Dear friends in Christ,
Today is one of the great red-letter days in the church calendar, the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. Sometimes this feast day is called Michaelmas, since we are meant to celebrate Holy Eucharist (the Mass) on this day.
This feast day celebrates not only Saint Michael the Archangel, but all the angels and archangels. Unfortunately, many of us suffer from an impoverished understanding of angels. In a world where we are presented with angels as things to adorn pillows and to appear on cheesy art, we forget that angels are not really sweet baby-like creatures.
The scriptures make it clear that angels are often terrifying. There’s a reason the scriptures tell us that many of their conversations with humans begin with “Be not afraid.” Not only are angels themselves frightening, but they often bring messages from God to humanity that also could be scary.
So what do these somewhat terrifying creatures have to do with us in the year 2021? I for one am profoundly grateful for Saint Michael and the whole company of angels. Michael is a warrior for good, someone who rights wrong and seeks justice.
One of the great hymns for today’s feast day is “Christ the fair glory” (listen to St. Thomas Fifth Avenue singing it). The second verse invokes Saint Michael.
Send thine archangel Michael to our succor; / peace-maker blessed, may he banish from us / striving and hatred, so that for the peaceful / all things may prosper.
There is a battle going on in our world today, good versus evil. If you don’t believe me, look at your favorite news website. Fortunately, angels are warriors for good.
As we say every Sunday, we are joined in our worship with angels and archangels. The heavenly host cares about us and our world, and it isn’t just in worship that angels do their work. Aren’t you glad we have Saint Michael and all the angels interceding on our behalf?
A blessed Michaelmas to one and all.
Image credit: Icon of St. Michael the Archangel. 14th century, Byzantine. Via Wikimedia Commons.
More from our ministry:
Coming next week, on Spirituals and Justice: Face to the Rising Sun
On intercession of the saints and other forms of prayer: Seek and You Will Find
Learn more about angels: Angels of the Bible
Related course from ChurchNext: Meditating on Angels