21 November 2020 (MIA)
Macedonian Orthodox Church Calendar
The Holy Archangel Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven
The angels of God have been commemorated by men from the earliest times, but this commemoration often degenerates into the divinization of angels (IV Kings 23:5; A.V. II Kings). Heretics always wove fantasies round the angels. Some of them saw the angels as gods and others, if they did not so regard them, took them to be the creators of the whole visible world. The local Council in Laodicea, that was held in the fourth century, rejected in its 35th Canon the worship of angels as gods, and established the proper veneration of them. In the time of Pope Sylvester of Rome and the Alexandrian Patriarch Alexander, in the fourth century, this Feast of the Archangel Michael and the other heavenly powers was instituted, to be celebrated in November. Why in November? Because November is the ninth month after March, and it is thought that the world was created in the month of March. The ninth month after March was chosen because of the nine orders of angels that were the first created beings. St Dionysius the Areopagite, a disciple of the Apostle Paul (that Apostle who was caught up to the third heaven), writes of these nine orders in his book: ‘Celestial Hierarchies’. These orders are as follows: six- winged Seraphim, many-eyed Cherubim, godly Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. The leader of the whole angelic army is the Archangel Michael. When Satan, Lucifer, fell away from God, and carried half the angels with him to destruction, then Michael arose and cried to the unfallen angels: ‘Let us give heed! Let us stand aright; let us stand with fear!’, and the whole angelic army sang aloud: ‘Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!’ (See on the Archangel Michael: Joshua 5:13-15 and Jude v.9). Among the angels there rules a perfect unity of mind, of soul and of love; of total obedience of the lesser powers to the greater and of all to the holy will of God. Each nation has its guardian angel, as does each individual Christian. We must keep in mind that, whatever we do, openly or in secret, we do in the presence of our guardian angel and that, on the Day of Judgement, a great multitude of the holy angels of heaven will be gathered around the throne of Christ, and the thoughts, words and deeds of every man will be laid bare before them. May God have mercy on us and save us at the prayers of the holy Archangel Michael and all the bodiless powers of heaven.
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
There never was, and never will be, an offering on the part of a pure creature greater or more perfect than that which Mary made to God when, at the age of three years, she presented herself in the temple to offer Him, not aromatic spices, nor calves, nor gold, but her entire self, consecrating herself as a perpetual victim in His honour. She well understood the voice of God, calling her to devote herself entirely to His love, when He said, “arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!” Therefore her Lord willed that from that time she should forget her country, and all, to think only of loving and pleasing Him: “Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear; and forget thy people, and thy father’s house”. She with promptitude and at once obeyed the divine call. Let us, then, consider how acceptable was this offering which Mary made of herself to God; for it was prompt and entire. Hence the two points for our consideration are, first, Mary’s offering was prompt and without delay; secondly, it was entire and without reserve.