Saturday, September 28, 2013

Feast of St. Michael, the Archangel, 29 September 2013

Feast of St. Michael, the Archangel 29 September 2013 “See that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, that their Angels in heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.” Mt. 18:10 Today, we celebrate the feastday of the Archangel St. Michael and all the angels who do God’s will by ministering to man on earth and praising God in heaven. Foremost among the angels are the archangels, and among them, St. Michael has a special ministry: he truly is like God and he acts whenever divine power is needed. He was the chief angel against Lucifer and the rebellious angels. St. Gabriel, who is the strength of God, was sent to aid in God’s greatest work, the redemption of man by going to Zachariah to tell him of St. John the Baptist’s birth. Gabriel also went to the Blessed Virgin Mary to ask her to be the Mother of the Messiah. The Archangel St. Raphael who represents God’s healing, both spiritually and materially, was sent to Tobias where he aided in curing the elder Tobias, his father, of his blindness and where he arranged the marriage of Tobias and Sarah in answer to their prayers for a suitable spouse. The Angelic Nature As Angels are pure spirits, their angelic nature is far superior to ours. Dom Prosper Gueranger in the book, The Liturgical Life Vol. 14 quotes Monsabre, a disciple of St. Thomas Aquinas: “Compared with ours, how calm and how luminous is the knowledge of pure spirits! They are not doomed to the intricate discoursings of our reason, which runs after the truth, composes and analyses, and laboriously draws conclusions from promises. They instantaneously apprehend the whole compass of primary truths. Their intuition is so prompt, so lively, so penetrating, that it is impossible for them to be surprised, as we are, into error. If they deceive themselves, it must be of their own will. The perfection of their will is equal to the perfection of their intellect. They know not what it is to be disturbed by the violence of appetites. Their love is without emotion; and their hatred of evil is as calm and as wisely tempered as their love. A will so free can know no perplexity as to its aims, no inconstancy in its resolutions. Whereas with us long and anxious meditation is necessary before we make a decision, it is the property of the angels to determine by a single act the object of their choice. God proposed to them, as He does to us, infinite beatitude in the vision of His own Essence; and to fit them for so great an end, He endowed them with grace at the same time as He gave them being. In one instant they said Yes or No; in one instant they freely and deliberately decided their own fate.’ Gueranger, p. 278-9 Book of Apocalypse: Revelations of Angels The Apocalypse (The Book of Revelation) tells of the four phases of the battle between the good angels under St. Michael and the bad angels under Lucifer. First, in heaven, Lucifer or Satan is cast out with the other rebellious angels for trying to be on an equal level with God. Many saints believe that all the angels were given a test to see if they would adore the Son of God who would become man and to see if they would be subject to the Blessed Virgin Mary who became the Queen of Angels. In their pride, the rebellious angels would not serve God nor be obedient to His plan for mankind. The second phase of the battle takes place on earth when Jesus Christ conquers Satan who had deceived our first parents, and then redeems mankind by His death on the Cross. Jesus prophesied, “Now is the Prince of this World cast out.” Jn.12:31 In the third phase, the war is against the Church. The Book of Revelation tells of the Red Dragon, ancient serpent that makes war on the woman and all those who follow Jesus Christ in the Church. Satan makes use of man with the two beasts, one of which is the False Prophet: “And they worshipped the dragon because he gave authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who will be able to fight with it’” Ap. 13:4-5 The final and fourth phase details how Lucifer is condemned to hell for all eternity. After his defeat he and his members are damned: “The devil who seduced them was cast into the sea of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet were to be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Ap. 20:10 The Liturgy and the Angels In the various prayers of the Mass, the angels perform special functions. First, they are always adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar especially during the Consecration of the Mass. This is why angels are often depicted in statues around the tabernacle. The Church shows this also in the prayer of the Roman Canon when the priest asks the Angels to take the sacrifice to heaven: “We pray that your Angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven.” In the Preface, we pray, “Lord, by your ministry of your angels let our sacrifice of praise come before you.” The Sanctus repeats the words of the prophet Isaiah (Is. 6:3) who heard the angels in heaven praising the thrice Holy God: ”Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He Who cometh in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.2 Other Functions of Angels The angels are constantly performing a variety of functions for the people of the earth. Jesus told Nathaniel, “I solemnly assure you, you shall see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Jn. 1:51 While the angels minister to us, they are also interceding for us before the throne of God: “And another angel came and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he might offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which is before the throne. And with the prayers of the saints there went up before God from the angel’s hand the smoke of incense.” Ap. 8:3-4 The Archangel St. Michael is called upon by the Church to defend men in battle and to escort all souls to paradise: St. Michael, defend us in battle…(and) “May the standard bearer, St. Michael, lead them into Holy Light.” (Requiem Ritual) Although we are not celebrating the feast of the Guardian Angels, which is on 2 October, it is good to know that Divine Revelation tells us that the angels that minster to each soul on earth are also adoring God in heaven at the same time: “See that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, that their Angels in heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.” Mt. 18:10 Thanksgiving to our heavenly friends How blessed we are to have St. Michael and all the other angels as our heavenly companions here on earth. They love us because their love of God is so supernatural and confirmed by their superior nature. Let us call upon St. Michael to help us in our trials and all the angels to watch over us: “In thy hands they shall bear thee up, lest we dash our foot against a stone.” (Ps. 90:12) They also intercede for us in our needs as they are caring for us and adoring God in our name at the same time. The First Friday, 4 October 2013 Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the devotion to the “Nine First Fridays” of the Month. The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary: "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." There is no better way of honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on the “Nine First Fridays.”. The First Saturday, 5 October 2013 Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me." If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays! Just think that when you are about to die the Blessed Virgin Mary will be there with you to help you get to heaven! “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen” How many times have you said these words in your lifetime? Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix 5 October 2013 On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who are interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door) This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.” (Article 2: Statute) We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of so many souls. Our Lady said at Fatima in 1917: “Many souls will go to hell because no one will pray and sacrifice for them.”