Friday, December 04, 2015

Should We Pray to Michael the Archangel?

Pope Francis tweeted: "Let us ask the help of Saint Michael the Archangel to defend us from the snares of the devil." (source)
Paul, Apostle of Jesus, wrote: "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind," (Colossians 2:18)

And yes, that's what asking Michael the Archangel for help is - an example of worshipping of angels. We are nowhere encouraged to trust in angels for deliverance. Instead, our trust is to be in God. We should ask God for deliverance, not Michael the Archangel.

In case you think there is some ambiguity in the tweet, and that the pontiff could be just asking God to send Michael - consider these more complete remarks (from two and a half years earlier), "In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him." (link)

Michael wasn't the only worshiped creature at that particular consecreation:
We also consecrate Vatican City State in St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask Him to protect, take care of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day.
(same source)

4 comments:

ccthecc said...

Of course, nowhere does he say to worship angels. That's just your rhetorical flourish. We are nowhere told to ask angels for "deliverance"? The pope doesn't ask for deliverance either, whatever significance you attach to that word. Does the bible tell us to ask angels for stuff? Did you forget Genesis 18:3 ?

Turretinfan said...

"Of course, nowhere does he say to worship angels. That's just your rhetorical flourish."
Prayer to angels is worship of them.

"The pope doesn't ask for deliverance either, whatever significance you attach to that word."
He says "defend us from the snares of the devil" and "defend us from the evil one and banish him". So, I'm pretty comfortable in my characterization.

"Does the bible tell us to ask angels for stuff? Did you forget Genesis 18:3 ?"

No, it doesn't - and no, I didn't.
a) Abraham wasn't aware they were angels.
b) Abraham wasn't praying to them in the religious sense of that term.
c) And, of course, in point of fact one of them (presumably the one Abraham addressed) was in fact the Lord (although Abraham also didn't know that).

-TurretinFan

Jack Lake said...

J.M.J.

Mr. Turretinfan,

Your misuse of Col. 2:18 as an alleged proof-text against invocation of angels has been refuted for centuries. I would suggest reading Bellarmine's excellent response to that historical Protestant blunder, which can be found within his Disputationes de Controversiis, tom. 2, "De Beatitudine et Cultu Sanctorum," lib. 1, cap. 20. The Latin (which I am currently translating for my thesis) can be found here, on p. 372: https://books.google.com/books?id=LstYAdj14wwC. I would also suggest Suarez's response, in Defensio Fidei Catholicae et Apostolicae, lib. 2, cap. 9.

As to whether we may invoke the intercession of the angels, it is firstly implied from the fact that they pray/intercede for us (Tob. 12:12,15; Zach. 1:12-13; Apoc. 8:3-4) and protect us as our guardians(Gen. 48:16; Ps. 33[34]:8[7]; 90[91]:11; Dan. 10:13,21; 12:1; Matt. 18:10; etc.). The only thing that would refute this argument is if one could demonstrate that the angels are not cognizant of our affairs, and therefore oblivious to our invocations (which is refuted by Luke 15:7,10; Ps. 137[138]:1; 1 Cor. 4:9; not to mention the passages cited already cited), or if one could demonstrate that the invocation of the angels is somehow injurious to God or Christ (which, if true, would mean that the invocation of living humans on earth is also injurious to God, which is flatly absurd), or if one could demonstrate that the invocation of the angels somehow constitutes the worship reserved to God alone (which you assert, but have yet to establish here).

Moreover, the invocation of angels is inferred from Gen. 48:16, where Jacob calls upon an angel to bless his sons. Now, you may retort that the angel is the pre-incarnate Christ. While some of the Fathers (like Athanasius) hold this interpretation, others (such as Chrysostom and Basil) take the angel to be Jacob's guardian angel (and, therefore, a presumably created one), and adduce this text as evidence that every believer has one. And that's not even taking into account the position of Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great that the "Angel of the Lord" is not Christ, but a created angel.

It is also implied by Job 5:1, where Eliphaz tells Job to call upon the holy ones, which Augustine interprets to be angels.

Thanks,

Jack Lake
Salve Regina Apologetics

Jack Lake said...

J.M.J.

Turretinfan,

A minor correction. In Gen. 48:16, Jacob asks the angel to bless not his sons, but the sons of Joseph. I just realized that in re-reading my comment.

Thanks,

Jack Lake
Salve Regina Apologetics