Friday, September 29, 2006
Today is Michaelmas, the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. Saint Michael, perhaps the greatest of the Archangels, is the protector of the Church.
Michaelmas was a quarterly rent day in England and Ireland. It is the start of the university term at both Oxford and Cambridge. Presents and feasts featuring geese were very much the custom at this time of year. Roast goose with sage and onion stuffing would go down very well right now.
Signifer Sanctus Michael repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the
Wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him,
We humbly pray.
And do thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
By the Divine Power,
Thrust into Hell
Satan and all the other evil spirits
which prowl about the world,
Seeking the ruin of souls.
Saint Michael also has another important duty. He is the principal usher of newly deceased souls to heaven. Medieval Books of Hours, as part of the Office of the Dead, often included a deathbed scene, where the soul of the just-departed leaves the body, and St. Michael has to fight off various demons who try to snatch the soul and carry it off to Hell. St. Michael is, therefore, one of the saints whose intercession is customarily invoked for a happy death, along with Our Blessed Lady, St. Joseph, and St. Peter.
Saint Michael rescuing a soul from demons at the hour of death
Here is a great site with prayers to St. Michael, including a chaplet, and the standard prayer to St. Michael with all the variations.