I am the second son of an Irish-American Catholic family. My older brother was given the name of my father. My beautiful, devout mother named me after Michael the Archangel. Today, September 29, is the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel.
In Catholic Angelology, Michael is one of God’s storm troopers. He appears several times in the Book of Daniel. In the New Testament, it is Michael the Archangel that leads God’s armies against the forces of evil (Book of Revelation 12:7-9). He is seen as a protector which is why he is the patron saint of police officers and paratroopers, among others. Michael is also the angel of death, he is the one who gives souls the chance to redeem themselves before passing. Was my mother arming me with the shield of Michael?
My mother has never called me by any name but Michael. There are precisely two people who are important to me that call me “Mike,” my younger sisters. Seeing that I nicknamed my youngest sister “Bitsey” when I was three years old, I am lucky she does not address me with something more profane. My other three siblings have always called me Michael.
When I received my first communion in 1968, my maternal grandmother gave me a small wooden statue of Michael the Archangel. Oddly enough, I still have it 50 years and a dozen moves later. Over time the wings of the statue have broken off. No amount of glue would keep them in place and, eventually, they vanished. I think the statue stayed with me all these years because he has given up his wings. As the photo shows, he still has some fight left in him.
In the Easter Virgil of the Roman Catholic tradition, Michael alone is named out of all the angels and archangels. The Roman Catholic prayer to St. Michael asks the Archangel to protect the church from evil. The prayer is as follows:
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 you, O prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and the other evil spirits
who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.
In some dioceses, this prayer is being invoked to help protect the church from the attack coming from people like me. I think those people should be careful what they pray for.
As I have stated before in another blog post, I no longer consider myself to be a Catholic. I do not believe in God. I think there is an evil that resides in men who rape children. I think that the bishops and church officials that protect these monsters are the defenders of that evil. My question to them is simple. Do you want to be transparent and honest with me or would you prefer to wait to try to redeem yourself with my namesake? Your call, Excellencies. If it helps with your decision, I will remind you that I am not the angel of death.