Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"The Life and Prayers of St. Michael"

The Bible has a small scattering of references to him – two in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Revelation, and the epistle of Jude. He is the only archangel mentioned by name (Gabriel, who appeared to Zechariah and Mary, is described as an angel, not a prince of angels). But for all of the few Biblical references, Michael the Archangel plays a critical role in the accounts of the end times.

Wyatt North Books has published an account of the angel, The Life and Prayers of St. Michael, that combines what is known from the Bible, how he’s been considered in church history, and how he’s revered in the Catholic Church today. While the book reflects a Catholic perspective, its potential appeal is broader, including to anyone interested in Bible characters, eschatology (the study of end-times), or Bible study.

Most of the short book is divided into two parts – a biographical section and a section listing the various Catholic prayers to the saint.

The biographical section considers who the archangel is, the difference between angels and archangels, St. Michael in the apocryphal Book of Enoch, the various references in the Bible, his offices and how he’s venerated in the church, visions and understandings of St. Michael through the centuries, and how he’s depicted in Christian art.

The prayer section includes 10 prayers specifically to St. Michael.

What is clear from both the Bible and church history is that Michael plays an important role – the defender of the people (Christians) and a defender of the church, and especially but not only in the end times described in Daniel and Revelation. He is a “warrior of God, invincible and insurmountable,” reads the foreword of St. Michael (there’s no author listed, a common practice with Wyatt North books).

St. Michael is a concise summary of what is known about the archangel, how he’s been considered in church history, and how he’s regarded today.

RelatedSt. Michael the Archangel, the second movement in “Church Windows” by Ottorino Resphigi, composed in 1925-26.

Top photograph: a statue of Michael the Archangel.

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