Today is the feast day of the three archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, & St. Raphael. Since I have a special devotion to the angels, this will be a multi-part entry.
For the beginning, I want to record an article I found yesterday. I was looking for something else, unrelated to angels, and then I found this. I took note of it, then checked the calendar, and the timing is perfect. Divine Providence. So here is something for you all, about angels and marines.
Perhaps most people reading this story are too young to remember the Korean War and might be curious about it. It is a war to be remembered, because the Koreans then weren't any better than they are now, if you wonder why there's antagonism, perhaps I shall write more later on about exactly what it is like to live in North Korea, and what happens there to the people because of the Communists.
The Story of Michael, The Tallest of All Marines
Below you will find a letter written by a young marine to his mother after being wounded on a Korean battlefield in 1950. The Navy chaplain, Father Walter Muddy, to whom the letter was shown, thoroughly checked the facts with the young Marine and the sergeant in whose patrol he had served. Having concluded that that the facts mentioned in the letter had actually occurred, Father Muddy made the letter public in 1951 before a gathering of 5,000 Marines at the Naval base in San Diego, California. Since then the letter has been published in newspapers and magazines, read on the radio and television, all over the world:
I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but I have got to tell somebody. First off, I am in a hospital. Now don't worry, ya hear me, don't worry. I was wounded but I am okay you understand. Okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month.
But that is not what I want to tell you. Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn't have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I always have.
When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me?
"Michael, Michael of the morning fresh crop of Heaven adorning," you know the rest of it. Well I said it everyday. Sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.
Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.
I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen. He must have been 6' 4" and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.
Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, "Cold ain't it." And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather. My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly.
I looked at him, "I have never seen you before, I thought I knew every man in the outfit."
"I just joined at the last minute", he replied. "The name is Michael."
"Is that so," I said surprised. "That is my name too."
"I know," he said and then went on, "Michael, Michael of the morning . . ."
I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn't I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen. Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.
Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke the silence. "We are going to have some trouble up ahead."
He must have been in fine physical shape or he was breathing so lightly I couldn't see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation.
Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.
"Michael, " I shouted in sudden alarm.
I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, "This will stop shortly."
His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc.
I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise. Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn't anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.
"Down Michael, "I screamed and hit the frozen earth.
I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing. Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits. But there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake.
At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know. I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking well, this is not so bad.
Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor. As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an Angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights.
Well, that is the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment's rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.
"Where is Michael," I asked.
I saw them look at one another. "Where's who?" asked one. "Michael, Michael that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."
"Kid," said the sergeant, "You weren't walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow."
He looked at me, curiously. "How did you do it kid?"
"How'd I do what?" I asked half angry despite my wound. "This marine named Michael and I were just . . ."
"Son, " said the sergeant kindly, "I picked this outfit myself and there just ain't another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it."
He paused for a minute, "Just how did you do it kid? We heard shots. There hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle. And there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."
I didn't say anything, what could I say. I could only look open-mouthed with amazement. It was then the sergeant spoke again, "Kid," he said gently, "everyone of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke."
That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that is what happened.
PRAYER IN TIME OF WAR
O God, Who brings an end to wars and defeats the assailants of those who hope in Thee, help us when we turn to Thee, and grant us that the cruelty of our enemies may be crushed, and we, in turn, may praise Thee in unending Thanksgiving. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The Role of St. Michael
St. Michael is the guardian and protector of God's people, the general of Heaven, Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, patron of all knights, and the angel who calls men from earth and brings' men's souls to judgement. He is also reknown for his care for the sick.
His name is the war cry of Heaven, St. Michael, in Hebrew means, 'Who is like God?' the answer -- to the pride of Lucifer.
Of all the saints, with the sole exception of Our Lady, he is the greatest enemy of Satan. At the end of the world, Michael will cast Satan into Hell forever. In the meantime, St. Michael is often invoked to defend Christians against the depredations of the devil and fallen angels, in the Prayer of St. Michael.
In the Holy Mass, St. Michael presides over the worship of adoration rendered to the Most High and offers to God the prayers of the faithful, represented by incense. He is an intercessor for mankind, the bearer of the Church's prayers before the throne of God, standing at the forefront of the innumerable hosts of angels in this service.
Quotes Regarding St. Michael:
"Behold I will send my Angel who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned, for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and my name is in him. But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee." Exodus 23:22-23
"Deliver them from the lion's mouth, that hell engulf them not, that they fall not into darkness; but let Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the holy light."- From the Mass of the Departed
When I heard the sound of his voice, I fell face forward in a faint.
But then a hand touched me, raising me to my hands and knees. "Daniel, beloved," he said to me, "understand the words which I am speaking to you; stand up, for my mission now is to you."
When he said this to me, I stood up trembling. "Fear not, Daniel," he continued; "from the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard.
Because of it I started out, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia stood in my way for twenty-one days, until finally Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the days to come; for there is yet a vision concerning those days." While he was speaking thus to me, I fell forward and kept silent. Daniel 10:11-15
"Veneration of St. Michael is the greatest remedy against despising the rights of God, against insubordination, skepticism and infidelity." St. Francis de Sales
Prayer to St. Michael (short form)
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host - by the power of God - thrust into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Prayer to St. Michael (long form)
O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and Powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in his own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.
Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of his Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.
These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.
Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and Patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
Let thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
As we have hoped in thee.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon thy holy name, and as suppliants we implore thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls.
There is more to write on this subject, but I may continue later on tomorrow rather than finish today.