Bringing forth what is within you: A nine-day prayer invitation with Michael the Archangel

Archangel Michael the Bedouin Liberator by The Virtual Oracle.

Angels. They’re depicted in our world’s spiritual lineages as messengers of the Divine, as helpers of humanity and the more-than-human creation. While often feeling as uncomfortably out-of-place in the modern landscape as faerie folk, gnomes, and dryads, people from earliest history have called on these messenger spirits for healing, assistance, and epiphanies for life’s deepest questions. Angels are associated with planets, seasons, gifts of tools, and flashes of insight.

Jewish, Christian, and Muslim lineages convey a number of angel stories — of fearsome heralds and elaborate hospitality and mysterious encounters that are only fully recognized after the fact. Many of these figures go un-named in Holy Writ, but one angel who is named prominently is Michael. He’s experienced and recorded as the commander of God’s Heavenly Host, one who fights to protect the Beloved Community of the faithful. He’s connected to Solar energies, and is known to be both fierce and loving, wielding his ‘sword’ of perception as an instrument of mercy. He’s known as one of several Archangels, a particularly exalted rank of celestial being.

Many Christian communities consider the Archangel Michael a saint, though this designation is typically reserved for humans.* These same communities have named a sacred feast day in honor of Michael, celebrated on September 29th. It’s called Michaelmas (yep – just like Christmas is to Christ), or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. It’s adjacent to the changing of the seasons, the Autumn Equinox in the Western Hemisphere.

What’s the significance of Michaelmas? Rudolf Steiner, a late 19th and early 20th century esoteric teacher best known today for his enduring influence on Waldorf Schools and biodynamic agriculture, considered Michaelmas a festival for the cultivation of “strong will,” second only to Easter in spiritual significance. If Easter is about the transformation of Christ — “He is laid in the grave and He is risen.” Michaelmas is about our transformation, once we become ‘partakers of the Divine nature‘ and enter into the stream of Christ — “He is risen, therefore we can be laid in the grave”. Through our journeying with the Risen Christ, we are laid in the grave with confidence, Death moving from enemy to ally in our transformation. The Archangel Michael is seen as a kind of psychopomp, the traveler between realms who delivers God’s judgements, mercies, and helps us transition to what’s next.

A contemporary devotee of Steiner’s spiritual outlook (called Anthroposophy), teacher and podcaster Conner Habib, shines a clear light on why we’d benefit from the warmth, relationship-building connectivity, and radiant spiritual values of Michael today. His entire Archangel Michael podcast episode is well-worth listening to, but here’s my paraphrase of what Michaelmas means to him:

To understand Michael’s character, one must think of the turning of summer to fall. What was given to us from the outside is now going away, and we must cultivate the strength inwardly within ourselves [by grace] what was once given from the outside [by nature]. We now have to bring this out from ourselves. Just imagine the leaves on the trees; the green is being driven out by that fiery red. Those leaves are falling, and the tree has to depend upon a different kind of life in this season, as autumn approaches and we head into winter.

To me, this evokes two of my favorite teachings of Jesus:

Then Jesus told them, ‘Every scribe who has been apprenticed into the kingdom of heaven is like a householder, bringing forth out of their treasure things new and old.’ (Gospel of Matthew 13:52)

and

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you suppress will destroy you.
(Gospel of Thomas, Logion 70)

As summer turns to fall for many of us, how do we release what no longer serves?

And how do we bring forth what’s inside us, unlocking the energy of the treasures we’ve been given?

In the nine days from September 20th through 29th, many friends of God along the Jesus path pray a Novena inspired by Michael’s love and strength, culminating on his feast day.

What’s a Novena?

The word “novena” is derived from the Latin word for nine, or “novem.” Typically, a novena refers to nine days of prayer, asking God for a specific intention, often through a Saint’s intercession. Novenas are a beautiful way to grow purposeful, consistent, and persistent in daily prayer. There are a few reasons why the number nine might be significant. The first comes from the Acts of the Apostles, when Jesus told His disciples to gather together and pray after His Ascension into Heaven. Tradition tells us that the Apostles, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, went to the Upper Room and prayed together for the nine days between Jesus’ Ascension (believed to have been 40 days after His Passion/Passover) and Pentecost. (Source)

These prayers are often engaged with the aid of a rosary or other prayer beads, though this is optional. The aim is to be in a daily rhythm of prayer, thanksgiving, getting in touch with the desires of our hearts, and joining together as part of a larger movement, cultivating greater presence, coherence, and embodied love.

I’m inviting anyone who feels called into this nine-day season of prayer; beginning today, and culminating on Michaelmas.

I couldn’t find an already-existent Novena that resonated with me, so I crafted my own, drawing from two traditional sources — one from the Christian East, and the other from the West. The Akathist Hymn of Saint Michael the Archangel follows a hymn pattern stretching back to the sixth century in central Asia. The Chaplet of Saint Michael the Archangel is a prayer originated from a reported Michaelic encounter received by Portuguese Carmelite nun Antónia de Astónaco in the 1750s, which became quite popular, and was officially approved for Roman Catholic use by Pope Pius IX a century later. I incorporate the entirety of the nine-part chaplet, invoking the nine orders of angels common to Christian understanding since Dionysius the Areopagite enumerated them in his sixth-century work On the Celestial Hierarchy. Nine of the thirteen stanzas of Michael’s Akathist Hymn are also included. I stay close to the traditional text of both sources, carefully updating some of the language and emphases, as I did for my reconfigured Breastplate of Saint Patrick prayer.

The Novena and its instructions are below. I’ve also created a printer-and-display-friendly version that you can download here.

I realize that this prayer invitation isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’re skeptical and/or post-Christian, and this all sounds too ‘religious’ or ‘woo-woo’ for you. Maybe you’re a devout believer, and you’re concerned about me citing sources outside of your specific tradition. But if you find yourself curious…if you’re a fellow composted spiritual weirdo willing to try a prayer experiment and see how it works for you (or doesn’t)…let’s dive in!

And please — let me know how it’s going for you in the comments below.

Nine-Day Novena with Saint Michael the Archangel

Archangel Michael in the Desert by The Virtual Oracle.

Instructions for each day:

 

  1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross. 
  2. Pray the Lord’s Prayer, three Hail Marys, and the Glory Be — counting on your fingers or prayer beads (optional).
  3. Pray the Daily Prayer. 
  4. Pray the Michael Novena.
  5. End with the Sign of the Cross.
  6. Optional: Enter into 20 minutes of Centering Prayer or other quiet meditation.
  7. Consider how you might “bring forth what is within you,” as you inhabit the grace of this day and the fierce, radiant love of Michael. 

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who is in Heavenly places
Sacred is your Name.

Your kin-dom come
Your will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us today our daily bread
And forgive our debts
Even as we forgive our debtors

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil

For Yours is the kin-dom
And the power
And the glory
Forever and ever.

Amen.

 

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us:
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

 

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, cosmos renewing.

 

The Michael Novena

Saint Michael the Archangel,
loyal champion of God and the Beloved Community
I turn to you with confidence
and seek your powerful intercession.

For the love of God,
Who made you so glorious in grace and power,
and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels,
be pleased to hear our prayer.

You know the value of our souls in the eyes of God.
May no stain of evil disfigure its beauty.
Help us to conquer the accuser who tempts us.

We desire to emulate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother,
reflecting your great love for God and our neighbors.

And since you are God’s messenger for the care of God’s people,
we entrust to you our most cherished intentions:

…name your specific intentions and desires here….

Lord, hear and grant our special intentions for this Novena, in the name of our blessed redeemer Jesus Christ.

Holy God, Holy the Firm, Holy Immortal: Have Mercy on us.

Amen.

Prayer for the First Day: 

Kontakion

O chosen leader of the heavenly hosts and defender of the human race, we who are delivered by you from afflictions offer you this hymn of thanksgiving. As you stand before the throne of the King of Glory, you free us from all dangers, that with trust and love we may cry unto you in praise:

Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Ikos

With the tongues of angels it is fitting that you are praised as first among the fiery choirs of angels, O Michael;
Until you teach us the tongue of the bodiless ones, please hear our tones from tongues which, though human, are yet thankful:

Rejoice, primordial star of the world! Rejoice, candle of truth and justice brightly gleaming!
Rejoice, first receiver of the rays of the uncreated light among the choirs of angels! Rejoice, captain of Angels and Archangels!
Rejoice, you in whom the glory of the Maker’s right hand shines most of all!
Rejoice, you by whom the assemblies of all bodiless creation are adorned!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Seraphim, may it please God to prepare us to receive into our hearts the fire of God’s perfect love.

Prayer for the Second Day:

Kontakion

Perceiving with trusting eyes the splendor of your supernal beauty and the strength of your right hand which resembles lightning flashing, O Archangel of God. While wrapped in flesh we are filled with wonder, joy, and thanksgiving before the Creator of all, crying aloud with the hosts of heaven: Alleluia!

Ikos

Wonderful Michael, leader of heavenly ranks, implore freedom for our thinking, feeling, and moving centers, liberation from every passion that ensnares.
Having ascended in being from the earthly through the heavenly, we may sing to you this hymn of praise:
Rejoice, nearest beholder of the ineffable beauty and goodness of God!
Rejoice, intimate initiate of the all-good counsels of the Most Holy Trinity!
Rejoice, faithful fulfiller of the pre-eternal judgments of the Trinity!
Rejoice, you to whom the heavenly armies are lovingly amazed!
Rejoice, you whom those born of earth glorify in trust!
Rejoice, you before whom the hosts of hades tremble!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet 

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Cherubim, may God grant us the grace to abandon the ways of lovelessness and mechanical habit, following instead the path of trust made perfect in action. Amen.

Prayer for the Third Day:

Kontakion

Manifesting within yourself an invincible zeal for Divine service, you stood at the head of the choirs of angels against the malice-breathing, most-proud Morningstar. With him and his bleak comrades cast down to the nethermost regions, the heavenly hosts led by you in glory cried aloud with gladness before the Throne of God, as with one mouth: Alleluia!

Ikos

All God’s children have you, O Archangel Michael, as a great protector and a wondrous helper in battle with adversaries. Wishing to be granted your wondrous protection, we cry to you on your feast day, saying:

Rejoice, you by whom Satan was hurled like lightning from Heaven!
Rejoice, you by whom humanity preserved is raised to Heaven!
Rejoice, splendid adornment of the all-radiant world on high!
Rejoice, most glorious defender of the world of descent!
Rejoice, you who have never been vanquished by corrupted powers!
Rejoice, forever-established by Divine grace in truth and justice with all of God’s angels!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet:

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Thrones, may it please God to infuse into our hearts a true and earnest spirit of humility. Amen.

 

Prayer for the Fourth Day

Kontakion

O foremost of the angels: From the tempest of temptations and dangers, you deliver us, who keep your radiant feast with joy. You are a great helper in every affliction, and at the hour of death, a guardian and intercessor for all who cry out to our Master and our Lady: Alleluia!

Ikos

Seeing your boldness against the regiments of Satan, all the ranks of the angels strove with joy to follow you into battle for the name and glory of their Master, crying aloud: Who is like unto God? And knowing that Satan was cast down beneath your feet, we cry out to you as victor:

Rejoice, you through whom peace and tranquility were reestablished in Heaven!
Rejoice, you by whom the spirits of evil were laid low, even unto hades!
Rejoice, you who guide the angelic armies and the hosts of the invisible world to the dissolution of all that is contrary to love!
Rejoice, you who, unseen, quells the strife and turmoil of the visible world’s elements!
Rejoice, wondrous defender of those putting their bodies on the line against corrupted powers-that-be!
Rejoice, strong helper of those who weaken amid the assaults and dangers of this age!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet:

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Dominions, may it please God to grant us the grace to express mastery through our senses, fully awake rather than sleepwalking through life. Amen.

 

Prayer for the Fifth Day:

Kontakion

A divinely-flowing fountain of magnificent miracles did you reveal yourself to be in your temple at Khony. Not only was the great and terrible serpent abiding in that place dissolved by your power, but streams of water healing every bodily ailment were revealed, that all might cry out in trust to the Master of the angels Who glorifies you: Alleluia!

Ikos

Hearing and knowing you as a great beacon shining among the choirs of angels, after God and God’s holy mother, we run to you, most wonderful Michael; you illumine us with your rays of light that we might sing:

Rejoice, conductor and guardian of the God-chosen people in the wilderness!
Rejoice, great intermediary of the Law given on Sinai by Moses’ hand!
Rejoice, you through whom the judges and leaders of Israel found strength and protection!
Rejoice, you through whom the prophets and high priests of the Jews received the gift of knowledge from the all-knowing God!
Rejoice, you who provide mystical wisdom to the God-astonished givers of the Law.
Rejoice, you who place judgment and righteousness in the hearts of them that do good!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet:

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Virtues, may Our Lord keep us from falling into unconsciousness and deliver us from evil. Amen.

 

Prayer for the Sixth Day:

Kontakion

When once Manoah saw you, the proclaimer of Divine judgements, he was filled with doubt and fear, think­ing he would live no longer on earth. But learning from his wife of the goodness of your appearance and the meek­ness of your words, and that he was to beget his son Samson according to your word, in joy and thanksgiving he cried to God: Alleluia!

Ikos

You shone forth wondrously, O Michael, when you stood before Joshua, son of Nun, in the form of a man, saying: Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy. Marveling at such an appearance, with love we sing:

Rejoice, vigilant guardian of just governance!
Rejoice, for you are swift to overthrow those standing with authority as they oppose God’s love and justice!
Rejoice, queller of disturbance among the people!
Rejoice, invisible abolitionist of vile customs!
Rejoice, for you enlighten those in doubt in the hour of great perplexity!
Rejoice, for you save all those tried by soul-destroying slander and false attacks!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet:

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Powers, may God preserve our souls from the snares of the accuser, feeding us with the holy energies of grace within. Amen.

Prayer for the Seventh Day:

Kontakion

A strange wonder of your power, O supreme commander of God’s hosts, did Habakkuk the Prophet experience when, according to the Divine command of transport, you carried him speedily from Judea to Babylon to give food to Daniel, who was imprisoned in the lions’ den. Amazed at the mighty effect of your strength, he cried out with faith: Alleluia!

Ikos

Standing before the Throne of God, O Archangel Michael, you are entirely in the heights and yet you are not far from those on earth below. Contending continually with the enemies of humanity’s liberation, all who desire to reach the longed-for heavenly homeland cry out to you with one accord:

Rejoice, leader of the thrice-holy hymn of the angels!
Rejoice, ever-ready mediator and guardian of those born of earth!
Rejoice, mighty defender of those who speak truth and live by mercy!
Rejoice, for in a strange manner, you struck down Pharaoh with his faithless armies in their ponderous pride!
Rejoice, for you gloriously led the Jewish people in their wilderness sojourn!
Rejoice, you who quenched Babylon’s fiery furnace so three youths could live!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Principalities, may it please God to fill our hearts with the spirit of sincere and hearty surrender. Amen.

 

Prayer for the Eighth Day:  

Kontakion

Unto us who desire liberation we find you to be a firm helper, O Michael. Deliver and preserve us from distress and mishap, and even more so from our own mechanical habits and ways distant from love’s shore. Progressing in faith, hope, and love, with joy from your most wondrous aid, we may cry with gratitude unto the Master of angels and humanity: Alleluia! 

Ikos

A secure embankment you are to those who trust, Archangel of God, and a pillar of strength in battle with enemies visible and invisible alike. Being delivered  through you from the nets of corrupt powers-that-be, with thankful hearts and lips we cry unto you:

Rejoice, invincible opponent of Divine trust’s enemies, and adversaries of God’s beloved community!
Rejoice, tireless helper of the humble proclaimers of the Good News!
Rejoice, for you enlighten with faith’s illumination those sitting in the land of shadows!
Rejoice, for you guide those made foolish by false wisdom along the path of reality and change of heart!
Rejoice, terrible avenger of those who make God’s name seem trivial by their corrupt actions!
Rejoice, lightning-bearing illuminator of those that foolishly mock the mysteries of faith!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Archangels, may it please God to grant us the grace of perseverance in trust and in all life-giving actions, that we may be enabled to fully receive the glory of Paradise. Amen.

Prayer for the Ninth Day: 

Kontakion

Implore grace for us from God in Heaven as we sing to the glory of your honorable name, O holy Michael. In the shadow of your protection may we live in all sincerity and whole-heartedness until released from the bonds of death. Then, may we be granted to stand before the flaming Throne of the King of Glory, crying aloud with the angelic choirs: Alleluia.

Ikos

Hymning your manifold wonders accomplished for our liberation, O Michael, we pray to the Maestro of all Music that zeal for God’s glory reverberate in us as we cry out:

Rejoice, you who wondrously sets upon the summit of power God’s faithful servants in a seasonable time!
Rejoice, you who invisibly overthrow the arrogant and unworthy from the height of power and glory!
Rejoice, you who gathers the chosen from the four comers of the earth on the last day!
Rejoice, you by whom our tares shall be purified by the voice of God’s refining fire!
Rejoice, you by whom Satan with his angels shall be cast into the lake of fire!
Rejoice, you through whom the righteous will dwell most gloriously in the mansions of the heavenly Father!
Rejoice, O Michael, supreme commander, with all the hosts of Heaven!

Chaplet

Through the intercession of St. Michael and the Celestial Choir of Angels, may God grant angelic guardianship during our living and through the womb of death, birthing us into the eternal glory of Heaven. Amen. 

 


I hope this Novena was enriching for you. Feel free to sign up for regular updates here if you aren’t already. For more stunning art like Michael the Bedouin Liberator, follow The Virtual Oracle on Instagram, and consider contributing to her GoFundMe, too. And for a downloadable PDF of this Novena, please visit here.

*On sainthood: In the writings of the New Testament, everyone consciously in-dwelt by God’s Spirit – aka in Christ – were addressed as saints. Subsequent Christian lineages were more selective in applying the term, reserving it for those friends of God who seemed to exemplify extraordinary virtue or spiritual power.

7 Responses to Bringing forth what is within you: A nine-day prayer invitation with Michael the Archangel

  1. Kate Sheehan Roach September 20, 2022 at 10:16 pm #

    Thank you, Mike. My brother Michael was a powerful warrior like his namesake. I will be praying this novena with him in my heart. Powerful!

    • Mike Morrell September 20, 2022 at 11:40 pm #

      Blessings to your brother and his memory, Kate. And his continuing life as part of the Great Cloud of Witnesses. Thank you for joining us!

  2. S. A. September 20, 2022 at 11:33 pm #

    Despite my mother being Catholic and my Grandaddy being Catholic, and despite practicing many types of prayer over the years, I’ve never properly prayed a Hail Mary or other prayer to a Saint before tonight. And as I did, I realized something profound. Praying to the saints is an acknowledgement of the fullness of community stretching from past to now and into the unseen but perhaps already existant future. It’s a realization that although physically alone in my room, I am not alone in my prayer. That instead of singing a pathetic solo into the void, I am singing as part of a polyphonic explosion of music that shapes our reality.

    Thank you for this. I look forward to adding my prayers to the choirs again tomorrow.

    • Mike Morrell September 20, 2022 at 11:43 pm #

      Thank you for sharing, S.A. 🙂 Like you I have Catholic family, while growing up thoroughly Protestant myself. But listening to Catholic, Orthodox, and frankly friends from traditions of ancestor venerating backgrounds, I’ve learned to immerse more in the reality of being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. If prayer is at its heart conversation, can we not converse with saints and even angels?

      I’m so glad you’re joining this prayer experiment. Do let us know how it’s progressing for you.

  3. Laura September 21, 2022 at 3:52 am #

    This comes at a perfect time when I am looking to do more centering prayer and finding peace within myself. I do not come from the Catholic tradition, but my mother in law was once a novitiate nun and has remained a very faithful Catholic all her life. I have come to appreciate that faith in many ways (though admittedly praying to Mary gives me a little shiver). With an open heart I will start this today.

  4. Steve September 21, 2022 at 8:19 am #

    Joining you and all in the novena. Thank you for crafting your own. It definitely resonates with me. And I very much appreciate that you have provided a PDF which I will use and share with others.

    Steve

    PS Still enjoying the wonderful “Mystics Summit” that you and Carmen Acevedo Butcher hosted last month. I’m slowly making my way through the sessions, as well as reading some of the notable books mentioned (so far, Hadewiich’s “Love is Everything” and “Queer Qabala” by Enfys J. Book.

  5. Joe Masterleo September 24, 2022 at 9:40 am #

    Thanks, Mike, for reminding us of these spiritual beings as resources at hand. Few of us personally, to say nothing of the entire planet and its inhabitants in our times, could not benefit from calling liberally upon the interventions of these invisible ‘helpers of humanity.’ Such are the armies of God’s mercy in the Church Age. But lest we forget, among the great armies of angelic hosts that distribute mercy, there are those assigned to distribute God’s justice, whose aims and purposes are not wrathful or for purposes retributive justice, than to bring others low for the purpose of separating them from ignorance, spiritual slumber, and/or the harmful error of their ways, presuming on others or nature toxically in the process. Too, even as believers, we’re won’t not to reconcile or carry the tension of apparent contraries within ourselves, especially when it applies to God’s mercy and justice, even his judgement and wrath, also aspects of his character and redemptive economy. One need only refer to John’s vision in the last book of Scripture, referencing the 7 angels assigned to open the vials of divine wrath in apocalyptic times. We wouldn’t want earthly judges to execute their duties in not balancing mercy and justice, much less their heavenly archetype (Christ) who reconciled God’s mercy, with both his justice and wrath in his public ministry, similarly reflected in the division of labor among his angels, human jurisprudence at its best, balanced presentations of God’s character, and the Gospel message. Thanks again for here underscoring the edifying role of angels, and offering the novena as an inroad to same.

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