Saint Michael, the Guardian Angel of the Blessed Sacrament
Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance, 1913
“Michael,” or “Who is like to God?” Such was the cry of the great archangel when he smote the rebel Lucifer in the conflict of the heavenly hosts, and from that hour he has been known as “Michael,” the captain of the armies of God, the type of of divine fortitude, the champion of every faithful soul in strife with the powers of evil. Thus he appears in Holy Scripture as the guardian of the children of Israel, their comfort and protector in times of sorrow or conflict. He it is who prepares for their return from the Persian captivity, who leads the valiant Machabees to victory, and who rescues the body of Moses from the envious grasp of the Evil One. And since Christ’s coming the Church has ever venerated St. Michael as her special patron and protector. She styles him “the chief of the angelic hosts set over paradise, whom the citizens of heaven delight to honor; the messenger of God to the souls of the just.” She invokes him by name in her confession of sin, summons him to the side of her children in the agony of death, and chooses him as their escort from the chastening flames of purgatory to the realms of holy light. Lastly, when Antichrist shall have set up his kingdom on earth, it is Michael who will unfurl once more the standard of the cross, sound the last trump, and binding together the false prophet and the beast hurl them for all eternity into the burning pool.–Bowden.
Although the Blessed Sacrament is the property of the souls of men, and belongs to them in a way and with an intimacy which the spirits of the angels cannot share, there is nevertheless a great connection between the angels and the Blessed Sacrament. It is the especial mystery of that human nature in which Jesus is head of the angels. It is one of the mysteries they adore and humbly desire to look into. They admire it with a special admiration, and follow it all over the world–in the priests’ hands, on the throne, in the tabernacle, round the church, on its obscure visits to the sick–as if they were attracted by it, which they are. It is called angels’ food and the bread of angels; and although they cannot enjoy the proper sacramental union with the flesh of our dearest Lord, they doubtless feed on it in their intelligences by a kind of spiritual communion. St. Thomas says that the angels see Christ in clear vision and enjoy Him in His own proper species, and this is their spiritual communion, which precludes their receiving by a spiritual communion this sacrament, where He is seen only by faith and enjoyed only under the sacramental species. “They feed not on the sacrament, but on Him Who is in the Sacrament.”–Summa. p. iii., q. 80, art. 2, c.
It is said that St. Michael revealed to St. Eutropius, the hermit, that he had been chosen to be the guardian angel of the Blessed Sacrament . . . and there are also on record several revelations of his to various saints concerning the worship of the Blessed Sacrament. Some have supposed him to be the angel of the Mass referred to in the Canon; he is spoken of at the beginning of the Mass in the Confiteor, and again in the second incensing at the High Mass; and also in the Offertory of Masses of Requiem.–Father Faber.