Written by: Peter Nguyen, UF Student
“At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress…” (Daniel 12:1). When I hear this verse from the Book of Daniel, I can’t help but think of our current crisis in the Church. With all these atrocities and indifference among notable members of the Church hierarchy, I think that it’s fair to say that we are currently in a time of major distress. But even through this, it is important to remember the graciousness that God has provided His people throughout the history of Judeo-Christianity. In the times of prophets and kings of the Old Testament, God sent St. Michael the Archangel to guard and defend the Israelites, the chosen people. With the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ, we, as baptized Christians, have all been welcomed as God’s chosen people. And with that, the Lord has and continues to send St. Michael the Archangel to defend us in battle.
As parishioners at St. Augustine Parish and members of Catholic Gators, we are very familiar with the Prayer to St. Michael, as it is prayed at the end of every daily Mass. But the history of the prayer is very interesting. The Prayer to St. Michael was composed by Pope Leo XIII after having a vision. In the vision, he heard a conversation between God and Satan, in which God allowed Satan to choose one century in which to do his worst work. In this dialogue, Satan chose the 20th century. Although we are no longer in the 20th century, it is clear that Satan never stops seeking to steal souls away from God. It is even more true, however, that God never stops pursuing us and longs for us to be in perfect communion with Him.
It is in this perfect communion that Christ, in our Gospel reading for today, proclaims His Second Coming. When the time comes, Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead, and the souls who have died will be united again to their bodies. As stated by Daniel, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and grace” (Dn 12:2). This should not scare us; rather, it should inspire us to live out our very existence for Christ, in order that we may receive eternal life and experience God’s everlasting love in its fullness. But we must be aware and renew our faith now, for “no one knows [the day or hour which Christ will come], neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 12:32). In this, I am reminded of the Latin phrase momento mori, which means “reminder of death.” We should not fear death; rather we should reflect on mortality and turn towards the immortality of the soul and our goal of entering Heaven, our eternal home. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that “Christ died so that by dying he might deliver us from the fear of death.” May we be inspired by the example of Christ and His saints, in order that we may continually strive for sainthood.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.