St. Michael and man’s inner fight
The Church’s liturgy celebrates the feast of St. Michael, the Archangel on September 29. His name comes from “Mikael”, which means “Who is like God? “And since no one is like the Almighty, the Archangel fights all those that raise with pride, defying the Almighty. In the Eastern and Western iconography St. Michael, the Archangel is represented, in fact, as a fighter, sword or spear in his hand and the dragon under his feet, symbol of Satan, defeated in battle.
St. Michael is a popular and much venerated Saint. He is mentioned in chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation where he is presented as opponent of the devil and winner of the last battle against Satan and his supporters: “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon (…) 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”.
In addition to St. Michael, the Church remembers, on the same day, Sts. Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels. The Bible shows the specific missions of each of them: Michael as opponent of Satan, Gabriel as messenger, and Raphael as healer.
The figure and story of St Michael the Archangel, show a fundamental lesson for every Christian: it is no not enough to do good to really accomplish God’s will but we must also fight evil. We might say that everyone experiences his fight, determined by factors linked to his own personal history, maturity of faith and external influences. The spiritual combat is an inevitable experience in the path of man, it marks the whole of Christian living, it becomes the criterion to verify the authenticity of the path undertaken, facilitating its progression.
Therefore, becoming true disciples of the Lord means to experience the spiritual battle not as a negative event to be removed, at all costs, or to endure passively, waiting for a quieter time, but as an event of grace, where we are called to fight, put in place the best of ourselves and accept the defeat with an attitude of faith, recognizing our limits, learning to persevere and hope.
Luisa also had to pass through a terrible ordeal, fighting the demons! A battle that she didn’t fight alone, because Jesus was her strength. It was not her that suffered, but Jesus Himself suffered within her. He wanted to test her faithfulness. He wanted to purify her soul from every slightest spot which might hinder Jesus’ love within her.
That’s why Jesus put her in the midst of demons. He gave them freedom to torment her and to tempt her, so that after having fought the virtues with the opposite vices, she already found herself in possession of those very virtues which she thought she were losing. And then her soul, purged, embellished, enriched, will be like a king returning victorious from a most fierce war, who, while he thought he would lose what he possessed, comes back more glorious and filled with immense riches. Then Jesus will form her dwelling
Therefore, Spiritual warfare, takes place and is consumed inside man’s soul, in his heart, meaning the most profound and intimate place where only God comes. God Himself has made of our hearts his dwelling, even if often He looks sick and in need of healing. Only the Lord can purify the heart from all evil and light it with the fire of his love.
Jesus says to Luisa that He never puts souls in battles so that they may perish; first He measures their strengths, He gives them His grace, and then He puts them in. And if some souls fall, it is because they do not remain united to Him by means of prayer; no longer feeling the sensitivity to His love, they go begging for love from the creatures, whileHe alone can satiate the human heart.
The thing that an adversary army fears the most is to see courage, strength, and the way in which one challenges the most dangerous fights, without fearing anything. So the demons are; there is nothing they fear more than a courageous soul who, all clinging to God, with a strong spirit, goes into their midst, not to be wounded, but with the firm resolution of wounding them and exterminating them. The demons are frightened, terrified, and would rather flee; but they cannot, because they are bound by the Divine Will, and they are forced to stay, to their greater torment.
The fight makes our life an always active laboratory where, with the help of the divine grace, we are called to work on ourselves, on our feelings, on all those inner movements that we often find it hard to identify and circumscribe, all for increasingly shaping our lives, our thoughts, our feelings on those of Jesus.