I was experimenting with asking the intercession of St. Michael, I've been Catholic for 2.5 years and have still hardly ever done stuff like that. I had just read how Pope Francis and Benedict XVI recently consecrated the Vatican to St. Michael due to the corruption and other things they were dealing with, and there was a thing at the end telling how to do that.
There's a huge terminology problem here, because consecrating stuff to St. Micheal or any other saint is not giving it to them like you consecrate and give something to God, i.e. an act of worship. It's more like when these missionaries came to another church I went to years ago and asked people to commit to being their "prayer cover" (protestant terminology) because they were going from the Northern edge of Mexico to the Southern end of South America by land and that is very dangerous. They came close to dying a bunch of times but never did and many times it was a miracle they did not. I was part of their prayer cover. It was more extreme than "Yea, I'll pray for you guys." It was a commitment. We understood that our vigilant intercession could and would make a difference between life and death for these people we knew, and between salvation and damnation health or sickness and maybe life and death for those they ministered to along the way. That's what patron saints do, its like prayer cover." We were sort of taking it as our job to take care of that. Also, if we were going to "pray in agreement" about something and place it in the hands of Creator to take care of, which is something we sometimes used to do, that's another part of what consecrating to saints does. When we did that, it wasn't like, "God, please do this, that, and that, or fix this," it was "God, this is nothing but a mess, I have no idea what to do or to specifically ask You to do, take this God, it's all Yours."An individual could give a situation totally over to Creator by themselves and people do so, but when people prayed in agreement with them about it, it was thought to be more powerful and did seem to be. When you "turn the whole thing over to God" (consecrate it, but in some Protestant terminology) "praying in agreement" (more Protestant terminology,) with a minister or someone else, then you are giving it to The Creator "through the intercession of" (Catholic terminology) those people, as well as through your own prayer. Saints entire job in the church is intercession now, they can't get distracted or fall asleep and forget, and its hard to have more faith and less doubt than someone in Heaven. Their prayers are extremely powerful. Some folks on earth have very strong faith and everybody wants them to pray because when they do, "mountains move". Saints are even are more so. I have discovered that lately myself. Catholics say "Consecrating it to a Saint is consecrating it to God through their intercession" and Protestants think you are making them idols when they probably do the same kinds of things with living people and just don't call it that. We get thrown off by terminology. I've been working on researching this for weeks now, because I was confused by the terminology and by the terminology used to explain it! I finally got it straightened out. Finally. Ok, got that explanation out of the way...
Consecration to St. Micheal is something I was drawn to and have studied and wrestled with intellectually for a little while. Originally, I had a video here, where the concept of "consecration to saints" was introduced to me. The practice is a Catholic practice as described above, but the video was off base. A priest told me that, "'Keep the prayer running in the background, experience His abiding presence,' is not acceptable and smacks of superstition. We don't believe in spinning the prayer wheels of Bhuddist monks." Other things in the video were also unacceptable, and there were things that I was disturbed about too. I have removed and replaced it with this picture of a cool tattoo!
While I was saying the ready-made part of the Consecration to St. Micheal, I really meant it fervently and then when it came time to state my intention (the thing I was "consecrating to St. Micheal," see above paragraph), my head was swimming with hard-line anti-Catholic rhetoric I'd had drilled into me in the past. My head was so full of doubts and questions about the validity, efficacy and even morality of what I was doing that it was hard to even do it. I think it was a spiritual attack, because not long after I finally finished it, I felt The Presence come very strongly into my room. Now, I don't know if you all know what the kabod is, or have heard the word. Its Hebrew, and it refers to the weighty glory of Creator. I have felt that before. I've been places where it was so strong it knocked the ministers to the ground and much of the congregation, which sounds terrible but it was actually fun, it didn't hurt at all, it was great, but you just couldn't stand up in it. 2 Chron 5:13-14 tells a story of something like that, except with kabod there is no cloud. The cloud is the shekinah. Kabod is the sense of heaviness or weight, the tangible or almost-tangible Presence. It's awesome, and that's what came in my room. It shocked me, I hadn't expected it.
There were two presences in my room, one much like an echo of the other, a much lesser version but still so much like the Presence of Creator. I was flabbergasted and I can't say how I knew, but I knew that it was St. Michael. I did not hear anything with my ears or see anything with my eyes, but I got just as clearly as if I had, I got the message "I'm here! I'm here! I heard you! What's wrong? What do you need?" They were like fire. The intensity and the passion I could sense from both were incredible. The other big difference was St. Michael did not know the answer to those questions, I was able to discern that very clearly. I think the Holy Spirit allows us to experience things like this and through the Holy Spirit we are spiritually able to "hear" each other in cases like this and pick up on what's happening.
Anyway, my head was full of warnings from a sometimes hard-line Protestant past that I must not worship angels, that I needed to make sure all my devotion was directed to Creator, and "keep my focus on God alone," etc.I kept saying "Thank You, God, for this," and "Thank You, God, for that." That was fine but I began to have a feeling something was off somewhere in my prayers, that something wasn't quite on target for what Creator desired from me at the moment. I was almost painfully aware of St. Micheal and avoided speaking to him or even looking in the direction I felt him standing. Or towering, whatever. It's like the Presence of the Almighty, except so much smaller and where Creator's Presence surrounds and envelops you and is limitless and even goes through you, St. Michael was there like the table is there. You know where it is but it's in just one spot, nearby you. That's how it was for me anyway. After a minute or less, I think, it started to feel awkward, feeling someone there so strong and not letting yourself acknowledge them. I started to feel convicted by the Creator, so I just tried even harder to ignore the angel in my bedroom. I started to sense that St. Micheal was getting put out, which is a hair-raising thing to pick up on even if you know he won't hurt you. I think its because Creator wasn't getting what Creator wanted. I just got quiet inside and out, and I waited to hear what I should be doing that I wasn't. Creator said, "I didn't bring him here, like this, for you to ignore him! He is going to stand right there until you say something to him!" I felt tongue-tied and didn't know what to say.
Obviously, I didn't see this standing in my room. I sensed a presence strong enough to equal seeing. This is the closest I could find to express what he felt like to me. Of course, that doesn't mean the other pictures are "wrong".
I get tongue-tied anyway, with people. I guess St. Micheal hadn't been so completely real to me before and I was half-way taking a shot in the dark when I had consecrated some people I really cared about, who the devil was wreaking all sorts of havoc on, to St. Micheal. When I could feel him standing there and knew he was paying attention I just couldn't do it. He was unfamiliar to me. I'm that way with people too, initially. I struggled for something to say, much like I do with other people sometimes - except I think this was worse... Finally, I just thanked the Creator for Their Presence, for the wonderful experience I was having, and for St. Micheal, i.e. I started in my comfort zone and worked my way into what Creator wanted me to do. I said, "and, St. Micheal, uh... um .... thank you for being here." I hadn't realized how much this gift from the Creator did for me emotionally until I thanked St. Micheal for coming. I picked up very, very strong waves of surprise, perplexity, and bafflement from St. Micheal. I was embarrassed, but I felt Creator surround me in Their Presence like a cloud, again I didn't see anything, it was almost tangible like a hug. I could feel the Holy Spirit say that what I said was OK; it was the best I could do, it was obedience, and it was totally sincere. St. Micheal, a created being, didn't understand that but the Creator did.
We as humans, made in the image of Creator, can empathize as They do, share sorrow and burdens as They do, love and feel connected and share in a feeling and be blessed by each other as They do. Our bodies and brains and psyches are made to work in unison with our spirits and with Creator's Spirit like that. St. Micheal is a created being and is holy, unfallen and of heaven, but apparently his love doesn't work quite like that. There was passion and concern in the "What do you need? I heard you, I'm here!" I got initially, but apparently the way we do love and empathize doesn't work for him. He's something else. He was expecting me to give him something to do. That's how he does love I guess.
While I was weeping in the heavy presence of my Creator, I could sense that the angel was at peace seeing that Creator was satisfied, but was perplexed in an interested and inquisitive sort of way. He was not able to share in something like that, but was interested in how we can connect like that with our God. I deliberately turned my mind away from Micheal and focused on Creator because that was as much entertaining of angels and communing with saints as this Protestant convert could take in a day. I sensed Creator letting him know he was dismissed and he was surprised, I think still expecting to receive orders, not merely to stand there with me for a minute. Then it was like a veil or door shut and I could not feel or sense him anymore, I just caught that his attention was on something else now and he was going to deal with it as the door "shut". Back in my comfort zone again, I guess, just me and my Creator.
I know this is Creator's way of explaining to me that this whole Saints thing is ok, despite whatever I had been taught all my life. Obviously, it's hard for me to adjust to, it was uncomfortable that night, but it was still glorious. I've been trying to learn about relationships with saints since then, and about different kinds of "devotions" to saints, what it is about and how it works. I absolutely hate that terminology, "devotions to saints" because it sounds like you worship them, or in Protestant terminology that is what it seems to refer to, even though I know now that it isn't that. It confuses me to talk about it like that, but I don't have a replacement word right now. We as the Church (the whole church, not just Catholics) are going to have to communicate better or we are never going to be able to become One. We as Catholics ought to find some alternative terms to convey these things to Protestants, or even to each other, to eliminate such confusion and accusations flying around. But right now at least I have my clarification I needed. Intercession of saints is another wonderful thing stuffy people I grew up with didn't think I should ever have or do, I guess, like the best music and the coolest clothes and nearly everything else associated with my vocation in this life...
I will post another blog on what I learned from that experience because there is way too much for one post, but for now, let this be enough.