Since the very beginning of Christianity the church honored saints. Originally these were individuals who were martyred for their faith. They were thought of as particularly holy or devote and very likely in heaven. In the tenth century the Catholic church began a more formal process of canonization. To be canonized one had to overcome the arguments of the advocatus diaboli – literally the devil’s advocate. Detroit’s own Father Solanus Casey will be “beatified” at a Mass at Ford Field on November 18. This is the next to last step before being named a saint.
I mention this because if you grew up Catholic your parents were obligated to name you after a saint. Each of the saints have a day of the year designated as their Feast Day and St. Michael’s feast day is September 29th. This day is otherwise know as Michaelmas and traditionally associated with the beginning of autumn. Michaelmas also marks the beginning of the season for the sitting of the Courts in England. Our Supreme Court honors that tradition by convening on the first Monday of October each year.
My patron saint isn’t ever a person like St. Patrick or St. Joan of Arch. He’s an archangel if you believe in such things. Catholic Online says:
Saint Michael the Archangel isn’t a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title “Archangel” means, that he is above all the others in rank.
St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we know from scripture and Christian tradition.
- The first is to combat Satan.
- The second is to escort the faithful to heaven at their hour of death.
- The third is to be a champion of all Christians, and the Church itself.
- And the fourth is to call men from life on Earth to their heavenly judgment.
Given the second and fourth responsibilities I’d just as soon he not show up for a good long time.
I grew up as Mike. And that’s what my family and the people who have known me the longest call me. About 15 years ago I was involved in a film project in which they already had a Mike. So I was dubbed Michael to distinguish the two of us. It stuck. While I don’t really care what you call me if you ask my preference today I’ll say Michael.
There are too damn many Mikes! I attended a small all boys Catholic High School with a graduating class of 81. Eighteen were Mikes. There’s even a rock band Too Many Mikes I’m all about a moratorium on naming boys Mike. Last year Mike Trapp made a YouTube video on just this subject. I’m with Him.
A School House Rock notion of democracy is that the voters chose their politicians. But with Gerrymandering it’s the politicians who choose their voters. On Tuesday SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, arguably one of the most important cases of the season. Here’s a wish for some hope in a season of political Lamentations.
A shout out to my high school classmate Mike Hovey as he begin his long awaited retirement today.
Watch the video. It will make you smile. Happy Michaelmas Day everyone!