Welcome! This blog celebrates both the local and the catholic -- that is, universal -- aspects of the Roman Catholic Church by sharing reflections on experiences of the Church in a variety of settings and cultures. Postings will come from around the world and around the corner. You don't have to be a Catholic to come along.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. Michael, Defend Us in Battle

Maybe we shouldn't have named our second son Michael.

But, then again, maybe we were prescient.

The greatest of all Michaels, as far as I'm concerned, is St. Michael the Archangel, leader of the heavenly legions that vanquish Satan in the Book of Revelations. Is this why our Michael joined the military 13 years ago and has spent more time in war zones than I care to think about?

A couple of weeks ago, in the Italian town of Lucca in Tuscany, we saw a huge winged statue (photo above) of my favorite archangel perched on the pediment of a church called San Michele in Foro. He is shown in triumph over the great dragon, a spear in one hand and a globe with a cross on top in the other.

The church was built over a Roman forum between the 11th and 14th centuries. We bought there a small icon of the archangel.

St. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, calls us to "put on the armor of God" (6:10-18). Traditionally, at confirmation we become soldiers of Christ. Some people today are uncomfortable with these military metaphors but they seem to me appropriate.

The fight against evil in the world is a battle worth waging. How good to know that our commander in the field is a real angel.

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