Thursday, September 29, 2005

Michaelmas

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Today is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels--a favorite of many. These hosts of heaven are ordered in what we commonly call the “nine choirs of angels.” These are divided into three triads (groups of three).

The first angelic triad continually worships God in his immediate presence. These spirits consist of the exalted love of the fiery seraphim, the complete intuition of the cherubim, and the perfect power of the thrones. The primary function of their being is the perpetual adoration and praise of the divine substance.

The second triad extends this divine praise and love to the creation. The spiritual dominions, princedoms, and powers execute the love, knowledge, and power of God relative to the general structure, order, and governance of the cosmos.

The last triad serves the divine love towards humans when the virtues, the ruling archangels, and the angels come to serve and care for people on earth. Angels then truly become “messengers” of divine favor. It was the Archangel Gabriel who gave the message of the Incarnation to the blessed Virgin Mary .Two other archangels are mentioned in Scripture. As the prince of the Seraphim, St. Michael led the heavenly host in the battle against the rebelling spirits. And St. Raphael the Archangel delivered Tobias’ wife from demonic obsession. Raphael is also commonly associated with the angelic trembling of the waters in the pool of Bethesda (Jn 5:2-4).

O holy Angels, watch over us at all times during this perilous life;
O holy Archangels, be our guides on the way to heaven;
O heavenly choir of Principalities, govern us in body and soul;
O mighty Powers, preserve us against the wiles of the demons;
O celestial Virtues, give us strength and courage in the battle of life;
O powerful Dominions, obtain for us dominion over the rebellion of our flesh;
O sacred Thrones, grant us peace with God and man;
O brilliant cherubim, illumine our minds with heavenly knowledge;
O burning Seraphim, enkindle our hearts with the fire of charity.

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard 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 down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

O prince most glorious, Michael the Archangel, keep us in remembrance: here and everywhere, always, entreat the Son of God for us.

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