29 September 2010

St. Michael & All Angels

The devil and his wicked angels hate you on account of Christ Jesus, your Savior, the incarnate Son of God.

But St. Michael and all the holy angels love and serve you for the sake of the same Lord, Jesus Christ; for He has become like you, and He has raised you up and recreated you to be like Him. Therefore, the holy angels see Christ in you, who is the very Image and Likeness of God in the flesh; who is, indeed, the Face of God the Father in heaven.

That drives the devil to fury and great wrath, because he is consumed by envy and jealousy, by his pride and self-conceit. That is why he is so relentless in his accusations against you; hence the name, Satan. It is also why he tempts you to sin, to turn away from God, but then is quick to accuse you of that very sin!

Beware of such envy and jealousy, pride and conceit in yourself. Do not despise your neighbor, nor tempt him, nor resent the grace of God in Christ for your neighbor. Rather, love and serve Christ Jesus in your neighbor, especially in your fellow Christians. Thereby you become an "angel" of Christ to your neighbor.

Where you have despised any of His "little ones" (of any age) who believe in Him, or have caused them to stumble and fall, repent. Cut off such temptation and sin from you, and be drowned and destroyed in the depths of your Holy Baptism with your Satanic old Adam.

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, your Maker and Redeemer, and rejoice that He raises you up from the dust of the earth to shine like the stars of heaven with His own righteousness.

Humble yourself, and do not rely upon yourself but upon God, and pray. Pray in the confidence of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ Jesus, in whom every prayer of faith has already been answered once for all.

The Lord hears and answers your prayer in love, by His grace. The Father hears and answers your prayer for the sake of Christ, His beloved and well-pleasing Son. And He responds and serves you by the means of His good creation: by the agency of His ministers, the holy angels; by the human angels whom He calls, ordains and sends in His Name; and by the created elements that He employs with His Word, the waters of Holy Baptism, the bread and wine of His Supper, which are His Body and His Blood.

The servants of God, heavenly and human, guard and keep you in both body and soul. His angels lift you up and keep you in all your ways, lest you stumble and fall. While they often do protect your mortal flesh and blood from harm and danger, on account of the flesh and blood of Christ Jesus, the incarnate Son, they all the more protect your soul and body both from the assaults and accusations of the devil: by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the testimony of His Word.

By these means of grace — the Gospel-Word and Sacrament — the forgiveness of sins — they preserve your life and bring you through the great tribulation clothed in the righteousness of Christ. For Christ has atoned for your sins by His Blood, and His Word of the Gospel forgives you, fully and freely, daily and richly.

Through the Ministry of the Gospel, by the preaching of His Word, and by the administration of His Body and His Blood outpoured, He interposes Himself and His Redemption against all the accusations of Satan, and those accusations cannot stand against Him.

When the holy angels do permit the hurt and harm of your mortal body, as Christ also suffered and died in His human flesh and blood, it is that you might be humbled unto repentance: to become like a little child and rely upon God, returned to the cleansing waters of your Baptism, brought to the healing medicine of His Altar, and raised up from death to life.

Here, then, around the Lamb upon His throne, encircling the Fruits of His Cross, which is the Tree of Life, the great prince of God's people, St. Michael the Archangel, and all the holy angels, the cherubim and seraphim, praise the Holy Triune God and give Him thanks for your salvation. So do they also guard and keep you in body and soul at His Table, beholding the Face of the Father in you, dear child of God.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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