The angels are God’s messengers (from the Greek angelos, plural angeloi). The Bible names four archangels (senior, uber-, or super-angels): Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel. The last syllable in each of their names, -el, is Hebrew for God. So Uriel means God Is My Light; Raphael, God Heals; Gabriel, God Is My Strength, and Michael, Who Is Like God. Angels are pure spirit, but may appear in many guises.
Michael the archangel has a powerful role in God’s plan of salvation, as St John describes in his book of Revelation:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world— he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
Because of this war, St Michael is most often depicted in art as standing in victory over the dragon, as in the image above.
There are many churches throughout the world whose patron saint is St Michael, i.e. who are named after him, and have thus put themselves under his patronage and protection. St Michael’s, O’Fallon is one of them, which is quite appropriate, given our close connection with Scott Air Force Base, since he is also the patron saint of the armed forces.
The Church celebrates the feast of St Michael and All Angels, a.k.a. Michaelmas, on September 29th.
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Prayer for the Feast of St Michael and All Angels
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.
Prayer to St Michael for Protection
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.