The meaning of the feast
+ The tradition of honoring the Archangel Michael on September 29 dates back to the early part of the fifth century, when a basilica was dedicated in his honor on the Via Salaria in Rome.
+ Since 1969, the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael have been honored with a common feast on the Church’s liturgical calendar. Previously, Saint Raphael was honored on October 24 and Saint Gabriel was celebrated on March 24, the day before the Solemnity of the Annunciation.
+ These archangels, and all the holy angels, honor God with their whole beings. Angels are the servants and messengers of God, forever gazing upon the face of the Father in heaven (cf. Matthew 18:10.
+ In every Mass, the Church joins her voices to the Angels’ song of praise as we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy…” and we trust that the Angels continue to watch over us and protect us.
On September 29, the Church also remembers the English mystic Blessed Richard Rolle (d. 1349). A brilliant man, Richard spent several years living as a hermit before traveling throughout northern England. He eventually settled near a community of Cistercian nuns and served as the community’s spiritual director. His writings were incredibly popular and he is said to have been the most widely read author in England in the fifteenth century.
“[The Angels] great multitude of very bright living lamps; they are the vast army of heavenly spirits, shining in the blessed life and living in great beauty and adornment, because when they were created by God they did not grasp at proud exaltation but strongly persisted in divine love.”—Saint Hildegard of Bingen
O God, who dispose in marvelous order
ministries both angelic and human,
that our life on earth may be defended
by those who watch over us
as they minister perpetually to you in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Profiles prepared by Br. Silas Henderson, S.D.S.