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Icon of St Michael

St Michael and All Angels

Icon of St Michael

This is the only feast of angels that the Reformers retained. It goes back to the fifth century when a basilica was dedicated to St Michael. The Gregorian Sacramentary (no 726) has this collect for the commemoration in the Basilica of the Holy Angels on September 29. Michael and Gabriel are the only archangels named in the Hebrew Scriptures, Raphael and Uriel are named in the Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal scriptures. Cranmer took the collect from the Sarum Missal which drew it from the Gregorian. He translated it as:

EVERLASTYNG God, which haste ordayned and constituted the services of all Angels and men in a wonderfull ordre: mercifully graunt, that they whiche alwaye doe thee service in heaven, may by thy appoyntment succour and defende us in earth: through Jesus Christe our Lorde, &c.

“by thy appointment” is lacking in the Latin. “and worship” is an addition. Angels are described as worshiping God and assisting us.

Let us pray (in silence) [that we may share in the ministry of the angels]

pause

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 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.

(BCP USA)

Everlasting God,
you have ordained and constituted
the ministries of angels and mortals in a wonderful order:
grant that as your holy angels always serve you in heaven,
so, at your command,
they may help and defend us on earth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

(Common Worship CofE)

God our Father,
in a wonderful way you guide the work of angels and men.
May those who serve you constantly in heaven
keep our lives safe from all harm on earth.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(RC ICEL)

Textweek Resources

Everything about Angels

Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones

Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels,
thou who hast made us, thou who o’er us rulest,
grant of thy mercy unto us thy servants
steps up to heaven.

Send thine archangel Michael to our succor;
peacemaker blessèd, may he banish from us
striving and hatred, so that for the peaceful
all things may prosper.

Send thine archangel Gabriel, the mighty;
herald of heaven, may he, from us mortals,
spurn the old serpent, watching o’er the temples
where thou art worshiped.

Send thine archangel Raphael, the restorer
of the misguided ways of men who wander,
who at thy bidding strengthens soul and body
with thine anointing.

May the blest mother of our God and Savior,
may the assembly of the saints in glory,
may the celestial companies of angels
ever assist us.

Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God ever blessèd, be thou our preserver;
thine is the glory which the angels worship,
veiling their faces.

Words: Latin, ninth century;
trans. Athelstan Riley, 1906
Music: Caelites plaudant (Rouen), Christe sanctorum, Caelitum Joseph, Iste Confessor

Meter: 11 11 11 5

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7 thoughts on “St Michael and All Angels”

  1. The RC prayer is full of statements elevating things to a level where they should not be while diminishing Christ to a bystander holding onto mum’s skirt. Appalling but that’s the RC’s history of control and indulgences for you.

    1. Are you talking about the “God our Father, in a wonderful way…” prayer, Brown? I’m not sure how you see all those things in that collect. Blessings.

  2. While there are things in common with Christian prayer the fixation on various saints and Mary interceding and supporting the bride of Christ is unfortunate. The differences may be subtle at a glance but they are theologically significant. The Bible warns that Satan is the great deceiver, masquerading as an angel of light. This is not to say that there are not many great Christians within RC’ism but I am amazed that my friends within it have often little idea about the centrality of Christ in Christianity hence they pray to Mary. I watched a procession in Macau a couple of years ago where Mary was passionately paraded along the streets but, alas, no sign of Christ.

    1. Generalisations like this are unhelpful, Brown. I’m not sure how this responds to my question about your previous comment – perhaps it doesn’t, and this is just a separate thought of yours. My own experience of RCs in no way is similar to yours – the importance of Christ is clear to them. This post began by talking about the place of this feast in the devotion of Protestant Reformers. Remember there are far more church buildings dedicated to Mary in the Anglican Church in NZ than there are such RC buildings. I see huge online and offline Protestant ministries seeking to pray for people – are you suggesting these are unfortunate, Satan masquerading? Interceding on behalf of others seems to me to be a central part of being a member of the Body of Christ. And asking that fellow members of the Body of Christ pray for me is certainly a normal practice for me, and for most I know. That one can find abuses, misunderstanding, and confusion amongst the world’s 1.4 billion RCs does not surprise me – I am sure not every one of the billion Protestants has got everything to your particular standard (including Thomas Cranmer, here, it seems). Blessings.

  3. In my bible the elect who are saved are all saints. The Pope, for example, can decide who he thinks has been good enough to be a saint but that usurps the power that God has retained to save alone through his Son. It may be a subtle theological difference to some but in my view the sovereignty of God is a serious business.

    Its a point of difference between RC’s and Anglicans. Neither will get it right all the time but sometimes we should stand apart on things rather than seek to compromise over what makes us distinct.

    1. Thanks, Brown. I don’t see the distinctions you are making, “a point of difference between RC’s and Anglicans”. As far as I can see, the Book of Common Prayer, one of the standards of Anglicans, gives certain people and angels the title “Saint” – as it does to Michael, the subject of this post. You can argue that this “usurps the power that God has retained” but, since the English Reformers continued the practice, you cannot claim this as “a thing that makes us distinct”. Blessings.

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