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Who Needs St. Michael Anyway?

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Why Consecrating Yourself to Jesus through St. Michael is Highly Recommended

By Sean Breeden

STL - 3-D File of the St. Michael statue in front of St. Michael's Church in Hamburg, Germany. The file can be found HERE.


THE 'SCAPULAR OF ST. MICHAEL' CONSECRATION


As we celebrate the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, this is a wonderful opportunity to consecrate or re-consecrate ourselves to Jesus through the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel. One excellent way to do that is by enrolling in the 'Scapular of St. Michael'. This blog post is especially for those who are on the fence about whether they should participate in the 'Scapular of St. Michael', and to provide a deeper understanding for those who already plan to do so. First, several definitions will be provided, followed by an explanation of the foundational principle of consecration, then a section on St. Michael's unique role in the Kingdom of God, and finally ending with a discussion of why consecration to St. Michael is a worthwhile undertaking.



 


DEFINITIONS


consecrate (verb):

  • definition 2.c. : to devote to a purpose with or as if with deep solemnity or dedication [Merriam Webster]

  • The dedication of a thing or person to divine service by a prayer or blessing [Glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church]

scapular (noun):

  • definition 1.b. : a pair of small cloth squares joined by shoulder tapes and worn under the clothing on the breast and back as a sacramental and often also as a badge of a third order or confraternity [Merriam Webster]

  • From the Latin 'scapula' meaning shoulder or shoulder blade

  • Imitates the 'scapular' garment first worn by monks of the middle ages and by many religious orders today, which is like a sleeveless poncho in the front and back down to below the knees

sacramental (noun):

  • Sacred signs which bear a certain resemblance to the sacraments, and by means of which spiritual effects are signified and obtained through the prayers of the Church [Glossary of CCC; CCC 1667]


In this case, we are devoting OURSELVES with deep solemnity to Jesus with the firm intention of allowing St. Michael unhindered permission to intercede for us, lead us closer to Jesus, and teach us how to defeat the evil one as he did. If that's not a worthwhile undertaking, I don't know what is!



 


BACKGROUND


This sacramental was blessed by Pope Pius IX in 1878 and formally approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1880, and includes a short 'rite of investiture' led by a priest or deacon for those who choose to either wear the St. Michael Scapular or keep it in a dedicated place as an outward sign of entrustment to him, asking for his patronage, intercession, and protection.



SYMBOLISM



ASK ST. MICHAEL TO PLACE UPON YOU THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD!

  • The Section of the Scapular Worn on the Back = Reminds us to have an attitude of humble acceptance of God’s will in bearing the crosses and difficulties of life.

  • The Section of the Scapular Worn on the Chest = Reminds us that our hearts should love God and our neighbor and that we should attempt to free ourselves from earthly attachments, and, through the intercession of St Michael the Archangel, strive to attain eternal goods.

  • Wearing Over the Shoulder Blades = Reminds us of an ox with a yoke over its shoulders, ready to be led by its master. The difference is that with an ox it is involuntary, whereas in our case it is completely volitional to surrender our lives to the will of God and to entrust ourselves to the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel.

  • Image of St. Michael = Victory over the devil

  • QUIS UT DEUS? = "Who is like God?", the meaning of the name 'Michael' and the cry of Michael and the angels against the devil and his angels, reiterating that no one is equal to God

  • Shield = 'The Shield of Faith' (Ephesians 6:16 - primary defensive armor)

  • Swords = 'The Sword of the Spirit' which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17 - the only offensive weapon in the 'armor of God')

  • Blue Cord = Represents the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • Black Cord = Represents St. Michael as a warrior who fights off all evil



[SOME EXCERPTS FROM http://www.stmichaelthearchangel.info/faqs.shtml]



 


FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLE OF CONSECRATION


All legitimate consecrations to saints are actually consecrations to Jesus through that saint. Therefore, the purpose of all devotions and sacramentals of the Catholic Church is to lead you to Jesus.


This sentiment is echoed by St. Louis Marie de Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, and expounded upon in his seminal work True Devotion to Mary, which is one of the most utilized personal devotional consecrations in the Church and the source of St. John Paul II's papal motto Totus Tuus ("Totally Yours"). In True Devotion to Mary in paragraphs 14, 61, and 62, De Montfort brings even greater clarity to the subject.


14. With the whole Church I acknowledge that Mary, being a mere creature fashioned by the hands of God is, compared to his infinite majesty, less than an atom, or rather is simply nothing, since he alone can say, "I am he who is". Consequently, this great Lord ... never had and does not now have any absolute need of the Blessed Virgin for the accomplishment of his will and the manifestation of his glory. ... 61. Jesus, our Savior, true God and true man, must be the ultimate end of all our other devotions; otherwise they would be false and misleading. ... 62. If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly. ... If devotion to our Lady distracted us from our Lord, we would have to reject it as an illusion of the devil. But this is far from being the case.


These same principles apply to consecration to Jesus through St. Michael. God is omnipotent, and therefore has no NEED of St. Michael. He needs St. Michael like a fish needs a bicycle. BUT, he created and CHOSE St. Michael for a particular role in the Kingdom of God. When we acknowledge that God-given role, it allows St. Michael to better fulfill his ministry and better provide assistance to the faithful.


I like to compare this idea to a referee in a basketball game. He is there for a very specific purpose which helps to facilitate the game, and has been appointed by the sports organization to serve in this capacity. However, if none of the players acknowledge his role, he cannot fulfill it to the same degree, if at all. In the same way, when we simply acknowledge that God has indeed given St. Michael a specific role in the Kingdom of God, it allows him to fulfill that role more effectively and efficiently. By extension, if we reject St. Michael's role, we do so at our own peril, as this role was assigned to him directly by the Lord.


So, what precisely is St. Michael's role in the Kingdom of God?


 


ST. MICHAEL'S ROLE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Original Art Print by Baritus Catholic. Check out their Etsy shop HERE.


SCRIPTURAL SYLLOGISM


Borrowing from the premise and logic of True Devotion to Mary, paragraph 15, I offer you the following syllogism:

  1. MAJOR PREMISE: St. Michael has been repeatedly chosen by God as the Commander of the Lord's Army to battle the devil and his demons, and in so doing acts as a key protector of the people of God.

    1. Revelation 12:7-9 -7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

    2. Joshua 5:13-15 - 13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood before him with his drawn sword in his hand; and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” 15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

      1. Some translations say 'prince of the host of the Lord' which is very similar to the title 'prince of the heavenly hosts' in the Church's 'Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel' promulgated by Pope Leo XIII. This language also echoes Daniel 12:1 (see full citation below) which again references Michael as 'the great prince'. Although St. Michael is not specifically mentioned in this particular passage, if the Church borrows the language of this verse in its prayers and it is in line with another scriptural description of St. Michael, it is reasonable for the faithful to conclude that this is a legitimate interpretation of the passage.

    3. Jude 9:9 - But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

    4. Daniel 12:1 (regarding the end times) - At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.

  2. MINOR PREMISE: God does not change.

    1. James 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

  3. CONCLUSION: Therefore, St. Michael is still chosen TODAY by God as the Commander of Lord's Army to CONTINUE to battle the devil and his demons, and to CONTINUE to act as a key protector of the people of God.

    1. It's no coincidence that in the same chapter where St. Michael casts the devil out of heaven that it also describes the battle of every individual believer against the powers of darkness. We read in Revelation 12:17, "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus." (i.e. Christians)

    2. Furthermore, until the Second Coming when the devil is ultimately defeated, St. Michael's work is not complete. Not only St. Michael but ALL the saints in the 'cloud of witnesses' cheer us on as we journey to heaven (Hebrews 12:1)

    3. There is no evidence that any aspect of spiritual battle is precluded from the ministry of St. Michael. Therefore, it naturally follows that St. Michael's utterly unique and central role in battling the darkness also extends to his providing of aide in the spiritual warfare we face in our own lives as individuals.


Now that we have confirmed St. Michael's role in the Kingdom, all that remains is to acknowledge it, and in so doing, to honor the Lord's will and wisdom in assigning it. To do otherwise would imply that God has made a mistake in his assignment, which is not possible. The 'Scapular of St. Michael' consecration is one very concrete and intentional way of honoring the God-given role of St. Michael in the Church today. This acknowledgment frees St. Michael to more effectively battle the powers of darkness in our own hearts and in the world. As such, enrolling in the 'Scapular of St. Michael' is not only worthwhile, but a highly recommended practice for all the faithful.



 

JESUS IS ENOUGH. I DON'T NEED ST. MICHAEL.


Original Art Print by Baritus Catholic. Check out their Etsy shop HERE.


That's a fair assessment, and a legitimate conclusion to make. Jesus is our All in All, the Alpha and the Omega, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, our creator, our redeemer, our sanctifier, and the source of our salvation. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and he holds all of creation in the palm of his hand. He has no rival and no equal, and he must in all things and at all times remain on the throne of our hearts as our good, loving, merciful, and victorious King. In fact St. Michael is the chief proponent of these truths, as his very name means 'Who is like God?' which asserts that God has no equal. As expounded in an earlier section, our primary goal in life under which all others are subsumed is to grow closer to Jesus. Therefore, if you do not experience St. Michael leading you closer to Jesus and inspiring you to follow Jesus with even greater passion and conviction, then by all means you may in good conscience dispense with any devotion to him.


HOWEVER, to say that St. Michael is not strictly needed is far from saying that he is not extremely helpful. Therefore, I would also encourage you to ask Jesus to give you his eyes to see St. Michael the way he does - as a faithful friend and soldier with such great humility and loyalty, that he has been commissioned as the commander of the Lord's heavenly army. The question is, if St. Michael is a good friend of Jesus, would he not be a good friend of ours as well?


Imagine for a moment you walk up to Jesus at a party, and next to him is a large warrior angel with outspread wings. Jesus then says, "I would like you to meet my very good friend, Michael. He's the commander of my army of angels." Then, suppose your response to this introduction was, "Shut your mouth, Jesus. How dare you introduce me to one of your friends? What if I get to know him, and I forget all about YOU? You know I love you, J.C., but I want absolutely NOTHING to do with your friends. Don't EVER bring them around here again!"


Aside from the problematic fact that you just told the Word of God to shut his mouth (never a good idea), and the equally troubling way in which you called Jesus Christ by his initials, that would be a completely outrageous and extremely rude response to a simple introduction! This scenario is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that we know that Jesus is God, and St. Michael is a creature. St. Michael is so incredibly far from being any rival or competition to our friendship with Jesus that it is utterly absurd. Getting confused about which one of them is God, and which one is a creature, is as outlandish as someone not being able to tell the difference between a painting and the artist who painted it! I suppose it's possible to be that confused, but only if the person is either completely ignorant or clinically insane. To be clear, do you have to be friends with all the other friends of Jesus? No, of course not. Jesus can be your Best Friend whether or not you know his other friends, the saints and angels.


But, I have to tell you, Jesus has a pretty solid friend group that we would be missing out on. To avoid all engagement with the friends of Jesus would be a major impoverishment in our spiritual lives. The friends of Jesus are filled with amazing examples of faith and fidelity to the Lord, even to the point of death. Their lives and examples give us hope that we too can be faithful to Jesus come what may. It was none other than St. Paul who said, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Cor 11:1). Furthermore, are we not commanded by Jesus to pray for one another? (Matthew 5:44 , James 5:16). What's the difference in asking my brother on earth to pray for me versus asking St. Michael to pray for me, except for the obvious fact that St. Michael is currently in the presence of God? I'm not a world renowned theologian, but I have a hunch that being in the presence of God would be quite an advantage in the efficacy of one's prayers!


If St. Michael is a good friend and trusted companion to Jesus, then I consider him a good friend and trusted companion of mine as well. And let's be honest, as friends go, you could do far worse than a warrior archangel with a proven track record of defeating the devil. It is completely up to you as to whether you choose to have an increased devotion to (deep friendship with) St. Michael and participate in the 'Scapular of St. Michael' consecration. But, whatever you choose, please prayerfully consider letting St. Michael the Archangel be a loyal friend to you as he is to Jesus. St. Michael is a force to be reckoned with, and the devil is terrified of him. Therefore, having St. Michael be more present in our lives is an extremely good idea. One thing is for sure. I know that I for one am very glad that St. Michael is on OUR side.


SERVIAM. I WILL SERVE!

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