St Michael and Satan

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“And now war broke out in Heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of Heaven. The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the Devil or Satan, who had led all the world astray, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him” (Rv 12:7-9).

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? How art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? And thou said in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High. But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit” (Is 14:12-15). “And He said to them: ‘I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven” (Lk 10:18).

Archangel Michael’s longstanding enmity with Satan (Samael) dates back to when the latter, as Lucifer, had attempted to raise himself above His very own creator God the Father, by refusing to obey Him and inciting other angels of the ranks of principalities and powers to do the same. Lucifer thought that he could successfully be better than God, without God, because he had been the Father’s ‘confidante’ and allowed to know Him more than any other angel. It is also held that God the Father “revealed to the angels the future Incarnation of His Divine Son, whom they were to adore in His Sacred Humanity . . . [and] the surpassing dignity and glory of Mary whom, as the Mother of God, they were to venerate as their Queen” (St Michael the Archangel, 2006, p. 5). Lucifer wanted for himself the hypostatic union that was to be in Jesus Christ; Lucifer also reacted with blasphemies upon being told that the Mother of God was to be Queen.

Thus, a fierce war broke out in Heaven, with Michael and many other faithful angels siding with God the Father, against Lucifer and the rebelling angels: “Lucifer, one of the most glorious and exalted princes of the heavenly court, dazzled by the splendor of his own gifts, rebelled at the thought that human nature should be preferred to his own angelic nature. He would not acknowledge that a woman, inferior to him in nature, should at some future time be made his Queen, and that the seed of that woman should be preferred to himself for the honor of the hypostatic union. Desiring for himself the prerogatives of the God-man, he raised his great battle-cry of rebellion: “I will be like the Most High” (Is 14:14). In their pride, a third of the angels took up Lucifer’s rebellious cry. At the same instant, another great Archangel, equal in beauty and grace to the proud Lucifer, prostrated himself before the throne of God. With an act of profound adoration, he opposed the cry of the rebellious angels with his own battle cry of love and loyalty: “Mi-kha-el (St. Michael the Archangel, 2006, p. 6) – Quis ut Deus? – “Who is like unto God?”

During the fierce heavenly war that ensued, Lucifer had grabbed hold of Michael in an attempt to pull him down with him, in his fall from Heaven. However, Michael was saved by God the Father Himself, while Lucifer, “fell like lightning from Heaven” (Lk 10:18); hence, Michael’s fierce and unswerving loyalty to the Almighty Father. Michael also fiercely debated and rebuked Satan over the soul of Moses after concealing his tomb, because Satan wanted to use it to entice the Israelites to fall again into idolatry.

References

  • Catholic Encyclopedia. (1911). Retrieved on 2/24/12 from:  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10275b.htm
  • Jewish Encyclopedia. (1906). Retrieved on 2/24/12 from: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=560&letter=M#1833
  • Midrash Deut. Rabbah xi. 6.
  • Midrash Pirke R. El. xxvi.
  • Orthodox Encyclopedia. (2008). Retrieved on 2/24/12 from: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Archangel_Michael
  • St Michael the Archangel. (2006). Tan Books.
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