St. Michael

   Patron Saint of the Airborne

      In the movies, paratroopers loudly shout "Geronimo!" as they leap into the night sky. Before that dramatic moment, however, it is likely that Catholic troopers mutter a little prayer to invoke the protection of "St. Michael," patron saint of paratroopers, police, mariners, grocers and those suffering from sickness. St. Michael is known to Christians as Michael, the archangel who led angels loyal to God in the heavenly war of Lucifer's insurrection. Though Lucifer has been cast out of Heaven, he and his band of rebel angels apparently still have access (cf. Job 1:6; 2:1) and a state of war exists even now (cf. Rev. 12:4; cf. Dan. 10:13; Jude 9). Some unspecified event is going to trigger a mighty angelic battle (Rev. 12:7) and Michael, whose name signifies "Who is like God?," will lead the Lord's host to victory. The Bible refers to Michael as "archangel" and "one of the chief princes," but the early Greek fathers and others consider him the most senior of all the angels, or "Prince of the Seraphim."

In the imagery of Catholicism, Michael usually is depicted as a fully armed warrior standing over the body of a slain dragon. Often, he is shown to be holding a pair of scales (to weigh the souls of the dead) or the Book of Life (to indicate that he participates in the judgment). Tradition assigns four offices to Michael:

1) To fight against Satan.

2) To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.

3) To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament.

4) To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment.