30 September 2008

On Saint Michael the Archangel

Yesterday Mother Church celebrated the Feast of the Archangels Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Thursday she will celebrate the Memorial of the Guardian Angels. We might call this "Angel Week." In light of this, I'll try to do a few posts this week on the angels.

Let us first start with the Archangel Michael. Saint John relates to us the vision he saw of heaven:

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 (Revelation 12:7-9).
The name of this dragon, of the Devil, of Satan, is Lucifer, a name meaning "Light-Bearer." The Archangel Michael - who's name means "Who is like God?" - led the host of heaven in battle against Lucifer.

How did Michael fight Lucifer? I like to think that Michael confronted Lucifer with the power of his own name. After Lucifer and his angels rebelled, Michael asked, "Who is like God?" and Lucifer answered, "I am." Michael shouted with great power and force, "No, you are not!" and cast the Light-Bearer out of heaven.

Is this not what Lucifer always does? In refusing to serve God and to obey the Lord Lucifer posits himself as God.

Is this not precisely what he did in the Garden of Eden? He said to Eve, "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God" (Genesis 3:5).

Saint Michael comes to each of us, asking the question, "Who is like God?" We would do well to answer, "Not I."

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