Practice: to have a great Devotion to St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the four other Angels who are before the Throne of God.

Practice: to have a great Devotion to St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the four other Angels who are before the Throne of God.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Practice: to have a great Devotion to St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the four other Angels who are before the Throne of God.

IT was St. Michael who took up the defence of the honour of God against Lucifer, in the cause of the Incarnation of the Word;[1] and St. John Chrysostom is of opinion, that he was also one of the first to pay his homage to Him in the crib of Bethlehem, on the day of His humble Birth. It is he who is the tutelary Archangel of the Church, and it is not without good reasons that he is believed to be the special guardian also of France. The signal aid which this kingdom has at times received from him is a strong proof of it. This great prince of Paradise has even chosen to have a place specially consecrated to him in this kingdom, within the diocese of Avranches, which at this day is popularly called Mont Saint-Michel, a place famous for the concourse of people who flock to it from all quarters, to honour this holy Archangel. It is he who assists souls at the dreadful hour of death, and who, according to the doctrine of St. Augustine and St. Bonaventura, not only assists them at that moment which decides their eternal lot, but also introduces them after death into Heaven. It is well here to remark, that he awaits the command of the august Mother of God to assist in a more especial manner those souls which she peculiarly favours: such is the opinion of St. Bonaventura; and fitly, indeed, has the will of Heaven reserved this grace to the Queen of Heaven. Oh, how sweet it is to live and die under the protection of a patroness so loving and so worthy of love! It is St. Michael, in fine, who is held to be the first of all the angels in glory, and the most exalted of the Seraphim. If, then, we love the interests of God only, we must love him; for he is the great saint of the cause of God, and of God Incarnate. If we love the Church, if we love ourselves, if we have any care for our salvation, if we desire to be succoured at the last moment of life, we must honour him greatly in all the necessities of the Church: for the destruction of schisms and heresies; for the establishment of ecclesiastical discipline in all its vigour; for holiness of life in its prelates, and specially in the Sovereign Pontiff; for the preservation and increase of the faith in those countries where it already exists; and for the promulgation of the gospel in heathen lands.

St. Gabriel is also one of the highest of the Seraphim, and when, like St. Michael, he is styled an Archangel, we must not understand it to be meant thereby that he belongs only to the eighth choir of angels; for this title of Archangel is common to all those who are highest in eminence among the princes of Heaven, just as the name of angel is applied indifferently to all these blessed spirits, of whatever order they may be, as well to the Seraphim as to the Angels of the ninth and lowest choir. It is St. Gabriel who was chosen by God to negotiate the mystery of the Incarnation; and those who believe that the Queen of Heaven had a special angel-guardian consider that it was to this glorious prince that the care of her was entrusted. And even according to the opinion of those doctors who think that the Mother of God had no angel-guardian, but was attended by troops of ministering angels, St. Gabriel was one of the chiefs of these blessed bands appointed to serve her to whom a God did not disdain to subject Himself.

St. Raphael is also one of the seven great princes who stand before the throne of the Divine Majesty, as Scripture teaches us (Tob. xii. 15): on this point there is no room for doubt. We have but to read in Scripture of the services he rendered to Tobias, to love with a holy fervour this spirit of Heaven. It is hard, indeed, not to experience a sweet tenderness in one’s heart at the recital of the charitable assistance which he gave him. When the father of Tobias sent him to the city of Rages, and enjoined him to seek a faithful guide to go with him on his journey, St. Raphael appeared to him visibly under the form of a young man of great beauty, and accompanied him during his whole journey, consoling and instructing him, delivering him from great perils, and rendering him unnumbered services. At first meeting he salutes him, saying, “Joy be to thee always;” he delivers him from the sea monster who was about to devour him; he procures him wealth, and obtains for him a wife; he hinders the devils from injuring him; he restores sight to his father; he bestows upon him and his whole family benedictions of heavenly peace, a joy of Paradise, and abundance of all good things, both for this life and the next.. He conducted, as we have already observed, St. Macarius the Roman during three years, in a visible form, far into the desert, having continued to bear him company from the time of his quitting Rome, whence he had fled, leaving his wife on the day of his marriage while the guests were dancing. He cured a novice of the Order of St. Dominic from the falling sickness, on condition of his preserving perfect chastity. He delivered a French pilgrim who was on his road to St. James of Compostella from the hands of robbers; in fine, it needs only to be devout to him to experience the favours which he dispenses with a wonderful liberality.

There are four other princes of Heaven, beside St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael, who are nearest to the throne of God, but whose names are not known with any certainty. Some, however, say that the fourth is named Uriel, and they ground their opinion on the Book of Esdras,[2] as do St. Ambrose and St. Bonaventura. Father de Barri relates that a church was dedicated to God in honour of these seven princes in the city of Palermo, the capital of Sicily; that there was another in the city of Rome, which was consecrated by Julius III.; and that there was even a Confraternity established in honour of them in the afore-mentioned town of Palermo. He relates, moreover, that particular symbols have been appropriated to them by which painters might portray them, and that they may be seen admirably represented in the same city of Palermo, as well as at Antwerp and in other places. St. Michael, treading Lucifer underfoot, bears in his left hand a green palm, and holds in his right a lance, at the end of which is a standard white as snow, with a crimson cross in the centre. St. Gabriel appears with a torch inclosed in a lantern, which he holds in his right hand, the left being engaged in displaying a mirror of green jasper sprinkled with hues of divers colours. St. Raphael is represented with a fish issuing from his mouth, holding in his left hand a box, and with his right leading the young Tobias. Uriel, or the fourth angel, bears in his hand a drawn sword, while the left, which hangs by his side, is enveloped in flames. The fifth has the bearing of a suppliant, with his eyes modestly cast down. The sixth has a golden crown in his right hand, and a scourge of three black thongs in the other. The seventh has at the edge of his mantle, which is folded over, a profusion of white roses. I have been led to describe these emblems of the angels in the hope that it may give some one the wish to have them painted; for it is very certain that even the sight of pictures or images of angels inclines to purity and to heavenly love.

However, it is an assured truth that there are seven princes who stand before the God of all greatness, since Scripture teaches this; and that they have a special power to assist men, since, at the beginning of the Apocalypse (i. 4), grace and peace are given in the name of these sublime Intelligences.

Nothing remains for us, then, but to honour them devoutly, and to implore their assistance in the ways of salvation. Self-love is our greatest enemy: now it has been revealed that St. Michael is deputed by God to destroy it, as St. Gabriel, in like manner, is appointed to establish the love of God. Here, then, are the two great points necessary to salvation: hatred of ourselves, and love of God. In order to attain to these, we must be rid of all sin, and have acquired the virtues. We must have recourse to these seven princes of Paradise, that they may obtain for us the grace to avoid the seven deadly sins, and may enrich us with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Those who travel should often recommend themselves to St. Raphael; and, in the order of Providence, it appears that it is the will of God to employ this angel to assist pilgrims and wayfarers.

[1] It is a common opinion among divines that, on the mystery of the Incarnation being revealed to the angels before the creation of man, the pride of Lucifer, highest of all the heavenly host, revolted at the thought that human nature should be preferred before the angelic, and refused to do homage to the Sacred Humanity which was to be hypostatically united with the Divinity in the Person of the Son of Mary. Contemplating his own perfections, and coveting the prerogatives of the Man-God, he said in his heart, “I will be like the Most High” (lsa. xiv. 14): to which the glorious Archangel defiantly replied, “Mi-cha-el—Who is like God?”

[2] 4 Esdras iv. 1. This book is not in the Canon of Scripture.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.


Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
PRAYER
.

Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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