Feast of the Archangels

Michael Tramples Satan, Guido Reni, 1636, Santa Maria della Concezione church, Rome. A mosaic of the same painting decorates St. Michael's Altar in St. Peter's Basilica.

The beautiful vision of Reni! Michael Tramples Satan, Guido Reni, 1636, Santa Maria della Concezione church, Rome. A mosaic of the same painting decorates St. Michael’s Altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”

Revelation 12:7-12

In Catholic writings and traditions, St. Michael the Archangel acts as the defender of the Church and chief opponent of Satan. He also assists souls at the hour of death, as we see here in the central panel from one of my favorite works of all time, The Beaune Altarpiece (c. 1445–50), often called The Last Judgement, a large polyptych altarpiece by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden.

The Last Judgement (detail), Rogier van der Weyden, 1445-50

The Last Judgement (detail), Rogier van der Weyden, 1445-50

 

Here’s a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel written by Pope Leo XIII in 1884:
St. Michael the Archangel, 
defend us in the day of Battle; 
Be our safeguard 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 power of God, cast into Hell, 
Satan and all the other evil spirits, 
who prowl through the world, 
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Flemish), The Fall of the Rebel Angels, 1562, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels.

A phantasmagoric vision by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Flemish), The Fall of the Rebel Angels, 1562, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels.

 

Saint Michael expelling Lucifer and the Rebellious Angels‎, Peter Paul Rubens, 1622, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Love me some Rubens! Saint Michael expelling Lucifer and the Rebellious Angels‎, Peter Paul Rubens, 1622, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid

 

Here’s a link to an informative article about the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s