The Archangel Michael is honored for defeating Lucifer in the war in heaven.
In Revelation 12:7-12, St. John describes a great battle saying, "War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 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.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
who accuses them day and night before our God.
But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
Rejoice then, you heavens
and those who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you
with great wrath,
because he knows that his time is short!”
The Archangel Michael is honored for defeating Lucifer in the war in heaven. He is the patron saint of grocers, mariners, paratroopers, police officers, and military personnel.
The veneration of St. Michael—typically regarded as the greatest of the archangels and a mighty defender of the church against Satan—began in the Eastern Church in the 4th century and had spread to Western Christianity by the 5th century. During the Middle Ages, Michaelmas was a great religious feast and many popular traditions grew up around the day which coincided with harvest season in much of western Europe. In England it was the custom to eat goose on Michaelmas, which was supposed to protect against financial need for the next year. In Ireland, finding a ring hidden in a Michaelmas pie meant that one would soon be married.
Michaelmas, the Christian feast of St. Michael the Archangel, is celebrated in Western churches on September 29. Given St. Michael’s traditional position as leader of the heavenly armies, veneration of all angels was eventually incorporated into his feast day. In the Anglican Church, its proper name is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.
The Collect for St. Michael and All Angels
Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
It was reported last Sunday that an Egyptian business man was kidnapped and killed by Isis because he supported the construction of a church in his community.
A February 2020 article in Christianity Today cites research showing that a total of 2.4 million Christian’s were killed for their faith in the first 20 years of the 21st century. But the good news, according to christianity.com, is that Christian murders are down. In the 20th century, the deadliest century ever for Christians, 26 million Christian’s were martyred, that was more than all previous centuries combined, from 33A.D. until 1900 only 14 million Christian’s were martyred.
Right now, in the United States, Christians are being sued for expressing their Christian faith, and Governors are sending police to stop worship gatherings, claiming they are a “public health threat.” Don’t think it can’t happen here in Breckenridge, because it can, and it will.
Now more than ever, we need God’s plan of salvation.
Jesus Christ The Son of God took the flesh of the Virgin and was made man -
He came simply that mankind would have a Savior. He died for our sins taking
upon Himself the iniquity of us all. He then rose from the dead and ascended
into heaven - at which time, by His own Blood He entered into the Holy of
Holies and made atonement, propitiating the wrath of God making the way for
us to be at peace with the Father and made sons and daughters of God.
As Christian’s, sons and daughters of God, we are called to be little Christ’s
following the pattern of Christ’s life. We are asked to literally conform our lives
into the image of Christ. We are called to die daily to our own desires, to suffer
willingly, and to intercede for those around us.
We do this by daily endeavoring to follow after Him rejecting this world and its
vain pomp and glory, the Devil and all of his works, and the sinful desires of
In pursuing a life in Christ, we, through the Holy Ghost are made partakers of
the Divine Life and are not only restored to our pre-fall purity, but are elevated
to a higher existence.
Through this higher existence we are commanded to be witnesses - meaning:
1. To seek and save the lost - with God’s help.
2. Witness literally means Martyr in Greek.
3. We are left here in this world to share our faith and draw men to Christ.
Our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, promises to be with us in these endeavors
and provides a sober warning to us that this world will hate you if you are
successful in following Him.
Christ promises that we as Christian’s will undergo trials of many kinds
because of our relationship to Him. Such as death, scourging, starvation,
imprisonment, mocking, beatings, beheading, Etc…
Jesus does not promise us security in this life here. He does promise that in all
these things He will be with us, He will not leave us in our trials. He promises
that if we follow hard after Him, that even when we encounter difficulties of
many types He will provide for us. And in the most severe trials He will
strengthen us through His Spirit, giving us even the words to say at the right
It is an eternal home and reward that we look to, Christ being eternity is our
reward. So He promises to Shepherd us in life and in death that we may have
full confidence in Him.
This world is passing away. Not as the climate change advocates promise, but
that governments, hero or saviors, utopian scheme’s, we can put no faith in the
promises in any of these. These fall short of anything God has already
accomplished for us in the person of His Son Jesus.
Scripture warns us that Satan will be loosed at the end. Progressively evil
anti-christ’s will arise, and there will be many. These are those who offer a
form of salvation through delusion, but ultimately lead many to their
destruction. This leads to the Anti-Christ, the physical embodiment of Satan
who will arise and plunge the world into tribulation.
These anti-christ’s are essentially forerunners to The Anti-Christ, “The Man of
Perdition,” “The Lawless One.” Little by little, Satan’s strategy is to slowly,
progressively, build his plan step by step over time. He does not offer one
“Mark”, but many. Each mark entices us to place our trust in an earthly, worldly
savior, or utopian scheme or device, as a means of achieving heaven on earth.
Have you heard of the “Mark of the Beast?”
These “Marks” progressively condition us not to trust in God’s plan of
salvation, but to place our hope in an humanistic plan. Each time we accept a
loss of freedom for safety or security outside of Christ, we buy into the Anti-
Christ and accept his deception. Eventually this will condition us to accept
So what are the Marks? Some say The Mark could be cell phone’s, a chip placed
under the skin, a vaccine, a tattoo of a bar code. No one knows for sure.
The final Mark, we are told by the Church Father’s, will be given when each
person is commanded to bow before the Anti-Christ and worship him. It may
not even be a physical mark, but will seal the one who bows for destruction.
Some from among us will turn from Christ and receive the mark because they
do not recognize the danger and prepare for suffering and spiritual battle. It
could be your neighbor, your friend, your children. It might even be you.
So today I must ask you: ARE YOU READY FOR THE COMING PERSECUTION?
In the end, Christian’s will be despised in the same way they despised,
tortured, and murdered our Savior. Your training ground for that battle is right here, before this altar, where you learn to suffer through the example of the Saints. Where through the practice
of your faith— prayer, fasting, almsgiving and study—you gain the skill and
discipline to do spiritual battle. And most importantly, where you receive
supernatural, spiritual power through the Eucharist.
Gird yourself, my friends. Get ready. THE BATTLE IS ALREADY RAGING AND
WE ARE SOON TO JOIN THE FIGHT.
“Now Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a simple man, dwelling in tents. Now Isaac loved Esau because he ate his venison, but Rebecca loved Jacob. Then Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and was weary. So Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me taste this red stew, for I am exhausted.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said to Esau, ‘Sell me your birthright today.’ Esau replied, ‘Look, I am about to die. What good then is this birthright to me?’ Then Jacob said, ‘Swear to me today.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.” -Genesis 25:27-33
Consider the ramifications of this biblical event. Esau, the first-born, saw little value in his birthright. So in a moment of weakness, he chose to satiate his physical appetite rather than value what his birthright entitled him to. When he later sought the blessing which conveyed the birthright, it had been stolen from him and he could not retrieve it back.
Like Esau, you also have a birthright. As a Christian you were endowed with a birthright at baptism. At the font, you received your birthright as a child of God, and were given a deposit to ensure your inheritance: the Holy Ghost.
Consider again what Esau sold. “The blessing of the firstborn gave the eldest son a double portion of his father’s inheritance. He would also become the ruler and head over his brethren upon his father’s death and be responsible for the welfare and administration of the family. All this foreshadowed the Lord’s incarnation as the Firstborn of the Father and ruler and head over the Church. Through His incarnation, He would secure the Church’s eternal inheritance.” (From the Orthodox Study Bible)
In addition, Esau relinquished the role of seed bearer. No longer would the line of Christ go through him or his offspring. God would not work through Esau to bring forth salvation to the world. This also meant the Esau was, in essence, cut-off from the family line.
Hebrew’s 12:15-17 states, “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be a fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”
Esau is considered a profane fornicator because he was unfaithful to God. He despised his birthright and became a man ruled by his fleshly desires and worldly treasures. Though his father loved him, he despised his father and the birthright he was to receive. He was a fool.
But are we modern Christians any different?
During the great wars, the world witnessed the rise of totalitarian dictators. The rise was due to the direct influence of Marxist socialism, the chief aim of which is communism; the most oppressive form of humanist philosophy that claims total ownership of the men. The literal meaning of totalitarianism is “total ownership of man - body and soul.”
During this time, the Archbishop of Western New York, Fulton J. Sheen, addressed this threat. He asked, how did these totalitarian states get the souls of the people? He followed with this answer: “It was principally because the people abandoned their souls by no longer considering them as God’s. The State then said: If you do not want your souls, we will take them; if you do not want to educate them for the spiritual, we will educated them for the race, the nation, or the class.”
Today our choice is the same. If we find little value in our eternal birthright then we will sell it for a bowl of lentils. Surely, none of us would literally sell our soul for beans. But each time we prioritize recreation over church attendance, or binge-watch Netflix while neglecting our Bible, we are choosing worthless beans over an eternal birthright.
We must recognize that the world seeks total ownership of our souls. Church involvement no longer provides any social advantages. In fact, it can be downright inconvenient. But God asks His people to think critically, “Behold I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). The Bible also warns that the Man of Perdition will have gifts in his right hand, but we must understand that in his left hand will be our demise . . . which will come upon us one small compromise at a time.
So I will ask again, what is your soul worth to you? How can you keep from compromising your birthright? Here are a few suggestions:
Remember your oath of confirmation, when you promised to “reject the world, the flesh, and the devil.” As your priest, I am always available to help in any way I can. I am honored to do it. The devil is subtle, therefore we must be ever vigilant.
The Very Rev. Donald Sackett
Rector St. Andrew’s Anglican Church
I have a dear friend who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. His parents and siblings were all good Catholics. He had gone through all the catechism and training that any good Catholic would undergo. When he grew up he married a good Catholic woman and had good Catholic children who were also trained up in the Catholic Church.
Building a House of Cards
Then one day, my friend found himself in a position that he had never bargained for. You see my friend had been, and still is, a very successful business man. In his career he was always on top. In his private ventures he always achieved his goals. He was adept at using his charm, good looks and intellect to his advantage, and he got away with a lot. But in his late 30’s, his seemingly unlimited success created a house of cards that came tumbling down on top of him.
When this happened, my friend looked up and cried out to God, this God of his youth, of his parents and his wife, and he begged for help. God answered his prayer, helped him and changed his life. But the way in which God moved in this man’s life forced him to re-examine his faith.
You see to my friend, the God of his understanding was a distant God whom he did not really know. The religion he had been brought up in was, to him, about saying the right prayer, and doing the right religious calisthenics: stand to sing, sit to listen, kneel to pray. He went through the motions for decades but he never really made an effort to know more about God. He had practiced religion his whole life without ever allowing it to penetrate his heart. To him, the faith was meaningless.
Or was it?
“Either a person will side with the world and its pleasures (and so enter hell by the wide gate), thereby realizing his personal pleasures and losing himself endless entertainment and enjoyments, or he will side with God and His love (and so enter the narrow gate of heaven), thereby realizing holiness and toil. Such a person will find joy in life with God.” - Matthew the Poor
Spiritual Senility = Familiar Indifference
What my friend did not understand was that his heart longed for the pleasures of the world and not for God. My friend had fallen into what is known as spiritual senility. This condition is not brought on by age but rather by a neglect of the things of God, or a familiar indifference to them. Rather than exerting his energy to know and serve the God he’d been taught about all his life, he chose to direct all his energies toward the pleasures and conquests of this world.
And while my friend happened to be Roman Catholic, we've seen spiritual senility in every church we've ever visited. It's a spiritual sickness that affects all denominations and all peoples equally.
To Him the Catholic faith that he grew up with was just a familiar routine. It was a ritual that served him only in as much as it furthered his personal and business goals, of which truly knowing God was not one. Matthew the Poor describes it like this:
“Spiritual senility means that people’s ears are tired of hearing the constant calls for repentance and change of heart. In such cases, the preacher cries out to the listeners as though they were dead and motionless bodies, while each person looks at his neighbor as though his neighbor were the intended target and not he himself. Spiritual senility also means that people’s eyes are tired of reading the Bible and spiritual books. The words stand on the page cold and lifeless, and the reader’s eyes are scarcely able to pay attention and resist the approach of sleep. Spiritual senility means the heart has become stone like, losing the ability to become inflamed by the Spirit, losing the ability to feel and respond to the work of grace. Such a person stands in church for prayer and can do nothing but yawn, yawn, yawn, to the point that he becomes a laughing stock to those around him. Meanwhile, he feels and understands nothing of what is happening, as though he were not even there.”
Does this describe your spiritual life this lent? Who among us cannot see bits of ourselves in these words? I pray that we heed his warning and re-examine our motivations. I pray that our spiritual vigor, tamped down by a global pandemic, would be revived. I pray that the fire of our first love, Jesus, would be rekindled in our hearts, that celebrating the Mass would be a joy, and that the many cares and comforts of this world would no longer distract us from serving Christ and his Church.
Rekindling the Fire of Our Hearts
The worship and teachings of the Church have power to save and change us, but only if we choose to allow the practice of religion to penetrate our hearts. Those who spend their energies running after the knowledge of God will indeed be rewarded, as Hebrew’s states: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). We must pray and ask God to rekindle his holy fire in our hearts.
As our Lord stated, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). The earthly things that so easily attract us are fleeting. God knows we need things: food, clothing, housing, etc… but the priority should be God’s kingdom and the knowledge thereof. This is what will ultimately satisfy the longings of your soul and make you complete and at peace.
I hope you will join me with renewed spiritual vigor at any or all of the upcoming services:
Rector St. Andrew’s Church
While the close of October is typically known for Halloween, the last day of October was formerly a liturgical feast day known as All Hallows’ Eve. Today's tradition of costumes and candy stems from a much earlier practice of dressing up as saints and demons to act out the battle between good and evil. While All Hallow's Eve is no longer celebrated in most churches, we can still remember and prepare our hearts to remember those who have gone before us.
In the Anglican tradition, All Hallows' Eve is followed by All Saints’ Day on November 1st. Even though many saints of the church are remembered throughout the calendar year, All Saints’ Day provides a dedicated day to call to memory those saints who, through their profound faith and sacrificial acts, have led the way before us. We honor the example of their lives and deaths and rejoice in our continued communion with them through membership and participation in the body of Christ.
Pope John Paul II said, "We celebrate today the solemnity of All Saints. This invites us to turn our gaze to the immense multitude of those who have already reached the blessed land, and points us on the path that will lead us to that destination." The examples of the saints and martyrs of the Church put flesh on the teachings of scripture and provide countless examples of both holy living and holy dying.
All Souls’ Day is observed on November 2, the day following All Saints’ Day. While All Saints’ Day focuses on those saints whose work and witness affected the history of the larger church, All Souls’ Day is dedicated to the quiet and obscure. It is a day dedicated to remembering those everyday saints whose faithful, ordinary lives have built up our own lives and local churches. Although there is no formal service, many choose to visit or decorate the gravesites of the “ordinary saints” in their families and communities.
Let's pray that we might become "ordinary saints," people who's lives are spent serving others and pointing them toward Christ. May we be remembered not for our faults which are many, nor for our possessions which are few, but for how well we loved our Savior and served him with all our hearts.
This season is an excellent time to learn about a saint, to study the written prayers of saints from church history, and to specifically thank God for those who were instrumental in leading you and others into a profession of faith. Most importantly, let us witness to our eternal hope as we pray, "Therefore with Angels, and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name; evermore praising thee, and saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory: Glory be to thee,O Lord most High. Amen."
Our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrates His divine mastery over creation by walking upon the very water of the sea of Galilee in the midst of a storm. The passage in Matthew seems to suggest that the event was deliberate, that the Lord intended to find them in the midst of a storm tossed about as He approached them on the water.
“O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him for ever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him for ever.
O all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him for ever.”
The scene takes on significance as we take in the enormity of what it implies. This event coupled with the entire witness of Scripture, demonstrates that God, creator of heaven and earth is not in those things which He created, He transcends creation and commands the elements. They obey Him, nature and its laws are His to command or suspend.
“O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exult him above all for ever.
O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O every shower and dew, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him for ever.”
It is the witness of the apostle John in the first chapter of his Gospel who boldly states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made.” This testimony along with the wisdom of proverbs 8 verses 23ff state:
“The Lord created me in the beginning of His ways for His works; He established me in the beginning before time, before He made the earth, and before He made the abysses, before the going forth of the fountains of the waters, before the mountains were created; And He begot me before all hills. The Lord made the fields and the uninhabited places and the inhabited heights under heaven. When He prepared heaven, I was present with Him, and when He set apart His throne upon the winds. When He made strong things above the clouds, and made sure the fountains under heaven, and made strong the foundations of the earth, I was working beside Him; I was He in whom He rejoiced; daily and continually I was gladdened by His face…”
The person of Wisdom in Proverbs was established by the Father over His works; for the Father made all things through wisdom. For Wisdom is the Word and Son of the Father, He is the Begotten of God before all time.
“O all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all forever.
O ye fire and heat, blessed the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all forever.
O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all forever.”
The storm and the raging of the sea also speak of fallen humanity. Psalm 2 asks, “Why do the heathen so furiously rage together?” The implication is that they are as unstable as water itself. In their emotional frenzy they are equally tempestuous and destructive as the storm. Blown upon by the winds of unholy doctrines, the Lord has mastery over them as well able to use their energies for His ultimate glory.
So we take courage when the world rages! The one who made the eye, He is able to see; the one who planted the ear, He too has ears to hear. Jesus is Lord of the Heaven and Earth, He is King of the Storm, Winds and the waves obey Him, It is He who called Peter out upon the water, and when he began to sink it is He who saved him from its unruly depths.
“O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
O ye seas and rivers, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
O ye fountains, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever.”
“And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
Praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
by Fr. Don Sackett
We love Breckenridge! I believe that statement sums up how Paulette and I
really feel about living here these past 10 months.What makes Breckenridge so great? Well for starters, people actually care about their neighbors. I offer my experience at our local medical clinic as an example. Everywhere we have lived, going to the doctor is the last place I ever want to be. It has historically been an impersonal experience. But here it's different. I was frustrated by the long wait to be seen until I experienced the unique level of care provided. I feel as though I know my practitioner and that she knows me. I have been asked to pray for the doctors and staff, and I feel as though my on-going care is skillful and helpful.
Here's another example: I recently made an online purchase that I recognized as fraud, and needed to quickly stop my transaction to avoid a financial loss. I went to the bank branch in town. I was admittedly upset over my transaction, and very impatient as I sat waiting for someone to assist me. I could not help overhearing the phone conversation the banker was having with another client. The personal attention she gave over the phone was refreshing and disarming. She said, “…Is your mother so-n-so? She is so pretty. I always thought of her as a beautiful lady…” Who talks like that in the fast-paced world of banking and finance? Well, the banker was knowledgeable and when she finished her phone call she helped me resolve my issue. Then she spent the next hour just getting to know me and my family.
These experiences, which are too numerous to mention, are part of the many reasons we feel blessed to be in Breckenridge. Little interactions like these add up to give an overall sense of peace, personal value and belonging. Breckenridge is an enclave of neighborly care and protection in an otherwise insensitive world of rioting and political manipulation.
As I have spoken to members of our parish and met new friends in the community, I have a growing sense of hope for Breckenridge. This hope has been echoed by our new BISD Athletic Director, our new School Superintendent, the High School Principal, and several other mid-career professionals I've met who are moving in or returning to our community. I've found we all came to Breckenridge filled with faith and hope that this little town we now call home would be a place where our families could thrive and where the town was destined for renewal.
There are an increasing number of talented, hard-working believers in Breckenridge who are working and praying for God to move mightily in our community. I know God has brought my family here for a reason, and I believe you're here for a reason, too.
Will you join us in praying for spiritual, social
and financial renewal in Breckenridge?
The message of the Church on the Second Sunday of Easter is DO NOT BE SHAKEN. How appropriate for this remarkable time, when our entire nation is shaken by the impact of COVID-19. Scripture tells us these things must come to pass, and that we do not need to fear. Why? Watch to learn more.