Novena Reflection Day 4

When he was at the place, he said to them, “Pray that you don’t enter into temptation.”
He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and he knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. Being in agony he prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
When he rose up from his prayer, he came to the disciples, and found them sleeping because of grief, and said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
While he was still speaking, a crowd appeared. He who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He came near to Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
When those who were around him saw what was about to happen, they said to him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” A certain one of them struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, “Let me at least do this”—and he touched his ear, and healed him. Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders, who had come against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you in the temple daily, you didn’t stretch out your hands against me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

Luke 22:40-53

In the stance of Saint Michael the Archangel, the blessed priest Bronisław Markiewicz particularly distinguished two virtues: humility and purity. Characterizing Saint Michael’s action as a constant battle against pride, he wrote: This Archangel fights the dragon and his angels – the father of pride and the leader of the proud, because the devil began with pride. Pride, therefore, the Knight of the Lord’s Cause, knocked down to hell. As we know, he knocked Satan down to hell with a modest, humble and adoring at the same time: Who is like God. He made it not with His own power but with God’s own power. One of the eighteenth-century painters beautifully showed this Christian truth in the picture from Feretron. It presents St. Michael with the sword raised and the shield with the cross on it. The body and face do not express any effort, because the power that overwhelms Satan comes from the cross.

Pointing to the humility of Saint Michael, bl. Fr. Markiewicz places him not elsewhere, but just under the cross of Christ, saying: Let us stand with him, wielding the victorious banner of the Cross of Christ and remember that under this banner, moving forward and fighting, we will successfully overcome all ambushes and assaults of the evil spirit trying to scandalize us. Association of St. Michael with the cross of Christ results from the motive of remuneration and submission to God. Archangel Michael was the first angel who made this expiatory act for the sin of pride of Satan. But this act was imperfect and could not give God full satisfaction. Only Christ, the God-Man nailed to the cross, humbled himself by becoming a servant and through humble obedience to God’s will, through what he suffered, he fully recompensed God the Father. Therefore, only in Christ, in his humbleness and victory on the cross lies the secret of our victory over death and Satan. Hence humility is needed in our lives, because only in the virtue of humility is the strength to endure all hardships. The patronage of Saint Michael and the company of Angels is to help us in this spiritual work; Because all suffering and persecution cannot destroy those – says Fr. Markiewicz – who go under the cross of Christ, where St. Michael leads his hosts.

True followers of Christ do not regard their sufferings as a malicious twist of fate. They claim, that if God allowed their crosses in their lives, He wants to say something very important to them, give something very wonderful, deliver them from even worse and more serious misfortunes.

Therefore, let us ask God with the prayer of Fr. Markiewicz, which he noted in his breviary: Therefore, I am begging you, Heavenly Father, for mercy from all suffering. I am asking you this through the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ and through the intercession of His Mother and Saint Michael. Amen.

Fr. Rafał Kamiński CSMA

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