It is appropriate that an Order, which has as its sole purpose to aid the Church, to invoke the intercession of heavenly powers. The holy Archangel Michael is our guardian and patron. The name Michael in Hebrew [pronounced: mee-kha-ehl] means one who is like God. Archangel [pronounced: ark-angel] means the chief, principal or preeminent angel. The Archangel Michael is mentioned five times in Holy Scriptures (Bible): Daniel 10:13; 10:21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; and Revelation 12:7). His name also appears in some apocryphal writings where he is the great captain "who is set over the best part of mankind".
The Archangel Michael was regarded in the early church as a helper of Christian armies against the heathen. He was also seen as the protector of individual Christians against the devil, especially at the hour of death when St. Michael leads the souls to God. In Icons and other religious art, St. Michael is often depicted as a warrior in ancient battle garb holding a long spear. In Holy Scriptures, he is seen as contending with the forces of evil.
Pseudo Dionysios (5th or 6th century A.D.), himself a great and influential early mystic, described the Archangel Michael as a principal figure in a heavenly hierarchy. The divine will descends through the leading Archangels to lesser angels, to man and the world. In this sense, St. Michael is only represented to us as an angel and a leader of angels. There is actually only one power in the whole universe, and God's Archangel Michael then represents the angelic function of the Lord's divinity coming into manifestation. This angelic function is chief or principal. It leads and it contends with all that opposes it. By our appealing to the Archangel Michael we turn to God and with him we contend with all that opposes God's good.
We can relate to Archangel Michael on any of these spiritual levels. On the lowest level, St. Michael is a heavenly angelic warrior who contends against evil. He fights for the Church. On another level, St. Michael is a chief or principal angel having some angelic ruling function; or St. Michael is chief among angels, because he truly represents God's angelic function itself which guides all to return to God.
In general, angels are intermediaries between the divine and the human. When we do good and think of St. Michael, we are approaching the ultimate good. So, our guardian and patron is the spiritual interior of our Order, as he is the interior of all those who contend with the less desirable and who try to reach for what is higher. These spiritual realities become more real and substantial as one bears them in mind and tries to relate to them. Thus, we are honored by the presence of the Archangel Michael in our Order. We
welcome all "men of good will" to join with this angelic function leading the whole of creation back to God.
One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: "Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!" - He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint Michael, which is the original version:
Original Latin text:
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio; contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis, satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.
English translation used in the Americas:
Blessed Michael, Archangel, defend us in the hour of hellish battle; be our sure guard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God restrain him, we humbly pray; and do thou, o prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust, down to hell, satan, and with him the other wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.