(via ATX Catholic)
The Michaelmas is the centuries-old Latin Mass celebrated in honor of the Archangel Michael on September 29th.
Devotion to St. Michael the Archangel existed in the Old Testament (Daniel 10:13, 10:21, & 12:1), and it continued in the New Testament (Jude 1:9 and Revelations chapter 12.) The Apostle John prophesied a healing spring which was later revealed in Colossae when the Archangel appeared. Many sick were healed there and a church was built in St Michael’s honor.
The earliest records of an official Michaelmas are in the fifth century when a basilica near Rome was consecrated in honor of St. Michael the Archangel. The name Michaelmas is an abbreviation of “Michael’s Mass,” similar to Christmas (Christ’s Mass) and Candlemas (Candle Mass, when all candles were blessed).
During the Middle Ages (500 A.D.- 1500 A.D.), the Michaelmas, or the Feast of St. Michael, was celebrated as a Holy Day of Obligation. The obligation was removed in the 18th century. In England the holy King Ethelred imposed a strict fast for three days in preparation before celebrating the great and solemn Michaelmas. Interestingly, it was when the Michaelmas was no longer a Holy Day of Obligation that Pope Leo XIII had his vision of Satan attacking mankind for 100 years.
The great esteem of the ancient Church for the Celestial Prince was shown as Michaelmas held the same rank, (a Double of the First Class), as the great feasts of Christmas and Easter. Other Sundays following the feast were known in the calendar as the weeks after Saint Michael.
Prayers in the ancient liturgies reflect this great honor. During the Michaelmas, the priest prays the following at the blessing of incense …
“through the intercession of Blessed Michael, the Archangel, standing at the right of the altar of incense [in heaven], the Lord may deign to bless this incense, and receive it as an odor of sweetness.”
The Gradual of the Michaelmas states, “Holy Archangel Michael, defend us in the battle: that we may not perish in the dreadful judgement. Alleluia!” For other Feasts of St. Michael like the apparition of St. Michael at Gargano (492 AD) the Gradual states, “The sea was shaken and the earth trembled when the Archangel Michael came down from heaven. Alleluia!”
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