St. Michael is an archangel (Greek origin: arch=chief; angel)
Archangels are God’s special messengers during times of great importance in the history of salvation and in events affecting the human race. There are three (3) named archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
The name Michael is a question: “Who is like God?”
This question brings to mind that God is Almighty and sovereign and all powerful. Archangel Michael is loyal and obedient in service in his love of God. St. Michael will defend all who love God, and defeat all who spread the darkness of evil. The name Michael appears in the Old Testament (Book of Daniel) and in the New Testament (Book of Revelation and Epistle of St. Jude).
The short prayer to St. Michael was written by Pope Leo XIII.
It became a public devotion as a prayer intention to protect the Catholic Church in 1886. A longer version of the prayer exists but it is not as well known.
The honor given to St. Michael is an ancient tradition that dates back to the 4th century of the Church. St. Michael is a common patron saint of many Catholic and Orthodox churches.
In most Eastern Churches, November 8 is the Feast of St. Michael and all heavenly hosts. The name given to the feast day is: The Synaxis of Holy Archangel Michael and all Angelic Powers. In the Western Church, St. Michael is honored on September 29th.
Every nation and every Christian has their own guardian angel.
When we actively participate in Liturgy,
we combine our hymns of praise and prayers of thanksgiving with all the heavenly hosts.
Icon of St. Michael
St. Michael is the Commander of the Heavenly hosts; he is most frequently depicted in icons holding a shield and spear. He is attentive and on guard; St. Michael is portrayed as battle ready and strikingly poised to respond to God’s commands. St. Michael defeated Satan and the evil powers casting them out of Paradise; and is victorious over them, including at the end time final battle. He is the guardian and protector of the Church. St. Michael is a leader above all angelic powers and model of a spiritual warrior against the darkness of evil. We pray to St. Michael to protect us in the spiritual battles we face in our temporal realm and to guard our Church, those in ministry, our clergy, and our families and homes.
St. Michael Triumphant described in the New Testament:
Revelation 12:7-9 Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. (NABRE)