Let us pray (in silence) [that we may share in the ministry of the angels]
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.
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.
(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.
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.
Image: 1958 St Michael’s Victory over the Devil — Coventry Cathedral; by Jacob Epstein