by the violence of appetites. Their love is without emotion; and their hatred of evil is as calm and as wisely tempered as their love. A will so free can know no perplexity as to its aims, no inconstancy in its resolutions. Whereas with us long and anxious meditation is necessary before we make a decision, it is the property of the angles to determine by a single act the object of their choice. God proposed to them, as He does to us, infinite beatitude in the vision of His own Essence; and to fit them for so great an end, He endowed them with grace at the same time as He gave them being. In one instant they said Yes or No; in one instant they freely and deliberately decided their own fate.”
Let us not be envious. By nature the angel is superior to us; but, to which of the angels hath He said at any time, “Thou art My Son?” The only-begotten Son of God did not take to Himself the angelic nature. When on earth, He acknowledged the temporary subordination of humanity to those pure spirits, and deigned to receive from them, even as do His brethren in the flesh, the announcements of the divine will, and help and strength. But “God hath not subjected unto angels the world to come,” says the apostle (Heb. II. 5). How can we understand this attraction of God towards what is feeblest? We can only worship it in humble, loving faith. It was Lucifer’s stumbling-block on the day of the great battle in heaven. But the faithful angels prostrated themselves in joyous adoration at the feet of the Infant-God foreshown to them enthroned on Mary’s knee, and then rose up to sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.”
O Christ, my Christ as St. Denis calls Thee, the Church today delightedly proclaims Thee the beauty of the holy angels. Thou, the God-Man, art the lofty height whence purity, light, and love flow down upon the triple hierarchy of the nine choirs. Thou art the supreme Hierarch, the center of worlds, controller of the deifying mysteries at the eternal feast.
Flaming Seraphim, glittering Cherubim, steadfast Thrones, court of honour to the Most High, and possessed of the noblest inheritance: according to the Areopagite, ye receive your justice, your splendour, and your burning love by direct communications from our Lord: and through you, all grace overflows from Him upon the holy city.
Dominations, Virtues, and Powers; sovereign disposers, prime movers, and rulers of the universe: in whose name do ye govern the world? Doubtless in His whose inheritance it is; in the name of the King of glory, the Man-God, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord of hosts.
Angels, Archangels, and Principalities; heaven’s messengers, ambassadors, and overseers here below: are ye not also, as the apostle says, ministers of the salvation wrought on earth by Jesus, the heavenly High-Priest?
We also, through this same Jesus, O most holy Trinity, glorify Thee, together with the three princely hierarchies, which surround Thy Majesty with their nine immaterial rings as with a many-circled rampart. To tend to Thee, and to draw all things to Thee, is their common law. Purification, illumination, union: by these three ways in succession, or simultaneously, are these noble beings attracted to God, and by the same they attract those who strive to emulate them. Sublime spirits, it is with your gaze ever fixed on high that ye influence those below and around you. Draw plentifully, both for yourselves and for us, from the central fires of the Divinity; purify us from more than the involuntary infirmities of nature; enlighten us; kindle us with your heavenly flames. For the same reason that Satan hates us, ye love us: protect the race of the Word made Flesh against the common enemy. So guard us that we may hereafter be worthy to occupy among you the places left vacant by the victims of pride.
See that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, that their Angels in heaven always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
September 29.—ST. MICHAEL, Archangel.

“MI-CA-EL,” or “Who is like to God?” Such was the cry of the great Archangel when he smote the rebel Lucifer in the conflict of the heavenly hosts, and from that hour he has been known

as “Michael,” the captain of the armies of God, the type of divine fortitude, the champion of every faithful soul in strife with the powers of evil. Thus he appears in Holy Scripture as the guardian of the children of Israel, their comfort and protector in times of sorrow or conflict. He it is who prepares for their return from the Persian captivity, who leads the valiant Maccabees to victory, and who rescues the body of Moses from the envious grasp of the Evil One. And since Christ’s coming the Church has ever venerated St. Michael as her special patron and protector. She invokes him by name in her confession of sin, summons him to the side of her children in the agony of death, and chooses him as their escort from the chastening flames of purgatory to the realms of holy light. Lastly, when Antichrist shall have set up his kingdom on earth, it is Michael who will unfurl once more the standard of the Cross, sound the last trumpet, and binding together the false prophet and the beast, hurl them for all eternity into the burning pool.

Reflection.—”Whenever,” says St. Bernard, “any grievous temptation or vehement sorrow oppresses thee, invoke thy guardian, thy leader; cry out to him, and say, ‘Lord, save us, lest we perish!'”

St. Michael the Archangel by Jaume Huguet, 1456

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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23 Responses to Collect of the Day: Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    Mmh, I was wondering to which day the Feast of the Archangels has been moved (today being a Sunday), but can’t find it in my daily Missal. I guess it’s been passed over entirely until next year.

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  2. Gertrude says:

    Funnily enough JH in the UK in the Ordinary Form, today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary time, but in the Extraordinary Form today is the Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel. In my Church, which is an Abbey, St. Michael is the Patronal Feast, so we celebrated it today. I am not sure if it was common throughout the UK. In Canada perhaps it depends on which form the Parish usually celebrates 😉 Hence I tried to cover both!

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  3. Toad says:

    There was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels.”

    When did the great battle take place?

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  4. Toad says:

    This post has got Toad thinking. First, nobody has yet answered my earlier question, and it is, I think, an important one – because it raises some others.
    1: God created Satan with free will, right? (The story seems to say so.)
    2: God knew in advance, before He made Satan, that Satan would rebel against Him, right?
    3: God knew in advance (foreknowledge) Satan would lose, right? Did Satan know he was going to lose?
    4: Do all angels have free will? (The story seems to say yes.} Do they have foreknowledge?
    5: Are Catholics bound to believe in angels?
    6: Surely Catholics are bound to believe in Satan?
    7: Are Catholics bound to believe in the aforesaid battle that apparently started all this colossal shambles we call “life”?
    8: The battle seems to have been before the creation of man and the world, right? Then why did the angels talk about “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.” when there weren’t any men yet? (Foreknowledge, presumably?)
    9: Did the other angels also know everything that was going to happen? Did the losing angels know in advance they were going to lose? Was it then, some kind of charade?
    10: And what sensible and/or logical reason did Satan and the bad angels have for turning against a totally good Creator? Presumably, they wanted to take over. And then what? How could they have thought they could beat The Almighty? Didn’t they see the futility of it all?

    In other words, what had God done to .. oh, never mind. That’s quite enough questions for a chilly Tuesday morning. Comment too long. Sorry.
    But when I try to think seriously about the above, it all starts to unravel.

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  5. Toad says:

    >>Even more verbiage. Sorry, again. But…

    “If (angels) deceive themselves, it must be of their own will. “

    This is blatant nonsense and I strongly suspect the man realises it. (The weasel word her is “must”)
    How can anyone, angel or not – possibly say: “I know I am deceiving myself?” , because the moment you say that, you are not deceiving yourself, are you?

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  6. kathleen says:

    Toad,
    I’m pretty sure others could do a far better job than me, but I’ll try to answer some of your questions until, hopefully, someone else intervenes.

    Yes Toad, we are obliged to believe in Angels and in the “battle in Heaven” (due to the Angels’ God-given “Free Will” being ill used), resulting in the Fallen Angels (renamed Devils or Demons) being cast out. This is part of Revelation and our Catholic Faith.

    Angels do indeed have foreknowledge…. but up to a point so do we! We know that if we give in to serious temptation we are in danger of going to Hell, don’t we? You might just as well ask: “Why do we, Men, commit mortal sin when we know we are going to “lose” God and endanger our immortal souls?”
    It might sound like a stupid thing to do, right? And it is, being as we are fully aware of the terrible consequences; but nonetheless, in our Pride and weakness, we still let temptation sometimes get the better of us. The same happened to the Angels.
    Satan (Lucifer) had, as did all the “good” Angels, every chance of resisting the temptation to disobey God, but his Pride was just too great. In spite of having foreknowledge of his fate, “Non serviam” was his decision!

    There is no logical answer to your question no.10. We all ask ourselves this all the time. Why do we sin? Why did the Devil refuse the Goodness of God? Sin is indeed futile. We know this too, and yet we are constantly refusing to obey and love God as we ought.

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  7. Toad says:

    “You might just as well ask: “Why do we, Men, commit mortal sin when we know we are going to “lose” God and endanger our immortal souls?”
    I would suggest that, deep down, nobody can really get their head around the ‘terrible consequences.’ How could we be? The consequences are apparently infinite – and we are clearly not?
    We are all a bit optimistic, I think. God knows why.
    However, thanks for your – as always cogent – explanation.

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  8. golden chersonnese says:

    You’ll have to spare some sympathy for the angels, Toad. They apparently only had one chance to try God on and then suffer all the logical consequences. Probably they wanted to see what would really happen if they played “I dares ya” with the Big G.

    After that God found that it was more practical to give more than once chance to His creatures and so created Man and the universe, where we could not look on Him directly as He had hidden Himself more.

    It’s a thought, anyway.

    It makes me think too about “time” and johnhenry. There was apparently a “time”, or something analogous to it, when angels were not, and a “time” also when the angels were when we were not. Time, or something like it, seems to be with God too when he goes a-creating.

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  9. Toad says:

    You are probably right about the angels taking on God, Golden It’s a very human thing to do, as you say. And, they’re only human, after all, aren’t they?

    As the good book rightly says, “An honest God is the noblest work of man,”
    No doubt that goes for angels, too.

    I must admit I find a great deal of Christianity’s notions preposterous. (No! Really?)
    But, for some unaccountable reason, the idea of a pitched battle in heaven between rival gangs of (amour-clad?) angels tops the lot.
    Particularly as everyone knew the result of the fixture in advance, it seems.

    Don’t know why I find it so hard to swallow, exactly.
    Lack of imagination, I suppose.

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  10. golden chersonnese says:

    I would imagine Toad that the rebellious side would have fought wing and wig to take heaven, Toad, if they sensed what the inevitable alternative was to be. They had to try and take God’s power from Him to avoid their fate and are probably still trying.

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  11. Toad says:

    …But the third Angel down (the stained glass one) reminds Toad of Noel Coward – who, having watched “Lawrence of Arabia,” remarked, “Peter O’Toole was so pretty, they should have called it Florence of Arabia.” But then Angels are a bit androgynous. it would seem.
    Doesn’t stop them getting stroppy with each other, though.
    Apparently.

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  12. johnhenrycn says:

    Time: I’m still of the view (not quite a belief) that *time* is a mere construct with no meaning in eternity; and so to speak of the day, month and year when the Satanic battle took place (or whatever), in relation to our own *time* is like comparing apples and oranges. As Brother Burrito reminded us recently, for God, one day is a thousand years and a thousand years is one day.

    “As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

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  13. Toad says:

    Assuming “Time” to be defined as the measurement of change – when there’s no change, there’s no time.
    A bit like watching an Andy Warhol movie. But less boring.

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  14. kathleen says:

    [I protest. It is hard to be serious when naughty old Toad keeps giving me the giggles with his bizarre reasoning! 😆 ]

    However….. Toad, in the same way as Men, who were also given Free Will, the Angels had to make a choice whether or not they wanted to obey God’s Divine Law, and to love and serve God, or not. Their decision, taken long before the creation of Mankind, is now fixed forever. In the same way our state will be determined at the moment of our bodily death, and will also be unchangeable.

    God shows us the happiness and joy such a choice for Him (and hence all that is Love and Goodness) would bring us and how it is that for this destiny we were created. Yet neither Man, nor the superior spiritual Beings, Angels, are/were obliged to accept such a destiny.

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  15. Toad says:

    “I would imagine Toad that the rebellious side would have fought wing and wig to take heaven, Toad, if they sensed what the inevitable alternative was to be. “

    But if The Naughty Angels had taken heaven, they’d only have made it straight away into Hell, wouldn’t they, Golden?
    And we’ve already got a working one of them, or so it seems.
    So what would be the use of that?

    (Quite ridiculous – but very amusing – argument, this!)

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  16. Toad says:

    “..It is hard to be serious when naughty old Toad keeps giving me the giggles with his bizarre reasoning! 😆 ]”
    Fret not, Kathleen, It’s equally hard for Toad not to giggle when contemplating the bizarre concept of a lot of tin-clad, be-winged, Angels having an almighty punch-up in heaven – upon which all our futures will later depend.
    In fact, he can’t.</i.
    You can understand that, no doubt, and sympathise.

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  17. johnhenrycn says:

    “A bit like watching an Andy Warhol movie.”

    I think eternity might be a bit more like Groundhog Day, in the sense that the same things happen over and over and forever, but with the participants gaining a deeper and richer understanding of the glory of it all as they experience it. And I’m not even a Buddhist.

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  18. Toad says:

    Yet another ridiculous thought re:
    The Great Angel Battle in Heaven
    As Angels are incorporeal – in what manner did they fight the battle? If Catholics are bound to believe in this momentous event – as Kathleen tells us – they must know how, surely?

    We know for a fact there are swords in Heaven, because God obligingly dropped one down for Joan of Arc, to kill the English with.
    But Angels have no hands to hold one. And no thumbs to poke in each others’ eyes.
    Hmm….Difficult.

    “And I’m not even a Buddhist.”
    How do you know that, JH?

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  19. Toad says:

    “There was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels.”

    If there are dragons in Heaven, maybe there are dogs and cats.
    Comforting thought.

    (Note to Moderators: If Heaven and Hell are real places, should they not be capitalised, as a matter of style? Viz extract above. What about Angels, also? And The Dragon?)

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  20. johnhenrycn says:

    There are definitely dogs in heaven. Not as saved souls, but as the animals they always were and always will be. Just my personal hope, which may not qualify for a passing grade in Theology 101, but there you go. One thing about dogs, though, is that their perception of smell is so acute, it’s now believed they can detect disease, as well as drugs. So who’s to say that they cannot see things we cannot?

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  21. Toad says:

    ..Then it’s time Toad repented.

    Dogs do see things we cannot.
    I have a bodega – a wine cave – and none of the dogs will ever venture in there.
    They see something down there that I don’t.

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  22. Brother Burrito says:

    Maybe they’ve noticed that after you have communed with the Demon Drink that resides down there, you lose your odour of sanctity?

    Just a hypothesis.

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  23. Toad says:

    …More likely ‘odour of sanity.’
    But you might be right.

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