A Poem And A Prayer on Michaelmas

Today is the Feast of St. Michael and the Archangels, also known as Michaelmas. I like the calendar name Michaelmas and that this day used to be a huge festival marking the beginning of Autumn. I actually hope that this day is celebrated extravagantly still somewhere on the globe. Does anyone know?

What follows is a brief hymn penned by Blessed John Henry Newman to mark the occasion. Written in 1862, this was published in 1867 in a volume entitled Verses on Various Occasions.  

Saint Michael
(A hymn)
Thou champion high
Of Heaven’s imperial Bride,
For ever waiting on her eye,
Before her onward path, and at her side,
In war her guard secure, by night her ready guide!
To thee was given,
When those false angels rose
Against the Majesty of Heaven,
To hurl them down the steep, and on them close
The prison where they roam in hopeless unrepose.
Thee, Michael, thee,
When sight and breathing fail,
The disembodied soul shall see;
The pardon’d soul with solemn joy shall hail,
When holiest rites are spent, and tears no more avail.
And thou, at last,
When Time itself must die,
Shalt sound that dread and piercing blast,
To wake the dead, and rend the vaulted sky,
And summon all to meet the Omniscient Judge on high.




Cardinal Newman wielded a mighty pen, as this volume of poems is almost 400 pages in length. I look forward to sharing more of Blessed John Henry’s poetry with you as we make our way through the liturgical calendar.

Now, this feast day would not be complete without a prayer asking St. Michael the Archangel to pray for us and for the Church. Happily, I also found this excellent video presentation of Pope Leo XIII’s original prayer to St. Michael. Composed sometime between 1884 -1898 (I couldn’t find the definitive date), the original prayer is both longer and more soul satisfying than the short version that I am used to seeing.

Pray it along with me now (and please share it with others).

YouTube Preview Image

And how about some recipes for dishes traditionally served on this feast day, courtesy of the good folks at Fish Eaters? Now this is the kind of eating, praying, and loving I can get used too. May I have seconds on the goose please?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13201226644704622876 Sal

    In the same vein as the Newman poem, is Chesterton's "Prayer to St. Michael in Time of Peace":http://www.wf-f.org/StMichael-Chesterton.htmlA happy feastday to all the Michaels and Michelles out there!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    Sal, that is a good one, though this isn't exactly peace time. At least, not for my friends still in the Marines.

  • http://www.eglantz.com Craig

    Nice post, thank you for this. I am not sure where this feast is celebrated so highly, but know for sure, it is highly exalted in the hearts of the faithful (and that is no small thing)! It is amazing that people used to recite this powerful prayer after Mass. It is a shame what traditions we have done away with. As a convert I can only imagine the majesty of a Latin Mass.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13201226644704622876 Sal

    Craig,We still say it! :)Check around- there might be one in your area or within driving distance.Our Extraordinary Form community here in Dallas is almost twenty years old. Next week, we will have the dedication of our own parish church after almost a year of renovating the interior. We are giddy with joy and thanksgiving. After eighteen years of being hosted by the dear Discalced Carmelites for Sunday Masses in their tiny chapel, we have our own place at last, with room for all those who want to attend.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13201226644704622876 Sal

    Oh, and thanks for the video and the long form of the prayer. That was wonderful! I typed it out, and it's going in the Missal.


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