Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Fall of Satan: A Spiritual Lesson
“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world -- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12:7-9)
Here we have an explicit biblical witness to the fall of Satan by the strength of Saint Michael whose name in Hebrew means, “Who is like God?”. This is precisely where Saint Michael's strength rests, he is wholly ordered to God and only acts through God. Satan, on the other hand, fell through pride because he could not be like God on his own terms and by his own strength.
In the Gospel of Luke Jesus says, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." (Luke 10:18
We read about the fallen angels in the book of Saint Jude:
"And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day." (Jude 1:6)
The Old Testament implicitly mentions the fall of the angels in the book Job:
"In his angels he found wickedness". (Job 4:18)
Finally, the prophet Isaiah writes the following:
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15)
The account of Satan's fall is a spiritual warning for us Christians. All sin is at root pride and pride is the sin of Satan and the fallen angels with him. The mark of a Christian is humility. “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
Let us listen to the words of John Paul II's Sunday Regina Caeli from April 24, 1994 when he said the following words:
"May prayer strengthen us for that spiritual battle of which the Letter to the Ephesians speaks, “Draw strength from the Lord and from the vigor of his power” (Eph 6:10. The book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of Saint Michael the Archangel (C.f. Rev 12:7). Pope Leo XIII had a very vivid recollection of this scene, when at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer of Saint Michael to the entire Church:
'Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Even if this prayer is no longer recited at the end of the Eucharistic celebration, I invite all of you to not forget it, but to recite it so as to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”