Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers’ Board of Directors
St. Michael: Warrior and Healer
Last year, Pope Francis urged the faithful to recite the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
after praying the rosary in order to protect the Church from “spiritual turbulence.” Around the same time,
parishes in the United States began saying the Prayer to St. Michael after Mass, a practice continued in
many places to this day.
In an article for Crux Magazine, published last year around the time when many parishes were
bringing back the prayer to St. Michael, writer Carol Zimmermann highlighted that St. Joseph Parish in
Roseburg, Oregon, had been saying the St. Michael prayer since 2015. It began in the aftermath of a tragedy; and soon afterwards, parish priest Father Jose Manuel Campos Garcia made it a regular part of Mass. Zimmermann writes, “After he began leading the parish in this prayer after daily Mass, he said he saw a change.”
In an interview with the Catholic Sentinel, the newspaper for the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, Father Garcia said, “For us, it’s been a journey of healing relationships and healing the community”
It’s interesting that Father Garcia associates the Prayer to St. Michael with healing, because St. Michael was associated with healing in the early Church, before the predominant imagery associated with him became that of a warrior. Of course, we know that it is not physical but spiritual combat in which God’s angel leads us, and such combat is carried out through prayer, sacrifice, fasting, and almsgiving. These practices help us to bring about real change and guard our souls as well as the Church against anything that would do us harm.
In actuality, both ideas of St. Michael as healer and as warrior are valid. He is a protector, and in that sense, the imagery of a warrior helps us to understand his role as one who will fight with every fiber of his being to defend those who call upon him. But the image of a healer is also valid, because Michael offers protection from that which would do us harm, and this protection allows us to heal from any troubles that would afflict us.
Through the centuries, many have found St. Michael the Archangel to be a powerful intercessor and the prayer to him remains an efficacious way to ask for protection in times of trouble. It’s important to remember that, in calling upon St. Michael, we are asking for protection so that peace might return to our lives. Many people pray this prayer daily to bring about healing, whether they need help and protection in fighting addiction, in healing divisions within families and communities, or guidance amid the difficulties of life. St. Michael can keep the worst of our troubles at bay so that we can focus on finding the healing in life that God wants for us all.
So turn to St. Michael with confidence, and you will find healing in your soul and in your community, and you will bring healing to the Church. Pray to St. Michael for protection and the strength to stand with God in the most difficult times, and he will intercede for you in powerful ways to strengthen and protect you and your loved ones. And remember that the Prayer to St. Michael is a prayer of hope in the power of God to set things right in the world. It is a prayer of hope in finding lasting peace and building a world that lives in gratitude for the love of Christ.
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