We may forget that reality is greater than what we can see and what we can measure.Our first reading about the defeat of Satan by St. Michael and his angels concluded with, “rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them.” But we did not hear the entire final verse, which ends ominously, “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.” All around us, unseen, mostly, is an ongoing battle – its end has been decided, but the vanquished foe still causes what grief he might.
We see visible signs of our invisible foe in demonic possession and obsession, and fight against it with prayers of exorcism. We also see the handiwork of The Enemy in horrific actions like the Holocaust, and the tortures we heard of yesterday used against St. Lorenzo Ruiz and his companions. These, along with what we think of as “ordinary” violence and crime, are signs of the ongoing hatred of The Enemy for redeemed humanity. St. Michael, the archangel, is the patron of police and military who protect society from this open violence. He defends the Church in the unseen spiritual battles we face daily. The battle against abortion will not be won by violence, the Enemy’s weapon, but by prayer, and by charitable communication of the truth under the protection of St. Gabriel. St. Raphael is the patron of those who heal people who have succumbed to the natural evil of disease and injury. These angels are symbols of God’s ever-loving relationship with us. When we are beset by temptation, we should invoke the help of the angels, and rebuke the demonic with the name of Jesus.
The angels are the faithful servants of Jesus, who identifies himself to Nathaniel as the unbreakable link between heaven and earth. Even the cross, the instrument designed by Satan for Our Lord’s torture, could not break the love of God for sinful humanity. By that love, poured out in the blood of the Lamb, The Enemy has been conquered, but his retreat is slow and violent. For this reason, let us invoke the protection of the patron of the Church, in the words given us by Pope Leo XIII:
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 power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.