Friday, September 24, 2010

The Angel of Garabandal

The Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Garabandal
9/29/10
Devotion to Saint Michael
 “But at that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and a time shall come such as never was from the time that nations began even until that time.”
-The Book of Daniel; Chpt. 12 vs.1
“The fact that the angel of Garabandal was the archangel Saint Michael has a special meaning. It indicated the basic theme of what was happening in this little village. St. Michael’s very presence proclaimed the great spiritual drama that was unfolding on earth and of which Garabandal was to be one of the very important acts. It heralded a gigantic struggle in the world between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Those who have taken to heart the Garabandal Message understand this and pray frequently to him whom the Church has always invoked as a powerful ally in the struggle with the devil.”
-Fr. Joseph Pelletier A.A.; God Speaks at Garabandal
“I, your mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives.”
-The Second Message of Garabandal; June 18, 1965

            The Roman Catholic Church from its earliest generations has maintained a strong devotion to Saint Michael the Archangel. This devotion is rooted solidly in sacred scripture by the explicit use of his name in the prophetic books, the many works attributed to him by the inherited Hebrew tradition and complimentary exegesis by the Fathers of the Church.
In the West, popular devotion to Saint Michael spread through the apparition of the Holy Angel across Europe in the darkest hours of late antiquity. At such places as Monte San Angelo and Mont San Michel, among many others, great shrines grew to become the destinations of devotional pilgrimages. They have lasted down the centuries to our own time as a testament to the Christian patrimony of Europe. 
Modern devotion to Saint Michael really begins with the apparitions of a Portuguese Carmelite, the Servant of God, Antonia d’Astonac who received a series of prayers by divine inspiration which she attributed to Saint Michael. These prayers salute Saint Michael as well the nine choirs of angels. To those who faithfully recite this chaplet Saint Michael promised his constant spiritual assistance, that of all the angels, defeat of any demonic influence throughout the family, the gradual acquisition of a pure heart and when said before holy mass; an angelic escort at the time of communion. This chaplet was approved and a monthly plenary indulgence under the ordinary conditions was added to it in 1851 by His Holiness, Pius IX.   
Some thirty years after this recognition, devotion to the Archangel Michael was to spread rapidly through the entire Church with the express consent of the Holy Father. In 1884, Pope Leo XIII received a mysterious revelation while attending mass which caused him great alarm. Although he did not commit the spiritual intuition to writing, his contemporaries began to circulate that the Holy Father had been granted knowledge of a gathering satanic assault of terrible force and a century’s duration directed at destroying the Catholic Church. Leo XIII, deeply concerned by the prophesy, commended the defense of the Church to Saint Michael by promulgating the following prayer:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

Looking back at the bloody twentieth century we can surmise the ferocity of this attack which put to persecution and martyrdom millions of Catholics throughout the world at the hands of totalitarian and communist regimes - but the Church endures.
As many remember, this Leonine prayer was said at the conclusion of each mass until the introduction of the Novus Ordo in 1970. Ironically, in 1984, the centennial of Leo XIII’s vision, Pope John Paul II revived by papal indult the optional use of this prayer at the conclusion of Mass. In a later address, that Great Holy Father spoke clearly, “Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the evil spirits of this world.”
This brings our narrative to the times of the apparitions at Garabandal. Here, Saint Michael is first upon the scene. His appearances commencing June 18, 1961, preceded and prepared the way for those of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. The visionaries, aged 11 and 12 at the time, described him as distinguished, smiling and hearty; in age about nine years old.
Incidentally, it is not unexpected of Saint Michael to cast his appearance and age as similar to that of the young visionaries so as not to overwhelm them. This has been a recorded phenomenon in many other angelic visitations including those of Saint Catherine Laboure.
Throughout the period of the apparitions, Saint Michael brought Holy Communion to the visionaries on days when mass was unavailable in the village.  It is worth recalling his instructions on reception of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Before receiving communion he requested of the children to say an Act of Contrition and before thanksgiving after reception he taught them to say the Anima Christi (“Soul of Christ”) of Saint Ignatius Loyola. When asked where the hosts they received had come from, Saint Michael responded that they were taken from tabernacles on earth because, “angels cannot consecrate.”
Saint Michael was instrumental throughout the apparitions appearing often at the side of the Blessed Mother and in the company of another angel who remained anonymous. He was the minister of the visible host in the “little miracle” and was the bearer of the Second Message of Garabandal on June 18, 1965 which he committed to the visionaries in person. We do not have the opportunity here to recount in detail all the minor works of Saint Michael during the apparitions. We can only direct those interested to the original works on Garabandal contained on our website– www.garabandal.us -and available gratis.
In these days surrounding the feast of the Holy Archangels and the Guardian Angels we commend this devotion to you with great enthusiasm. These are indeed times of crisis with so much swirling violence and random catastrophe we do well to heed Our Lady’s request to increase our devotion to the Prince of the Holy Angels and secure for ourselves and our families their faithful assistance and protection and deliverance from the evil of this hour.
May Saint Michael the Archangel, Guardian of the People of God, patron and protector of the Church of Jesus Christ and victorious by the power of God over all His enemies uphold and defend the faithful in this present generation.
In Union of Prayer,
The Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal
Lindenhurst, NY USA

Presently, at the New York Center we have a limited supply of Saint Michael Chaplets to offer gratis to subscribers on our email list who wish to deepen their devotion to the Archangel Saint Michael as Our Lady requested at Garabandal. To receive a chaplet rosary and the accompanying prayer card please send an email to us at joey@garabandalny.org with CHAPLET in the subject line. Please include your mailing address, postal code and country in the text of the email.
P.O. Box 606, Lindenhurst, NY 11757-0606
www.Garabandal.us