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St. Michael’s most powerful weapon against Satan is humility


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Philip Kosloski - published on 05/07/24

While we like to picture St. Michael as a bold warrior, striking down Satan with a sword, his greatest weapon was the virtue that Satan hates the most.

In Western art, St. Michael the Archangel is most often depicted as a powerful warrior, striking down a fierce dragon or a hideous mythical beast.

This can make it appear that St. Michael uses force to demolish his enemies.

However, some spiritual writers point out that St. Michael is the most humble of God’s angels.

Alban Butler wrote in his book The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints that St. Michael’s principal virtue was humility:

St. Michael checked [Satan’s] insolence, not commanding him in his own name, but with humility, intimating to him the command of God to desist.

Butler makes this even more direct by claiming this is how Michael defeated Satan:

He is not only the protector of the church but of every faithful soul. He defeated the devil by humility; we are enlisted in the same warfare. His arms were humility and ardent love of God. The same must be our weapons. We ought to regard this archangel as our leader under God and courageously resisting the devil in all his assaults, to cry out, “Who can be compared to God?”

Satan’s weakness

As philosopher Peter Kreeft points out in his book The Philosophy ofTolkien, “The weakness of evil is that it cannot conquer weakness. No matter how much power evil has, it is always defeated by the free, loving renunciation of power. It can be defeated … as it was on Calvary: by martyrdom.”

Bishop Thomas Olmstead wrote in an article an ancient tradition that Satan has “no knees“:

According to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil (Cf. Is 45:23, Rom 14:11). 

If we want to imitate St. Michael’s greatest strength, we need to kneel in humility before God, fighting against Satan with what the world would call “weakness.”

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