St. Michael’s Cave and Mountain
In our first book, This is My Body, This Is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist, we talked about Holy Clusters. We asked you to consider the concept of God as a Pilot flying high above the earth. From His vantage point, He can see great distances, and occurrences that are about to happen, and have already happened. Aboard His plane, we can see the pattern, He has created. We see clusters of holy places and events that seem to have no connection, other than that they were all instituted by Our Lord, and they are located geographically close to each other. The chronological sequence may be centuries apart. But time is a limitation put on man, not on God.
An example of clusters of holy places would be the area around Loreto, Italy, where the Holy House of Nazareth is located. Down the Adriatic coast, a short distance from Loreto, is a town called Macerata, site of a Miracle of the Eucharist, as well as a very special Shrine to our Lady.
If we continue farther down the Adriatic coast, we come to Lanciano, site of the oldest known Miracle of the Eucharist in the history of our Church. Lanciano is also the scene of a second Miracle of the Eucharist.
At the very heel of the boot of Italy, also on the Adriatic coast, is San Giovanni Rotondo, home of Padre Pio for over fifty years of his priesthood. Here, he received the visible Stigmata and bore the wounds of Jesus for fifty years. San Giovanni Rotondo is about twenty miles from Monte St. Angelo, where the Archangel Michael appeared towards the end of the Fourth Century.
Michael-Angel of God
St. Michael is a powerful Angel of God. He is our symbol of strength, power, courage and hope. Mentioned by name in three places in the Bible, Daniel 10:13-12:1, Revelation 12:7, and Jude 1:9, in each of these instances, he is doing battle with Satan. His name is actually Mica-El, which means “Who is like God?” That was his battle cry as he fought the battle against Lucifer and the fallen angels.
Michael is referred to in many other passages, when not by name, by rank and title. In Exodus, when Moses is leading his people out of Egypt, it is Michael, under the title of “The Angel of the Lord” who guards and protects them. It is implied that it was Michael who released Peter from his chains, and led him out of prison, as described in the Acts of the Apostles. It is also held by many that the Angel who wrestled with Jacob was Michael.
In our own Church History, Michael has always been highly visible. Prior to Vatican II, the prayer to St. Michael was recited at the end of each Mass, with the prayers at the foot of the altar. At funeral Masses, we pray that Michael will bring the soul of the deceased to the Father. “Deliver them from the lion’s mouth, that hell engulf them not, that they fall not into darkness; but let Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the Holy Light.”
From this prayer, we believe that Michael is responsible for bringing souls up from Purgatory to Heaven. There is an inspired belief that most souls are released from Purgatory on Christmas Day, that our sweet Mother Mary, Queen of the Angels, personally goes to Purgatory, to bring those who are ready to meet her dear Son Jesus to Heaven. Part of that tradition is that Michael accompanies our Lady to Purgatory to accomplish this joyful task.
Michael is always connected with Mary.
In all the paintings of the Holy House of Nazareth being carried to Loreto, Italy, by the Angels, St. Michael is always pictured in the lead, his red cloak flowing in the wind, guiding the house on its path.
In 1916, the year prior to our Lady’s extraordinary appearance to the three children at Fatima, an Angel, the Angel of Peace, came to them, and prepared them for her visit. He gave them the Eucharist. One of Michael’s titles is “Angel of Peace.” It is generally accepted that it was Michael who visited the children.
While the Angel who accompanied St. Catherine Labour‚ into the chapel in Paris, appeared to be a child, it is believed that he was St. Michael. It was in this chapel that our Lady gave St. Catherine the image of the Miraculous Medal.
Michael is known and venerated over all the world.
Michael is Patron Saint of Belgium. His image can be seen on the national currency. In Brussels, Belgium, there is a huge church named after him, with a large statue of Michael on top of the steeple.
Constantine the Great had a vision of St. Michael, and had a great Shrine built in honor of the event in a town outside of Constantinople. He named the town Michaelion. It is located in Sosthenion, about fifty miles south of Constantinople. It has been the scene of many physical cures and conversions. Today, that whole area is part of Turkey, largely inhabited by Muslims. But pilgrims continue to go there to pray, and miracles are still happening.
In Paris, in the midst of sinful Montmartre, the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur, (Sacred Heart) stands tall, with a huge statue of St. Michael on top, defeating Satan with his sword.
St. Joan of Arc, co-patroness of France, and a very powerful woman in our Church, testified that one of the voices she heard was St. Michael the Archangel. He gave her the battle plans she carried out to save France.
In the northwestern sector of France, in the early eighth century, St. Michael appeared to the Bishop of Avranches, France, and claimed a mountain, which has become known as Mont St. Michel (the Mountain of St. Michael). In this chapter, we will be sharing the Cave of St. Michael in Gargano, in southern Italy, and the Mountain of St. Michael, Mt. St. Michel, in northwestern France.
Michael – Defender of the Church
The sound of the battle cry, “Mica-El” (who is like God?) can be heard echoing through the galaxies, bouncing from star to star, down through the ages, ricocheting off every corner of the earth. He is still warring, as he did when Satan and the fallen angels rebelled against God. His cry, “Who is like God? now attacks those heresies that would have us believe we are gods. The names are different, but the enemies are the same; as Paul said…
“Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities and Powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high.”(Eph 6:11-12)
Michael the Archangel is Defender of the Church, Angel of God, Angel of Peace, Protector of the faithful, Archenemy of Satan and all the evil powers roaming the earth seeking the ruination of souls. Michael is famous for rallying the forces of the good Angels against those of the fallen angels. We see paintings of St. Michael hurling them down into the fiery pits of hell. And this great battle that took place before the earth was formed, is still going on.
Michael is someone we can call on when we feel the modern-day world of Lucifer swallowing up so many good and unsuspecting brothers and sisters. There are times when we feel as if we are walking through a holocaust; chaos and destruction all around us, threatening to envelope us, when suddenly we feel covered by a warm, protective shield. To us, that shield is our St. Michael, given to us by the Lord, to turn to, when things get rough.
We share all this with you to get you ready for the Shrine we are about to visit, one of the most famous of the Shrines to St. Michael, the Cave of St. Michael in the Gargano, at the boot of Italy. But it’s also to give you a little background on this most important, most powerful Saint of our Church. As you can see, we have a great love and devotion to St. Michael, the Archangel. Our grandson Rob took the name of Michael as his confirmation name, as his grandfather, Bob, proudly stood by, as his sponsor.
There is a prayer our Ministry says before we travel, regardless of the distance. When we are on Pilgrimage, before we take off to visit the Shrines, we ask our Pilgrims on the bus to join us in this prayer. You might like to join us right now, as we pray:
Dear Lord Jesus, we ask you to send all the Guardian Angels to form a protective circle around this (car, plane, boat), with St. Michael the Archangel in charge. St. Michael in front of us, St. Michael in back of us, St. Michael to the left of us, St. Michael to the right of us, St. Michael above us, St. Michael below us. We ask for our Lady of Guadalupe to cover us with her Mantilla, and our Lady of Loreto (Patroness of Air Travelers) to sit on top of the (plane, car, boat) with the Holy House and the Infant Jesus. We ask that anything that would harm us physically, spiritually, emotionally or mentally be kept away from us, and that we be brought to our final destination to glorify Your Son’s Name.
Written by Bob and Penny Lord from their book Heavenly Army of Angels