Archive for the ‘St. Michael the Archangel’ Tag

Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (September 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Cathedral Church of Saint Michael (Coventry Cathedral), Coventry, England

Image Source = Google Earth

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FEAST OF SAINT MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS (WESTERN CHURCH)

SYNAXIS OF THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL AND ALL THE BODILESS POWERS (EASTERN CHURCH)

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Ye watchers and ye holy ones,

Bright Seraphs, Cherubim and Thrones,

Raise the glad strain, Alleluya!

Cry out Dominions, Princedoms, Powers,

Virtues, Archangels, Angels’ choirs,

Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya!

John Athelstan Laurie Riley (1858-1945), in The English Hymnal (1906), for which he composed this text

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The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the Lutheran churches.  September 29 is the feast day in the Western Church.  November 8 (Julian Calendar) and November 21 (Gregorian Calendar) are the dates of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and All the Bodiless Powers, in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Much theological prose poetry exists in Judeo-Christian angelology.  This theological prose poetry, with all of its elaborate attention to details, is a human attempt to describe a reality far greater than anything we mere mortals can grasp.  Regarding angelology, one does well to examine the big picture, not to become lost in details.  One does well to embrace and revel in the mystery.  If any given detail of angelology is inaccurate, so be it.

“Angel” means “messenger.”  An angel, therefore, is a messenger of God.  In some stories from Genesis, the text uses “angel” and “God” interchangeably.  This is a question of function, as Dr. Richard Elliott Friedman points out in his Commentary on the Torah (2001).  Given that an angel of God cannot act apart from God, wherever an angel of God is present, God is functionally present, too.

According to Judeo-Christian angelology, there are seven archangels.  Depending on the source one consults and on how that source defines the Bible, the Bible names two, three, or four of the archangels.  1 Enoch 20:1-8 names six of them:

  1. Suruel (1 Enoch 20:2).  Suruel is “of eternity and of trembling.”
  2. Raphael (1 Enoch 20:3; Tobit 3:16-17/18 (depending on versification, 9:1-6, 11:1-12:22).  Raphael is “of the spirits of man.”
  3. Raguel (1 Enoch 20:4).  Raguel takes “vengeance for the world and for the luminaries.”
  4. Michael (1 Enoch 20:5; Daniel 10:13, 21; Daniel 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7).  Michael is “obedient in his benevolence over the people and the nations.”
  5. Saraqael (1 Enoch 20:6).  Saraquael is “one of the holy angels who are (set) over the spirits of mankind who sin in the spirit.”
  6. Gabriel (1 Enoch 20:7; Daniel 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26).  Gabriel is “one of the holy angels who oversee the garden of Eden, and the serpents, and the cherubim.”

A Greek fragment of 1 Enoch adds a seventh name, Remiel, “one of the holy angels whom God set over those who rise.”  Perhaps Remiel is another name for Uriel.

[NOTE:  All quotes about the archangels from 1 Enoch come from James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudipigrapha, Vol. 1, Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments (1983).]

2 Esdras/4 Ezra names the archangel Uriel in 4:1, 5:20, and 10:28.

I make no pretense of being much of a mystic.  However, I affirm that what I do not know outweighs what I do not know.  I also recall some experiences I cannot explain rationally.  Furthermore, some people I know tell me of their experiences they cannot explain rationally.  These individuals are mentally well; they do not have schizophrenia or any other mental illness treatable with pharmaceutical products.  Many of the experiences these individuals relate have profound spiritual meaning for them.  

My experiences have been different, though. 

  1. One day decades ago, I knew that I had to pause whatever mundane task I was engaging in, go outside, and move my car.  I did move my vehicle.  Later that day, I noticed that a big tree limb was on the ground, where my car had been.
  2. Twice, years ago, I was making my standard trip from Americus, Georgia, to Athens, Georgia.  These two times, I knew to drive without interruption, until I pulled up to my front door in Athens.  Twice, I did.  Twice, when I went outside to move my car to the parking lot in the back, I could not start the car.  The problem was in the ignition switch.

How did I know?  Who told me?  Did a guardian angel or the Holy Spirit tell me?  Did I know by some other way? 

Does it matter?

I thanked God, of course.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 12, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TRASILLA AND EMILIANA; THEIR SISTER-IN-LAW, SAINT SYLVIA OF ROME; AND HER SON, SAINT GREGORY I “THE GREAT,” BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF JOHN H. CALDWELL, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN OF TREVESTE, ROMAN CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR AND MARTYR, 295

THE FEAST OF RUTILIO GRANDE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1977

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEOPHANES THE CHRONICLER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

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Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted

in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals:

Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven,

so by your appointment they may find help and defend us here on earth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Genesis 28:10-17

Psalm 103 or 103:19-22

Revelation 12:7-12

John 1:47-51

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 613; Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018; The Anglican Church of Canada

The Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Worship (1982) use the same prayer.  However, they assign different First and Gospel readings–Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3 and Luke 17:20.  Also, the Psalm is Psalm 103:1-5, 20-22.  Furthermore, Lutheran Worship (1982) offers another option regarding the readings:

Joshua 5:13

Psalm 103:19-22

Revelation 12:7-12

Matthew 18:1-11

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Everlasting God, you have wonderfully established the ministries of angels and mortals.

Mercifully grant that as Michael and the angels contend against the cosmic forces of evil,

that they may help and defend us here on earth,

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God whom we worship and praise with angels and archangels

and with all the company of heaven, now and forever.  Amen.

Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3

Psalm 103:1-5, 20-22

Revelation 12:7-12

Luke 10:17-20

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 58

The pew edition of the Lutheran Service Book (2006) provides no collect for this feast.  However, it does list all of the scripture readings from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), plus the option of Matthew 18:1-11 in lieu of Luke 10:17-20.

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Almighty and everlasting God,

whom we adore with all the angelic host,

may we always rejoice in your heavenly protection

and serve you faithfully in this present life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

or

Make us your messengers, Jesus,

make us the guardians of your faith,

and grant us also that great and ancient vision

Michael

numberless angels

the dazzling host of heaven

to accompany and inspire us for all time.  Amen.

Daniel 10:18-22

Psalm 103:15-22 or Psalm 91

Revelation 12:7-12

Matthew 18:1-14

or

Daniel 7:9-14 or 7:9-10, 13-14

Psalm 138:1-6

Revelation 12:7-12a

John 1:45-51

A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989)

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The lectionary in the back of The Orthodox Study Bible (2008) lists Hebrews 2:2-10 and Luke 10:16-21 as the readings for the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and All the Bodiless Powers.

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Feast of St. Joan of Arc (May 30)   2 comments

Above:  St. Joan of Arc

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JOAN OF ARC (JANUARY 6, 1412-MAY 30, 1431)

Roman Catholic Mystic, Visionary, and Martyr

Also known as Saint Jeanne d’Arc

The Roman Catholic Church lists St. Joan of Arc as a virgin, not a martyr.  That is because Holy Mother Church martyred her.  The Episcopal Church, which added her feast in 2009, lists her as a mystic and a soldier.  The Church of England lists St. Joan as a visionary.

St. Joan was pious throughout her brief life.  She, born in Greux-Domremy, Lorraine, France, was an illiterate child of Jacques d’Arc, a peasant farmer.  At the age of 13 years, in the summer of 1425, she reported receiving her first vision, a voice accompanied by a blaze of light.  Over the next few years Sts. Margaret of Antioch, Catherine of Alexandria, Michael the Archangel, and other holy figures seem to have appeared and spoken to St. Joan.

Above:  France in 1422

Image scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

By May 1428 St. Joan had become convinced that God wanted her to help king and country, then suffering during the Hundred Years’ War (1437-1453).  Since 1422 the claimant to the French throne had been Charles (VII).  Our saint, after much persistence, finally reached the Dauphin at Chinon in March 1429.  She proved to be a capable military commander until May 1430, when Burgundians captured her at Compiègne.  In the meantime, St. Joan ad made the coronation of the Dauphin as King Charles VII possible. The ungrateful and probably embarrassed Charles VII did not help our saint after she became a prisoner of the English.  The verdict of the trial on the charges of being a witch and a heretic was a fait accompli as long as St. Joan refused to enter a false plea.  Our saint, convicted, burned alive at the stake at Rouen on May 30, 1431.

The Church cleared her name in 1456, beatified her in 1905, and canonized her in 1920.

Robert Ellsberg, writing in All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), observed:

An illiterate peasant girl, a shepherd, a “nobody,” she heeded a religious call to save her country when all the “somebodies” of her time proved unable or unwilling to meet the challenge.  She stood up before princes of the church and state and the most learned authorities of her world and refused to compromise her conscience or deny her special vocation.  She paid the ultimate price for her stand.  And in doing so she won a prize far more valuable than the gratitude of the Dauphin or the keys of Orleans.

–Page 238

Organized religion has long had a difficult relationship with mysticism, which bypasses official channels, much to the consternation of people invested in those channels.  This was one of the points of controversy relative to St. Joan of Arc.  Another was gender; she dressed like a man.  Both of these points obsessed her dubious inquisitors, who acted in the name of God and the Church yet glorified only themselves, and only in the short term.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF KARL BARTH, SWISS REFORMED MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR; FATHER OF MARKUS BARTH, SWISS LUTHERAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF GEORG FRIEDRICH HELLSTROM, DUTCH-GERMAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN, COMPOWER, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER FOURIER, “THE GOOD PRIEST OF MATTAINCOURT;” AND SAINT ALIX LE CLERC, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF NOTRE DAME OF CANONESSES REGULAR OF SAINT AUGUSTINE

THE FEAST OF SAINT WALTER CISZEK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST AND POLITICAL PRISONER

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Holy God, whose power is made perfect in weakness:

we honor you for the calling of Jeanne d’Arc, who, though young,

rose up in valor to bear your standard for her country,

and endured with grace and fortitude both victory and defeat;

and we pray that we, like Jeanne, may bear witness

to the truth that is in us to friends and enemies alike,

and, encouraged by the companionship of your saints,

give ourselves bravely to the struggle for justice in our time;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Judith 8:32-9:11

Psalm 144:1-12

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

Matthew 12:25-30

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 395

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