Among the Holy Archangels, three are particularly distinguished in holy writ--SS. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. St. Michael, whom the Church honors this day, was the prince of the faithful angels who opposed Lucifer and his associates in their revolt against God. Michael, in Hebrew, signifies, "Who is like God?" this was as it were, his motto, whom by humility he repressed the pride of that apostate angel, and set up the standard against him. He continues to protect the saints from his assaults.
This Holy Archangel has ever been honored in the Catholic Church, under the same title as her guardian under God, and as the protector of the faithful; for God is pleased to employ the zeal and charity of the good angels and their leader against the malice of the devil.
It is mentioned in particular of this special guardian and protector of the Church, that, in the persecution of Antichrist, he will powerfully stand up in her defense: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people." He is not only the protector of the Church, but of every faithful soul. He defeated the devil by humility; we are enlisted in the same warfare. His arms were humility and ardent love of God; the same must be our weapons. We ought to regard this Archangel as our leader under God; and courageously resisting the devil in all his assaults, cry out, "Who can be compared to God?" His feast day is the 29th of September.
Hymn: Te, splendor et virtus
O Jesu! life-spring of the soul!
The Father's power and glory bright!
Thee with the Angels we extol;
From thee they draw their life and light.
Thy thousand thousand hosts are spread
Embattled o'er the azure sky;
But Michael bears thy standard dread,
And lifts the might Cross on high.
He, in that sign, the rebel powers
Did, with their dragon prince, expel;
And hurled them from the heavens' high towers,
Down, like a thunderbolt, to hell.
Grant us, with Michael, still, O Lord,
Against the prince of pride to fight;
So may a crown be our reward,
Before the Lamb's pure throne of light.
To God the Father praise be done,
Who hath redeemed us through his Son;
Anoints us by the Holy Ghost,
And guards us by the Angel host. Amen.
(The Roman Breviary)
O Victorious Prince, most humble guardian of the Church of God and of the faithful souls, who with such charity and zeal took part in so many conflicts and gained such great victories over the enemy for the conservation and protection of the honor and glory we all owe to God, as well as for the promotion of man's salvation; come, I pray thee, to the assistance of my soul, which continually is besieged with such great peril by its enemies, the flesh, the world, and the devil. And as thou wast a leader for the people of Israel through the desert, so also be my faithful leader and companion through the desert of this world, until thou conduct me safely into the happy land of the living, in that blessed fatherland from which we all are exiles. Amen.