Monday, June 1, 2015

St. Michael and the War in Heaven

From the Lepanto Institute:
Many Christians are unaware of the meaning and significance that St. Michael’s name bears. Throughout the entire history of the Church, St. Michael has been viewed as a protector and guardian. Our current prayer to St. Michael, penned by Pope Leo XIII, states specifically, “Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.” But what about his name itself?

The name “Michael” is a question, and it bears a great deal of significance for us, and is perhaps most understood in our current age of debauchery and death. “Michael” means, “Who is like God?” It may seem rather odd that St. Michael’s name would be a question, but the meaning of this question will become evident after a few brief readings from the Scriptures.

St. John, in the Book of Revelation, describes the rebellion in Heaven:

“Then 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)

As we know from Tradition, and also from St. John, it was Michael the Archangel who cast Satan out of Heaven. But what was the nature of the Rebellion itself? The prophet Isaiah says that Lucifer said in his heart, “I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:14) The choice of words “like the most High” are very interesting, especially considering who it was that cast Lucifer out of Heaven. If Lucifer said, “I will be like the most High,” then Michael’s name is a question directly aimed at Lucifer’s declaration. In effect, he is asking Lucifer, “Who is like God?”
But this isn’t a question without an answer.

In the book of Genesis, Holy Moses explains, “Then God said: Let us make man to our image and likeness.” So, when Michael announced his own name by asking the question, “Who is like God?” he is pointing to man, because man was made in the image and likeness of God. (Read more.)

No comments: