Thursday, September 29, 2005

Happy Michaelmas
The Collect.
O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant, that as thy holy Angels alway do thee service in heaven, so by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle. Rev. (Apocalypse) 12. 7.
THERE was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
- The Book of Common Prayer

Is anybody out there eating goose?

The popular imagination is often Manichæan, imagining God and Satan (ha-Satan, the adversary) doing battle directly, but God is so far above Satan and the latter is an angel like St Michael (‘Micha El?’, ‘Who is like God?’) so it makes sense for God, like a general sending regiments to battle, to send his holy standard-bearer to do the job!
HOLY Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
The angel craze in popular culture seems to have waned. As I liked to say when it was big, people hearing Roma Downey’s Ulster brogue say ‘God loves you’ wasn’t a bad thing.

John Henry Newman on the angels

More from Fr Will Brown

Now playing on my computer, where I listen to most of my music: Annie Lennox, ‘There Must Be an Angel’! (You can’t be all serious all the time!)

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