Feast of the Apparition of Saint Michael the Archangel: Missa “Benedicite Dominum”
It is evident from Holy Scripture that God is pleased to make frequent use of the ministry of the heavenly spirits in the dispensations of His providence in this world. The Angels are all pure spirits; by a property of their nature they are immortal, as is every spirit. They have the power of moving or conveying themselves at will from place to place, and such is their activity that it is not easy for us to conceive of it. Among the holy Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are particularly distinguished in the Scriptures. Saint Michael, whose name means Who is like unto God?, is the prince of the faithful Angels who opposed Lucifer and his followers in their revolt against God. Since the devil is the sworn enemy of God’s holy Church, Saint Michael is given to it by God as its special protector against the demon’s assaults and stratagems.
Various apparitions of this powerful Angel have proved the protection of Saint Michael over the Church. We may mention his apparition in Rome, where Saint Gregory the Great saw him in the air sheathing his sword, to signal the cessation of a pestilence and the appeasement of God’s wrath. Another apparition to Saint Ausbert, bishop of Avranches in France, led to the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel in the sea, a famous pilgrimage site. May 8th, however, is destined to recall another no less marvelous apparition, occurring near Monte Gargano in the Kingdom of Naples.
In the year 492 a man named Gargan was pasturing his large herds in the countryside. One day a bull fled to the mountain, where it could not be found. When its refuge in a cave was discovered, an arrow was shot into the cave, but the arrow returned to wound the one who had sent it. Faced with this mysterious occurrence, the persons concerned decided to consult the bishop of the region. He ordered three days of fasting and prayers. After three days, the Archangel Michael appeared to the bishop and declared that the cavern where the bull had taken refuge was under his protection, and that God wanted it to be consecrated under his name and in honor of all the Holy Angels.
Accompanied by his clergy and people, the pontiff went to that cavern, which he found already disposed in the form of a church. The divine mysteries were celebrated there, and there arose in this same place a magnificent temple where the divine Power has wrought great miracles. To thank God’s adorable goodness for the protection of the holy Archangel, the effect of His merciful Providence, this feast day was instituted by the Church in his honor.
It is said of this special guardian and protector of the Church that, during the final persecution of Antichrist, he will powerfully defend it: “At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince who protects the children of thy people.”
INTROIT Psalm 102:20
Bless the Lord, all ye His angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute His word, harkening to the voice of His orders. (Ps. 102: 1) Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless His holy name. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat Bless the Lord…
O God, Who dost in wonderful order dispose the ministries of angels and men, mercifully grant that our lives be fortified by those who continually stand in Thy presence and minister before Thee in heaven. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
EPISTLE Apoc 1:1-15
Lesson from the Book of the Apocalypse of blessed John the Apostle. In those days: God signified the things which must shortly come to pass, sending by His angel to His servant John, who hath given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen. Blessed is he that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy, and keepeth those things which are written in it; for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you and peace from Him that is, and that was, and that is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth Who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. Holy archangel Michael, defend us in battle, that we perish not in the dreadful judgment. Alleluia. V. The sea was shaken, and the earth trembled, when the archangel Michael descended from Heaven. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matt 18:1-10
At that time, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in their midst, and said, Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whoever, therefore, humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such little child for My sake, receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals! For it must needs be that scandals come, but woe to the man through whom scandal does come! And if your hand or your foot is an occasion of sin to you, cut it off and cast it from you! It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame, than, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye is an occasion of sin to you, pluck it out and cast it from you! It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire. See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their Angels in heaven always behold the face of My Father in heaven.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Apoc 8:3-4
An Angel stood near the altar of the temple, having a golden censer in his hand, and there was given to him much incense; and the smoke of the perfumes ascended before God. Alleluia.
We offer Thee sacrifices of praise, O Lord, humbly praying that Thou be pleased to receive them, through the angelic intercession in our behalf, and grant that they may avail for, our salvation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Dan 3:58
All you Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: sing a hymn, and exalt Him above all forever.
Relying upon the intercession of blessed Michael, Thine archangel, O Lord, we Thy suppliants pray that what we perform with our lips we may attain with our hearts. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.