Whatever curious and interesting subject strikes my fancy, be it silly or serious, gets posted for your reading pleasure.

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Feast Day of an Angelic Champion

September 29 is the feast day held in honour St. Michael, the Confessor of God's Infinite Divinity, and the Champion of Heaven and the Church.

I cannot let this time pass without another blog post in his honour, and he has never failed to answer one of my prayers!

As Tradition states, he received his name right after the creation of the angels when Lucifer rebelled against the Creator and declared himself to be like unto God. While the rebellious seraph-turned-devil was busy stirring up rebels for his cause, an Archangel came forward from the lower choirs, he was not even a seraph like Lucifer, or a blazing cherub. “Who is like unto God?” became his battle cry as he mustered the loyal angels. Together they drove out Lucifer renamed Satan and all the other evil rebels from Heaven.

As a reward, God raised up Michael - “Who is Like unto God”- and made him Prince over all the Angels, and as we know from Scripture and Tradition he is one of the Seven that stand before the Throne of the Almighty.

Tradition also holds that one of St. Michael's duties is to lead the souls of the recently departed to their Particular Judgement before God, and he has also been given the task of weighing every good and evil deed in the Eternal Scales to see if that soul is fit for Heaven or Hell. He himself confirmed this to the approved mystic Marie-Julie Jahenny (1850-1941) in addition to revelations about his other roles in Heaven: he also conducts the Angelic choirs and the angelic symphonies, so in fact, he is the Angel of Music when you think about it. He also revealed some other interesting details, Heaven has books and Rosaries!

You can find out more about that interesting apparition, click here: Conversation with St. Michael, Prince of the Angels

In another revelation to Marie-Julie Jahenny, he declared that after God, the power granted to him is very great, and that if we knew the extent of this power, we would not be slack in offering our prayers to him and asking for protection. (Hint hint!) No wonder! The demons never sleep, and we need all the protection we can get.

He also revealed to Marie-Julie other fantastic revelations about the future of France and the Church, which will affect the whole world: he will be there to protect the Great Catholic Monarch when he arrives to restore the absolute monarchy, and with his flaming sword will root out everything the Freemasons had tried to accomplish in their efforts to destroy both Church and monarchies, also warning of the chastisements that will take place before then as a warning. You can find more here: Revelations of St. Michael to Marie-Julie Jahenny.

There are some interesting theories about St. Michael being the Angel of Peace of Fatima, Portugal. After living in Portugal for many years now, I've discovered by talking to the locals that St. Michael was always traditionally venerated as the Guardian Angel of the country. One story I've heard is the miraculous apparition of the “red sword and wing” in the sky during the medieval period as the Christian soldiers were driving the Muslims out of the country, which led to the founding of “St. Michael's Order of the Wing” by the King of the time.

I've tried looking up details online, but nothing is appearing in English on this, however, since this comes from the mouth of monarchists whom I've met who belong to this chivalric Order, I'm going to assume it's true, eventhough I can't seem to find any dates connected with this apparition of the great red angelic wing and sword in the sky. This may have happened when the knights helped to retake the town of Santarém from the Moors on May 8, 1147. From a source I found it says a feast of St. Michael fell on this day, but sadly, no mention of any apparition! However, you will find St. Michael represented in many churches holding a shield with the emblem of Portugal, and of interest, the Red Wing is featured on the emblems of the revived order currently under the leadership of Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza, pretender to the throne of Portugal.


Left: Cross of the Order of St. Michael of the Wing.

Right: Grand Cross of the Order

Notice the red wing in the emblems.

I cannot help but note this story of the Order's founding also has an interesting connection to the later visions of Fatima. Sr. Lucia says that in one of the visions she saw the Holy Father leading people to a great rugged cross through a destroyed city and a field of war with soldiers shooting and killing many in the procession. Overhead an angel appeared holding out his flaming sword ready to strike the earth, the flames of which were stopped by Our Lady's splendour, he then cried out “Penance! Penance! Penance!”, obviously a warning before the world is struck with great chastisements and wars, which seems very close to the warnings St. Michael gives to Marie-Julie Jahenny, who was shown his flaming sword:

I see that the battle will begin between Saint Michael and Hell, between good and evil.... Mary Immaculate watches over us, what have we to fear?” (Ecstasy date September 29, 1877).

There is an interesting story that has circulated stating that on the day the Angel of Peace gave the three children of Fatima Holy Communion, a consecrated Host and chalice went missing in a church while a festa was happening, (either the church was dedicated to St. Michael, or, the festa at the church that day was held in his honour, perhaps both! Forgive me for being fuzzy on the details). However, the chalice was later returned, but the Host was still missing. Some see this as confirmation St. Michael indeed is the Angel of Peace of Fatima.

(Site of the Apparition of the Angel of Peace where
 he brought the children Holy Communion in Aljustrel, Fatima, Portugal.)

Of course, there is another fascinating modern-day apparition of St. Michael, which allegedly happened during the Korean War, the story of which was spread after a letter written by a young Marine named Michael (of all things) to his mother in 1950 caught the attention of a Navy Chaplain, Fr. Walter Muddy, who tracked down the marine and verified the details of the letter, including the battle fought, etc. The chaplain then publicly read the letter aloud in 1951 before a crowd of 5,000 Marines at the Navla base in San Diego, California. Since then the letter has been published and spread like wildfire ever since:

Dear Mom,

I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but I have got to tell somebody.

First off, I am in a hospital. Now don't worry, ya hear me, don't worry. I was wounded but I am okay you understand. Okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month. But that is not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn't have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I always have.

When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me?

"Michael, Michael of the morning fresh crop of Heaven adorning," you know the rest of it.

(Note: it is believed this is the prayer said by the Marine):

Michael, Michael of the morning,
Fresh chord of Heaven adorning,
Keep me safe today,
And in time of temptation
Drive the devil away. Amen.

Well I said it everyday. Sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.

I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen. He must have been 6' 4" and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, "Cold ain't it." And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather.

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly. I looked at him,

"I have never seen you before, I thought I knew every man in the outfit."

"I just joined at the last minute", he replied. "The name is Michael." 
"Is that so," I said surprised. "That is my name too."

"I know," he said and then went on, "Michael, Michael of the morning . . ."

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn't I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen. Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.

Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke the silence. "We are going to have some trouble up ahead."

He must have been in fine physical shape or he was breathing so lightly I couldn't see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation.

Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

"Michael, " I shouted in sudden alarm.

I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, "This will stop shortly."

His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise.

Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn't anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

"Down Michael, " I screamed and hit the frozen earth.

I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing. 
Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits.

But there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake.

At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know.

I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking well, this is not so bad.

Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor.

As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an Angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights.

Well, that is the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment's rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

"Where is Michael," I asked.

I saw them look at one another. "Where's who?" asked one. "Michael, Michael that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."

"Kid," said the sergeant, "You weren't walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow."

He looked at me, curiously. "How did you do it kid?"

"How'd I do what?" I asked half angry despite my wound. "This marine named Michael and I were just . . ."

"Son, " said the sergeant kindly, "I picked this outfit myself and there just ain't another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it."

He paused for a minute, "Just how did you do it kid? We heard shots. There hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle. And there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."

I didn't say anything, what could I say. I could only look open-mouthed with amazement. It was then the sergeant spoke again, "Kid," he said gently, "everyone of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke."

That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that is what happened.

Love, Michael”

Look how this young man was rewarded for honouring his name-saint each day and praying for protection!

Again, as St. Michael said to Marie-Julie Jahenny September 29, 1877: "After God, I am your protector and your support. Have recourse to me. If you knew my power, you would be more eager to address your prayers to me each day."

Of course, I could not end this blog without including one of my favourite poems written in his honour by G.K. Chesterton and fist published in 1929. It is a brilliant tribute to Heaven's Champion, the opining lines of which are reminiscent of the prayer that saved the young Marine:

Michael of the Morning,
Michael of the Army of the Lord,
Stiffen thou the hand upon the still sword, Michael,
Folded and shut upon the sheathed sword, Michael,
Under the fullness of the white robes falling,
Gird us with the secret of the sword.

When the world cracked because of a sneer in Heaven,
Leaving out for all time a scar upon the sky,
Thou didst rise up against the Horror in the highest,
Dragging down the highest that looked down on the Most High:
Rending from the seventh heaven the hell of exaltation
Down the seven heavens till the dark seas burn:
Thou that in thunder threwest down the Dragon
Knowest in what silence the Serpent can return.

Down through the universe the vast night falling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning!)
Far down the universe the deep calms calling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Sword!)
Bid us not forget in the baths of all forgetfulness,
In the sigh long drawn from the frenzy and the fretfulness
In the huge holy sempiternal silence
In the beginning was the Word.

When from the deeps of dying God astounded
Angels and devils who do all but die
Seeing Him fallen where thou couldst not follow,
Seeing Him mounted where thou couldst not fly,
Hand on the hilt, thou hast halted all thy legions
Waiting the Tetelestai and the acclaim,
Swords that salute Him dead and everlasting
God beyond God and greater than His Name.

Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the battle-cry!)
Round us and under us the thronged world sleeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Charge!)
Guard us the Word; the trysting and the trusting
Edge upon the honour and the blade unrusting
Fine as the hair and tauter than the harpstring
Ready as when it rang upon the targe.

He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth:
He that giveth law unto us; not as the scribes:
Shall he be softened for the softening of the cities
Patient in usury; delicate in bribes?
They that come to quiet us, saying the sword is broken,
Break man with famine, fetter them with gold,
Sell them as sheep; and He shall know the selling
For He was more than murdered. He was sold.

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering,
Michael of the marching on the mountains of the Lord,
Marshal the world and purge of rot and riot
Rule through the world till all the world be quiet:
Only establish when the world is broken
What is unbroken is the Word.

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