As Christ ended His third prayer in the Garden of Gethsemani, He lay prostrate on the ground horribly shaken by the whole ordeal. The one thing He prayed for was not granted Him, but Holy Scripture relates that, “there appeared to him an angel from heaven to strengthen him.” (Lk 22:43)
It was an angel from heaven who announced to His mother Mary that she had been chosen to fulfill a creature’s greatest service to her God. When men refused the Son of God recognition on this earth, angels filled the skies to announce Him and sing His glories. When cruel men sought His life in infancy, an angel directed the Holy Family to the safety of Egypt. When He was tempted in the desert: “Behold angels came and ministered to him.” (Mt. 4:11) Little wonder then that when He was in agony in the Garden of Olives an angel should succor Him.
It is well to note that Christ’s prayer was not answered in the way He had desired. He had prayed the first time that the chalice might pass from Him. It did not pass but His strength was increased. He prayed the second time for relief from His burden, but while the burden was increased, His strength was augmented to match it. Christ prayed the third time, saying the selfsame words He had spoken on the two previous occasions. His agony did not cease but He found the courage “to pray more earnestly.” (Lk 22:43) Learn from this that when God seems most deaf to our pleadings in prayer, He may prefer to make heroes of us. Be assured that in time of temptation, and trial, God’s angels will ever be at our side to comfort, encourage, and succor us.
Seize this occasion to bolster your devotion to the angels, and in a special way, to St. Michael. St. Alphonsus Liguori says: “Devotion to St. Michael is a sign of predestination.” In the year 1751, St. Michael appeared to an illustrious servant of God, Antonia d’Astonae, a Carmelite in Portugal. He expressed the wish that she should publish for his honor nine salutations corresponding to the nine choirs of angels. It was to consist in the recitations of a Pater Noster and three Aves in honor of each of the angelic hierarchies, then four Pater Nosters, the first in his honor, the second in honor of St. Gabriel, the third for St. Raphael, and the last for the Guardian Angel. As a reward the glorious prince of the celestial court promised:
“Whoever would practice this devotion in his honor would have, when approaching the Holy Table, an escort of nine angels chosen from each one of the nine choirs.” In addition, for the daily recital of these nine salutations he promised his “continual assistance and that of all the holy angels during life, and after death deliverance from purgatory for themselves and their relations.”
In time of temptation call upon the holy angels and archangels to defend and protect you. Never let a day go by without a special petitions to the heavenly choirs – especially your guardian angel.
Salutations given by Saint Michael (known also as the Chaplet of Saint Michael):
O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be…Amen
[One Our Father and three Hail Mary after each salutation]
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim, may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity. Amen.
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim, may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection. Amen.
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones, may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility. Amen.
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations, may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions. Amen.
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues, may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers, may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil. Amen.
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities, may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels, may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven. Amen.
- By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels, may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven. Amen.
Say one Our Father in honor of each: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and your Guardian Angel.
O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.
Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.
Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence. This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
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*From Reflections on the Passion