Tag Archives: St. Michael the Archangel

A Day of Archangels

Today is the Feast Day of the Archangels!

September 29 traditionally was set aside as the Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel. (The word “saint” simply means “holy.”) Then the Church made it the feast day of all the Archangels.

Three Angels are named in the Bible:

  1. Michael
  2. Gabriel: in Hebrew, the name means “God is my might”
  3. Raphael: in Hebrew, the name means “God has healed”

Notice that all three names end with “El” — which means God, in Hebrew. Thus, each Archangel’s name ending in “el” means they are “of God.”

Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary
The Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli, 1485

The word “angel,” in Greek is angelos; in Hebrew is malach; in Arabic is mala’ika – which all mean “messenger.”

Angels are incorporeal (bodiless) spiritual beings who act as intermediaries between God and humanity. Angels are defined by their function as messengers or message-bearers, although this function does not exhaust their activities because they were created by God to serve the supreme deity by fulfilling any and all tasks assigned to them.

In other words, being an angel or messenger simply denotes one of their functions, not their nature. St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that each angel is unique, a species unto itself — truly a mind-boggling idea.

Major philosophers — such as Thomas Aquinas, René Descartes, John Locke, and most recently, the American philosopher Mortimer Adler — have put forth compelling reasons for the existence of Angels. (For the conversion of Adler, a Jew, to the Catholic faith, see the moving account, “A Philosopher-Pagan Comes Home.)

Theologians maintain there is a hierarchy of Angels, due to the fact that in Genesis 3:24, Isaiah 6:1-7, Ezekiel 1, 10, Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15, allusions are made to “seraphim,” “cherubim,” “thrones,” “dominions,” “mights,” “powers,” and “principalities” in the “heavenly places.”

Dionysius and St. Thomas Aquinas delineated three hierarchies of Angels, with each hierarchy comprised of three orders:

  • 1st hierarchy: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.
  • 2nd hierarchy: Dominions, Virtues, Powers.
  • 3rd hierarchy: Principalities, Archangels, Angels.

Of the nine angelic orders, five are sent by God for external ministry among bodily creatures, as indicated by their names of Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels—all of which refer to some kind of administrative or executive office. Of these five orders, only the last three minister to human beings, which suggests Virtues and Powers minister to other bodily creatures, including all the non-human animals whom St. Bonaventure called “creatures without sin”!

  • Principalities are in charge of the whole of humanity.
  • Archangels minister to nations — their leaders and those persons whom God tasks with special work to do on Earth.
  • Angels, the last order, are God’s messengers to and guardians of individual human beings.

The name “Lucifer” means “Morning Star,” “Son of the Dawn,” or “Light Carrier.” For that reason, theologians believe that Lucifer was a high-order Angel, most likely the highest order — a Seraphim. Aquinas thought him to be “probably the highest of all the angels.” But Lucifer admires and loves himself more than his Creator and thinks himself to be “as God.” And so, swollen with narcissism and grandiosity, Lucifer rebelled, taking a third of the angelic beings with him.

StMichaelTheArchangelBut, a lower-order Angel, full of courage and love of God, rallied together two-thirds of the angelic ranks against the apostates, in the First War that began the enduring conflict between good and evil:

Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. (Revelation 12:7-9)

That braveheart’s name is Micha-el, which means “Who is like God?”

I like to think “Who is like God?” is Micha-el‘s battle cry . . . .

St. Michael the Archangel is believed to be the captain or prince of the heavenly armies and the most beloved of all the Angels. He is mentioned in Daniel 10:13,31; 12:1 (where he is said to be the prince of the people of Israel); in Jude 9 (where he is said to have disputed with the devil about the body of Moses); and in Revelation 12:7 (where he is said to have led the heavenly armies against those of the great dragon).

Described in Revelation 10:1 as a “mighty angel…with a halo around his head; his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire,” St. Michael is generally portrayed by artists as wearing full armor and carrying a sword or lance, with his foot on the neck of a dragon. (Pictures of the martyred St. George are often similar, but only Micha-el has wings.)

michaelfrMichael has four main titles or offices. He is:

  • Patron of the Chosen People in the Old Testament.
  • Patron saint and defender of the Church.
  • The Angel of death, who assists Jesus in the final judgment (thus, Michael is sometimes depicted with a scale).
  • Leading the good angels against the fallen angels or demons. For that reason, Christians consider St. Michael the most powerful defender of God’s people against evil. As such, Michael is also the patron saint of soldiers and policemen. (For the Prayer to St. Michael, go here.)

All of which is why St. Michael the Archangel – the Braveheart of Angels — is my most favorite saint, whom I admire and love with all my heart. He is my captain. As you can see from this blog’s masthead, he is also the protector of Fellowship of the Minds.

Happy Feast Day, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael!

Thank you for inspiring us with your humility, courage, goodness, and love for God.

Thank you, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for creating the marvelous Angels!

~Eowyn

For a fascinating account of one man’s experience with the Archangel Michael, click here. Check out FOTM’s other saints and angels posts, here!

Sources:

  1. Mortimer J. Adler, The Angels and Us (New York: Macmillan, 1982).
  2. Matthew Bunson, Angels A to Z: A Who’s Who of the Heavenly Host (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1996), pp. 181-184.
  3. Michael H. Brown, Prayer of the Warrior (Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing Co., 1993), p. 34.
  4. René Descartes, Meditations On First Philosophy, trans. by Donald A. Cress (Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1979).
  5. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, edited with an introduction by A. D. Woozley (Cleveland & New York: Meridian Books, 1968),
  6. Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, Volume One(New York: Benziger Brothers, 1947).

Marine’s near-death experience of Hell

StMichaelTheArchangel

No doubt you’ve all read about near-death experiences (NDE).

Only a minority of NDEs are hellish, including Bill Clinton’s in September 2004 when he had a quadruple bypass surgery, wherein he found himself in a dark hellish place; only the faces of Chelsea and Hillary brought him solace. As he recounted in an interview on ABC’s Primetime Live: “I saw, like, dark masks crushing, like, death masks being crushed, in series, and then I’d see these great circles of light and then, like, Hillary’s picture or Chelsea’s face would appear on the light, and then they’d fly off into the dark.”

Most NDE accounts that I’ve read, however, are of Heaven and of encounters with the divine in the form of the purest, most brilliant (but not blinding) light. From those accounts, it would seem that Heaven is the destiny for most of us.

That is not so, according to a U.S. Marine from Louisiana named Shawn Weed who had a frightening 8-minute NDE of a terrible place — the vestibule to Hell.

Below is his account as transcribed and summarized by Michael Brown of Spirit Daily, followed by Weed’s 1+hour-long video.

Shawn Weed with his military ID card

Shawn Weed with his military ID card

MARINE CLAIMS HE ENCOUNTERED HORRIFYING DEMON DURING ‘DEATH’ AND WAS RESCUED BY ARCHANGEL

To recount: on a break from the Marines and relaxing (“chilling”) with two Marine buddies (one a corporal, the other an S-2 intelligence agent), Weed and his friends were goofing around taking pictures of a noose that was placed over his neck when — caught from behind by one of the men, who thought it would be even funnier to tighten the noose a bit — Weed was suddenly unable to inhale, unbeknown to his colleagues, who had snapped a few photographs of the “gag” and thought Weed was prolonging the stunt.

He was anything but.

Weed found himself unable to breathe. Desperate, the Marine had tried to loosen the noose strangling him. That proved impossible. Suddenly, he found himself there in the room, but in an entirely new way, now staring at his own body in the same room as his Marine buddies, who took an appallingly long while to notice that he was unconscious and in trouble. His spirit had left his body.

With equal suddenness, Weed next found himself out of the room and in a totally unfamiliar otherworldly place with darkness so thick and solid black it nearly had a texture: a vast region or plane that seemed to have no ground or floor, and yet with something that he was standing on, like air but hard, a place he didn’t recognize at all: no light, no wind, no sound, standing on nothing, as if in a giant warehouse. The only light was a dim light coming from his own form. He felt stuck despite trying to stride forward to find an exit. “I had no clue,” he says, “where I was.”

“I began to realize that I was standing in-between two parallel planes that stretch on forever and there’s no walls, there’s no doors, there’s no windows, I’m trapped in between these two parallel planes, and there’s no way out.

“From that point I became very scared but before I could even think of another thought I was snatched off of my feet by a very, very large demon. And of course for me, I didn’t know what had happened. It was like getting hit by a truck and having no clue that it was ever coming. This thing had come upon me so fast and caught me with such complete surprise and was so big, I can’t possibly begin to describe what it feels like to be in the grips of something that big.

“I had this shooting pain from my head to my feet, like a bolt of electricity but not stopping. And I had this pounding sensation, this hurting, pounding sensation from my left shoulder and I saw these fingers that came down to roughly to the bottom of my chest. The depth of its hands went from the side of my neck the breadth of my shoulder. That was the width of its hand. The color of its skin was black and red. I don’t know if it was red with black shadows moving across it or red with a black oily substance like a cloud moving beneath the skin so it makes it have a perception of moving while standing still, like the sky with clouds moving. I was watching these giant red fingers with blackness moving through them and this thing was crushing my left shoulder.”

“This thing had me and was just smiling at me, waiting for me to look at it. When I looked over my shoulder, this thing was grotesque. It sounds even more crazy, but it was like thirteen feet tall. Anything you want to know in this place you can ask it in your mind and the answer is given to you and when I thought how big it was, ‘thirteen feet’ came to me. All I know it was huge, ripped through with muscles. No hair, no beard. Just completely hairless and humanoid in shape — two legs, two arms, one mouth, one nose, two ears. The differences were this: where our eyes are white, its were yellow, and where our irises are green or blue or brown, its irises were gold and diamond-shaped like a snake’s. It had a really wide flat nose and gleaming white teeth, perfectly shaped like a human’s. The only thing strange about the teeth is where we have the canines, it had two tusks coming out of its mouth like a boar, a wild pig.

“The thing picked me up like I weighed nothing to it. And it was taking me along for a ride. I only looked at its face for a second. That’s all it took. As a man, I’m not afraid of any other man on the face of this earth. I will fight any man, I don’t care how much bigger they are than me. But this thing? There was no fighting it. It was far too big. It was like it weighed three or four thousand pounds. You could take one of me and put another on top of me and you still wouldn’t be as tall. This thing had me by the shoulder and was moving at a very fast velocity. It felt like a hundred miles an hour and it had complete control. There was nothing, nothing at all, I could do to get away. I had seen that face for only a second and it was enough to scare me. I’m pretty sure it would scare anyone.”

All hope drained from Weed. It seemed like it was all over. “I think that the strength of hope is with God and without God and any hope you don’t really have a reason to live and to fight and you don’t have any strength whatsoever,” he says in the video (which you can view below). “Without hope you don’t have strength. After hope left me, and it was taking me wherever it wanted to take me.” The thought came to him that they were headed from the “outer darkness” (what he later wondered is what the Bible calls “Abraham’s bosom”) toward the fiery part (the “fire and brimstone”) of hell.

This confused Weed.

He was no saint. He was indifferent (or what the Bible says about being “lukewarm”). He “drank like a fish,” many nights, and smoked some cigarettes; slept around. Who knows what else.

But he didn’t consider himself a “bad” person. He was no murderer. He’d never molested a child. He occasionally went to church.

And so he found it “mortally appalling” that he was “being taken to hell” — by a towering demon.

Sounds preposterous, until you watch and listen to Weed tell it.

Fantasy? Like a comic book drama?

If so, it’s one that makes this tough-looking Marine weep at several junctures.

That crying begins when he describes (starting around 52 minutes into the video) how he was rescued — by an angel.

“I was just an average guy,” he said. “I never pictured myself as bad.” As he thought of such things he saw a pinprick of light.

“As I was thinking this to myself — that I’m not such a bad guy — that’s when that light appeared,” he says, “and I looked up at it — like a star far off in the night sky, something so tiny and insignificant and far away that it couldn’t possibly help me.

“Then it moved off to the left a little bit and went back to the right. It moved and I wondered, ‘What is that?’ and I began focusing on it and it came rushing at me like — the only way I could describe it — the speed of this thing was like a bolt of lightning.

“It came at me so fast that one second it was just a tiny little star in the night sky and the next there was blinding white light and his hand was reaching down to me and it was an angel [here he begins to weep].

“My hand just reached up and grabbed this hand, my reflex was just to grab this hand. And as soon as I touched this hand all three of us were motionless and standing on this ground that you can’t see.

“This beast, this demon, still had me by the shoulder and instinctively I knew to stand still because I knew if I moved it would have ripped my shoulder and arm off and beaten me with it. It was just that massively strong. There was something in me telling me, ‘Don’t move. Don’t move.’

“I was just standing there looking up at this angel and this angel was like nine feet six inches tall and had brown wavy hair pushed to the back and had olive-colored skin, it wasn’t really white, it wasn’t really black, it was somewhere in between, but the light that was emanating from within it was so bright white that it practically overshadowed the color of its skin.

“I say ‘it’ because it wasn’t really a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ although the body was shaped like a ‘he,’ like a male, and when you looked at its face it’s like the most handsome man you have ever seen combined with the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. I mean, when you look at this angel, you think, ‘Wow, he is beautiful.’ I know this is a funny thing to say. In the vernacular, a man is ‘handsome’ and a woman is ‘beautiful.’

“But this angel was just beautiful.

“Its eyes were blue — I mean perfect blue. If someone took a piece of the sky and put it in its eyes, or a cup from the ocean, and put it in its eyes, there were no flaws in them. Just perfect. Just beautiful.

“He was shaped like a man with a chest and strong arms and an Adam’s apple, a strong man, more like a fitness-trainer strong, not body-builder strong like the demon with muscles popping from where they shouldn’t be. But you can tell this angel was there to fight and he had on a white robe cut in a v-neck in the front and gold along the edge of his collar like embroidered and this robe was kind of like a white Roman tunic that came just before below his knees and elbows and I was just blown away by it.

“I’m looking up at it and blown away by its brightness and beauty and at the same time frozen in place and you could feel [the] anger [from the demon] like heat and it looked around to see what had stopped it: It turned around and was ready to fight, make no mistake; this demon was ready to get down in the worst way — but as it whipped around, this angel — its speed was just incredible and it just rushed forward and with open palm hit this demon and had to angle its arm upwards at about the height of its head to hit this demon in the chest and it hit this demon with such power — I can’t describe the fierceness of it, the power of this thing. It hit this demon with such force that its hand was literally ripped from my shoulder and it had no clue what had hit him.

“By the time it turned its head it was already hit.

“And this demon was hit with such force that it literally folded up and flew backwards.”

The angel, allegedly, according to the Marine, then called Weed by a “long” mystical name.

“It called me this name to let me know more or less that I still had a chance to make it into Heaven, that I had a heavenly name, and that I squandered it, I wasted it, and if this had been my ultimate time, that’s where I would have stayed. When he called me this long name, it was a feeling of ‘home.'”

The name was just as quickly removed from his memory.

“It looked at me and it began to speak at me and its voice was like a waterfall. If a waterfall could speak, like a rushing sound. I understood it was converting my understanding to understanding its language. It didn’t descend down to my broken language of English. It elevated me up to understand its language and he looked at me and said, ‘Hello, my name is Michael’ [Weed weeps again].’ I immediately knew this was the Archangel of the Bible.”

The demon was trying to get back, claims Weed, and the angel “gave me a saddened look and he said, ‘Your time has not yet come. It’s time for you to go.'”

Immediately the Marine was back in his body, as immediately as he had left. Shawn opened his eyes; he came back to “life”; there he was, back in the room with his friends; lying on the sofa they had placed him on; he said it took twenty minutes to recover use of his body, as they tried to revive him (successfully, happily).

Weed’s message:

Devote life to God as much as you possibly can.

It’s not enough to say you believe. You must believe.

It’s not enough to not be a killer, or an abuser.

You must be holy.

“If that makes a Bible-thumping Christian, so be it,” says the Marine. “I’d rather be a Bible-thumping Christian than in the ‘middle,’ because I know where that gets you (Revelation 3:20). We don’t realize the reality of the place. I was at the doorstep of hell. I know for certain that it does exist because that’s where [before Michael] it was taking me.”


~Eowyn

Satanists to hold “Black Mass” in Oklahoma City

St. Michael

Nearly 2 months ago, a Harvard University student group, Cultural Studies Club, canceled their plan to hold a satanic Black Mass in a popular college bar after a huge public outcry and a peaceful protest by Catholics, with Eucharistic processions and holy hours.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in common usage the term “black mass” refers to “a blasphemous and usually obscene burlesque of the true [Roman Catholic] mass performed by satanic cults. The naked back of a woman often serves as an altar, and a validly consecrated host is generally used to intensify the mockery. The rite commonly incorporates other elements of satanic magic such as philtres [magic potion] or abortifacients.”

But like their master who never sleeps, the satanists are at it again, this time in Oklahoma City, the same beleaguered city wherein satanists want to build a 7 ft. tall statue of Satan next to the Ten Commandments outside the state capitol building.

John Burger reports for Aleteia that a satanic “church” in Oklahoma City called Dakhma of Angra Mainyu is planning a public “Black Mass” for Sept. 21, 2014, according to the Oklahoma City Civic Center website. Tickets went on sale beginning July 2.

The website announces: “The Black Mass has been a feared ritual, and now it’s being brought into the light! This will be not only enlightening but educational as well. This Black Mass will [be] conducted for the public to attend with certain adaptations to allow for a legal celebration.”

Adam Daniels, head of Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, said in an interview, “We’re trying to bring about tolerance for our religious freedom for the satanic religion. We have a legally-filed church…and bringing out the black mass as one of the rituals of satanism to educate the public.”

In a follow-up by email, Daniels said the event for September is meant as “a defiant act to show the Catholics that Satanism will stand up and fight for our religious rights.” He declined to say how many people belong to the church but said that it has previously organized public demonstrations of a “satanic exorcism” and a ritural called “The Apostasy of Jesus Christ.”

In a statementOklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley calls on community leaders to reconsider whether it is an appropriate use of public space:

“For more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide and more than 200,000 Catholics in Oklahoma, the Mass is the most sacred of religious rituals. It is the center of Catholic worship and celebrates Jesus Christ’s redemption of the world by his death and resurrection. In particular, the Eucharist—which we believe to be the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ – is the source and summit of our faith. That’s why we’re astonished and grieved that the Civic Center would promote as entertainment and sell tickets for an event that is very transparently a blasphemous mockery of the Mass. The ‘Black Mass’ that is scheduled for the Civic Center in September is a satanic inversion and distortion of the most sacred beliefs not only of Catholics, but of all Christians. We trust that community leaders—and, in particular, the board members of the Oklahoma City Civic Center—do not actually wish to enable or encourage such a flagrantly inflammatory event and can surely remedy this situation.”

Jim Brown, general manager of the Oklahoma City Civic Center, said that, as a public facility, the U.S. Constitution requires them to book to all-comers, as long as they don’t do anything illegal: “We’ve had groups like this for several years; they book at our facility. Since we’re a City of Oklahoma facility we’re required to abide by all First Amendment rights to the Constitution, which doesn’t allow us to turn away any productions…. As a public facility, we’re required to rent to organizations and individuals as long as they abide by our policies and procedures.”

Brown said that this will be the fourth time the satanic group performs at the Civic Center but has always gone by different names. “This time it’s called Daghma of Angra Mainyu.”

Reminded that such an event is offensive to Catholics and Orthodox Christians, and asked if the Civic Center would treat a group such as the Ku Klux Klan in a similar manner, Brown commented, “As long as all laws and ordinances are abided by, we are required to book events, because that’s what we do.”

He added that the event will be held in the Civic Center’s smallest space, which has a maximum capacity of 92. “Prior, we’ve never had  anywhere close to that number of people attend,” Brown said.

The group approached Civic Center management April 27, around the time the public was learning of plans for a similar event at Harvard University. That black mass was being organized by the Satanic Temple of New York City, which also submitted plans to Oklahoma City for a public monument of a seated Satan, to counter a monument of the Ten Commandments.

Brown said that the Civic Center has already been contacted by a protest group: “When you have an event that isn’t viewed by the public in a positive light, we do get responses and we encourage people to contact us because we think the best-informed public is the best way to make decisions on it. It’s just one of those circumstances where our legal specifically states that we have to book events if they abide by laws and ordinances.”

Archbishop Coakley calls on Catholics to pray for a “renewed sense of the sacred and, in particular, to pray that the Lord might change the hearts and minds of the organizers of this event.” He said that if the Oklahoma City event moves forward, Catholics in town would consider peaceful, prayerful and respectful options “to demonstrate our opposition to this publicly supported sacrilegious act.”

Meanwhile, William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, made a trenchant observation in an interview that there is an “increased Satanic cult activity throughout the world” which “makes one wistfully yearn for the Mayan calendar prediction to have been correct.”

Still think there are no satanists in America? I took these screenshots from an Infowars video of satanists who turned out last May in opposition to the peaceful protest by Catholics against the planned “Black Mass” at Harvard.

satanists1satanists2

~Eowyn St. Mike gravatar

Obama as demonic dragon

The name Barack sounds the same as the Hebrew name Bârâq (ברק), which means ligntning. The name Obama sounds the same as the Hebrew word bâmâh (בּוּם), which means height or high place.

“He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'” -Luke 10:18

fall-of-satan

I used to get these mail order catalogs from a company named Design Toscano that specializes in statues and figurines for indoors and out. I’d even ordered some merchandize from them.

Some time along the way, Toscano stopped sending me the catalogs. So it’s been years since I’ve looked at a Toscano mail order catalog. In fact, I’d completely forgotten about the company, until FOTM’s silent reader CSM brought this to my attention.

Toscano is selling a grotesque statue of Obama as a Gothic dragon. Here’s the description from the company’s website, followed by a pic of the figurine:

President Barack Obama Gothic Dragon Statue

Celebrate the historic election of the 44th US president with our Toscano-exclusive Barack Obama figurine. Our, limited edition, collectible dragon statue showcases Barack Obama as a fiercely committed young dragon of mystic strength. Our dragon figurine, cast in quality designer resin, joins the distinguished American political tradition of collectible campaign buttons, patriotic pins and party election sashes. Makes the perfect collectible gift for any history lover or political aficionados!

President Barack Obama Dragon: 5″Wx3″Dx5″H.

Obama dragon

“Barack Obama as a fiercely committed young dragon of mystic strength”?

Toscano must be smoking some powerful dope.

The figurine looks downright DEMONIC.

Just so there’s no doubt about the political partisanship of Toscano, the company also offers an even more grotesque-looking Senator John McCain Gargoyle (4½”Wx3″Dx6½”H), not that I’m fond of McCain. On the contrary, I quite loathe him — McCain the warmonger who wants yet another war (Syria), and supports the detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial (National Defense Authorization Act) and the Gang of 8 immigration reform amnesty bill.

McCain gargoyleI had no idea that Toscano has gone full-tilt Obamaturd and partisan Demonrat.

I hereby vow I will NEVER EVER buy anything from Toscano.

But Toscano really should read the Scriptures, specifically Revelation 12:7-17:

“As soon as the dragon found himself hurled down to the earth, he sprang in pursuit of the woman, the mother of the male child, but she was given a pair of the great eagle’s wings to fly away from the serpent into the desert, to the place where she was to be looked after for a time, two times and half a time. So the serpent vomited water from his mouth, like a river, after the woman, to sweep her away in the current, but the earth came to her rescue; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river spewed from the dragon’s mouth. Then the dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, who obey God’s commandments and have in themselves the witness of Jesus.

And now war broke out in heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven. The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had led all the world astray, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him. Then I heard a voice shout from heaven, ‘Salvation and power and empire for ever have been won by our God, and all authority for his Christ, now that the accuser, who accused our brothers day and night before our God, has been brought down. They have triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word to which they bore witness, because even in the face of death they did not cling to life. So let the heavens rejoice and all who live there; but for you, earth and sea, disaster is coming — because the devil has gone down to you in a rage, knowing that he has little time left.'”

StMichael

~Eowyn

St. Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc2Today, May 30th, is the Feast Day of St. Joan of Arc, my favorite saint.

St. Jeanne La Pucelle was born in Domremy, a small village of Champagne, on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1412, to Jacques d’Arc, her father, a peasant farmer who was a leader in his community, and to Isabelle, her devout mother.  Isabelle taught Joan her Catholic Faith and her prayers.  Joan was a pious young person, who loved to pray and receive the Sacraments, Penance and the Holy Eucharist.  She was very kind, having cared for individuals who were sick and helping people who were wanderers, offering them her bed so that they might rest.  She enjoyed her childhood and was most proficient with the household chores, wherein she loved to sew and spin.  Joan said, “I fear no woman in Rouen at sewing and spinning.”

Joan lived in the throes of the Hundred Years War.  King Henry V of England invaded France, took over Normandy and claimed the crown of Charles VI of France.  To make matters worse, there was also a civil war between the Duke of Burgundy and his allies and Orleans.  The Duke was murdered and thereafter, the Burgundians allied themselves with the English.  France was literally falling apart, with town after town falling to the English and/or the Burgundians.  In the meantime, the new individual who should be king, was Charles VII, known as the Dauphin; he did little to help France’s dire situation.

Joan of Arc1

When Joan was 13 years of age, Joan saw St. Michael the Archangel, who comforted her and told her not to be afraid.  She then saw Sts. Catherine and Margaret, telling her about her mission from the King of Heaven, to save France advising her that she must lead the army of France.  Joan stated in testimony:

“When I was thirteen, I had a voice from God to help me to govern myself. The first time, I was terrified. The voice came to me about noon: it was summer, and I was in my father’s garden. I had not fasted the day before. I heard the voice on my right hand, towards the church. There was a great light all about.

I vowed then to keep my virginity for as long as it should please God.

I saw it many times before I knew that it was Saint Michael. Afterwards, he taught me and showed me such things that I knew that it was he.

He was not alone, but duly attended by heavenly angels. I saw them with the eyes of my body as well as I see you. And when they left me, I wept,and I wished that they might have taken me with them. And I kissed the ground where they had stood, to do them reverence.

Above all, St. Michael told me that I must be a good child, and that God would help me.  He taught me to behave rightly and to go often to church.  He said that I would have to go into France.

He told me that St. Catherine and St. Margaret would come to me, and that I must follow their counsel; that they were appointed to guide and counsel me in what I had to do, and that I must believe what they would tell me, for it was at Our Lord’s command.

He told me the pitiful state of the Kingdom of France.  And he told me that I must go to succour the King of France.

St. Catherine and St. Margaret had rich crowns on their heads.  They spoke well and fairly, and their voices are beautiful-sweet and soft.

The name by which they often named me was Jehanne the Maid, child of God.

They told me that my King would be restored to his Kingdom, despite his enemies.  They promised to lead me to Paradise, for that was what I asked of them.

Twice and thrice a week the voice told met hat I must depart and go into France.

And the voice said that I would raise the siege before Orleans.  And it told me to go to Vaucouleurs, to Robert de Baudricourt, captain of the town, who would give me men to go with me.

And I answered the voice that I was a poor girl who knew nothing of riding and warfare.”

Joan went three times to speak to Robert de Baudricourt about the instructions she received from the King of Heaven.  On the third occasion, Baudricourt listened to Joan, as a previous prediction she had made to him regarding a defeat for the French army came true.  Accordingly, Baudricourt gave Joan an escort of three soldiers to protect her, to present herself to Charles VII.  Joan travelled wearing the clothing of men and reached Chinon on March 6, 1429.  The Dauphin disguised himself to see if Joan would be able to point him out amongst the other individuals in his Court.  Of course, Joan identified the real Dauphin.  She spoke with him in private and gave him a secret message told to her by her heavenly messengers, which convinced Chales that what Joan said was true.  He gave her soldiers so that she could lead them towards the relief of Orleans.  However, this decision came with opposition from some of the members of Charle’s court.  Therefore, she was sent to Poitiers to be examined by a learned body of theologians.  After extensive questions and a thorough investigation, these theologians found Joan to be pure and true, finding no fault with her.  Indeed, they advised Charles to use this pure human being for the good of France.

After Joan returned to Chinon from Poitiers, she was equipped with an expeditionary force, and she was provided with white armor and other supplies, with a banner or standard which was Joan’s favorite possession.  Upon the banner was a representation of God the Father to whom two kneeling angels were presenting a fleur-de-lis, with the writing upon it, “Jesus:Maria”.

Joan of Arc3On April 27, the army left Blois with Joan in her white armor and banner, leading the French army.  They entered Orleans on April 29th, and Joan’s presence in the city gave hope to the people.  And by May 8th, the English forts which surrounded Orleans were captured and the siege raised.

Joan the Maid was then allowed to lead the French army in yet another campaign on the Loire with the Duc d’ Alencon, one of her dearest friends.  This campaign was successful, and she ended with another victory at Patay in which the English forces suffered yet another defeat.

On July 17, 1429, Charles VII, the Dauphin, was crowned with Joan beside him holding her treasured banner.  Joan was successful in this important campaign.  Nevertheless, troubles ensued and she went to the relief of Compiegne which was holding out against the Burgundians.  On May 23, 1430, because of some miscalculation, the drawbridge over which her company was retiring was raised too soon, leaving Joan and some of her men outside at the mercy of the Burgundians.  She was taken by the enemy and remained the prisoner of the Duke of Burgundy.  Charles, the Dauphin, did not come to Joan’s aid during the entire time of her imprisonment.  Clearly, he betrayed her.  On  November 21st she was sold to the English.  They knew that they could not condemn her for her defeat of them in war, but contrived that they could harm her if she was tried as a sorceress and a heretic.

Joan was in prison in the castle of Rouen.  On February 21, 1431, she appeared before Peter Cauchon, who was Bishop of Beauvais, who hoped that through English influence he could become the Archbishop of Rouen. This Tribunal consisted of Cauchon, dignitaries and doctors carefully selected by Cauchon, as well as of the ordinary officials of an ecclesiastical court.  During the course of her sessions, Joan was examined and cross-examined as to her visions and her voices, her assumption of male attire, her faith and her willingness to submit to the Church.  Joan answered their questions boldly.  Her answers were not only cogent, but logical and embarrassing for her inquisitors.  For example, when Joan was asked whether she would refer herself to the determination of the Church, she stated:

“I refer myself to Our Lord who sent me, to Our Lady, and to all the blessed saints in Paradise.  It seems to me that Our Lord and the Church are one and the same, and that no one shold make difficulties about that.  Why do you make difficulties about its not being one and the same?”   

Joan further reiterated this comment stating her allegiance to the Church and also stating, “Our Lord first served!”

This alleged unfair tribunal summed up her answers as revelations from the devil wherein these misrepresentations were submitted to the judges and then to the University of Paris.  Joan was denounced.

The tribunal decided that she must be handed over to the secular arm as a heretic if she refused to retract.    In a final attempt  to obtain her admission and retraction, Joan was threatened with torture.  She, out of extreme fear, made a retraction of her testimony.  She was taken back to prison.  Joan knew that her retraction was wrong, and again put on the male attire that she wore as a soldier for France even though she was expected to discard this dress.  Cauchon and his assistants visited Joan in her cell and saw what she had done, noticing that she had recovered from her previous weakness.  Therefore, Joan again declared that she was sent by the King of Heaven and that the voices of the saints she heard came from Heaven also.

On May 29, 1431, the judges heard Cauchon’s report, condemning Joan as a relapsed heretic to be delivered over to the secular arm.

On May 30, 1431, the 19-year-0ld Joan was fastened to a stake being prepared to be burned upon it.  A Dominican friar at her request held up a cross in front of her eyes, and as the flames lept upon her, she cried, “Jesus, Jesus”.  Some of the people cried that they had burned a saint.  Her ashes were hurled into the Seine.

Twenty-three years later, Joan’s mother and her two brothers appealed to Pope Callistus II to have her case reviewed.  The Pope granted this request and appointed a commission to review what happened, to examine the witnesses and review the written testimony.  On July 7, 1456, the trial was declared biased and unfair, quashing the trial and its verdict, completely exonerating dear Joan.

Four-hundred and fifty years later, on May 16, 1920, Joan was canonized as a saint with all solemnity, by the Catholic Church.  She is the Patron Saint of France, soldiers, military personnel and prisoners.  And finally, St. Joan is also the Patron Saint of individuals who are ridiculed for their Faith.

St. Joan is very dear to me as she has helped me so much in my life.  It is my hope that I will also live my life with kindness, courage, bravery and loyalty, and putting my Faith first above all things, loving Our Triune God with great passion and zeal.  She is an example of a pure young lady, full of love for God, for His Church and for his people.  Yes, dear brave Joan, may Our Lord always be first served! 

With love, reverence and respect for St. Joan,

Joan

Sources:

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Edited by Michael Walsh

One Hundred Saints, Bulfinch Press AOL Time Warner Book Group

Joan of Arc In Her Own Words, Compiled and Translated by Willard Trask; Afterword by Sir Edward S. Creasy

St. Joan of Arc:  Maid for God, EWTN, May 30, 2013

What happened to the boy in “The Exorcist”

“Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out….” Matthew 10:1

In truth I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18

Did you know that the famous 1973 movie “The Exorcist” was based on a real-life case of a successful exorcism? But instead of a young girl, played by Linda Blair in the movie, in real life it was a 13-year-old boy who became demonically possessed.

The Exorcist

I’ve always wondered what happened to that boy. Thanks to an account by Pat McGonigle for KSDK5 in St. Louis, Missouri, Oct. 30, 2012, we now know. Here’s McGonigle’s report:

It’s one of the biggest questions about the most well documented cases of an exorcism in U.S. history.

What ever happened to the 13-year-old boy at the center of the exorcism performed by Jesuits at Saint Louis University?

The story was the basis for the best-selling book and blockbuster horror movie, “The Exorcist.”

With a few rare exceptions, the boy’s identity has remained a closely guarded secret for decades.

“He’s still alive,” said David Waide, SLU archivist.

In almost all of the accounts of the famous case, the boy is referred to as “Robbie.”

Robbie’s ordeal began at his home in Maryland in 1949. Bizarre, unexplained things started happening in Robbie’s home, up to and including marks and welts on his body.

Robbie’s parents came to St. Louis to stay with relatives, partially in hopes that a change of scenery would stop the unexplained activities.

It didn’t help.

One of Robbie’s cousins was a student at St. Louis University at the time. She relayed accounts of Robbie’s ordeal to Jesuits at SLU.

Eventually, Fr. William Bowdern, S.J. led the exorcism with the help of Fr. Raymond Bishop and Fr. Walter Halloran, among others.

The ordeal ended at a now-demolished wing of the Alexian Brothers Hospital in south St. Louis.

It’s believed Robbie would be 77 today.

He’s had several children,” Waide said. “He’s moved back to the Washington D.C. area. He was non-Catholic, Lutheran nominally, but he became a Catholic. He was baptized during this whole episode.

It’s been reported that Robbie named a son Michael. In the exorcism records, Robby tells the priests he was saved by St. Michael the Archangel.

Robbie returned to St. Louis two years after his ordeal ended in 1949.

In a priest’s diary about the exorcism, this is the final footnote entry on page 29:

“Follow up: August 19, 1951. R and his father and mother visited the Brothers. R, now 16 is a fine young man. His father and mother also became Catholic, having received their first Holy Communion on Christmas Day, 1950.”

You can read the entire diary on KSDK.COM.

StMichaelTheArchangel

In 1993, Thomas B. Allen wrote a book on the real life exorcism of “Robbie.” Titled Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism, the book is based on the diary kept by a Jesuit priest who assisted Father Bowdern in the exorcism. One big difference between the movie and the book is that in the book, “Robbie” identified St. Michael the Archangel as playing a pivotal role, by the power of God, in the eventual expulsion of the demon.

~Eowyn

Send Us Pics of Your Garden/Flowers!

A glimpse of my garden on a cool rainy day.

Thank you for your positive reaction every time I do a post on my garden or nature or my new kitten. (See “Room With a View“, “Eowyn’s Garden“, “A Walk in the Rain“, “Peekaboo“.)

The beauty of God’s creation feeds our soul because they are reminders of His presence and love. That is why we hunger for those visual reminders.

If you have pics of your garden, home, pet, or something that makes your heart sing, please send it to me:

FellowshipTips@aol.com

I’ll post them on the Fellowship of the Minds so that you can share what you love with us all….

~Eowyn