Sin is a revolt against God. This is the act of the angel refusing to God adoration and obedience and claiming to be equal to Him. To men as well, the great voice of the Eternal has said: I am the Lord! And like Lucifer, man repeats the response: I will not serve. He has broken with God: his spirit and his heart, through the most deserved punishment, hangs in shame and filth.
But his act of revolt has been accomplished under an evil impulse. Satan is the father of Sin. The first he committed it, he brought it into the world, and maintains it with all his power. The old scene of the fall to the earthly paradise is renewed, always the same, and in everyone of us, with his seductive promises, alas! And with his lie and his ruin. The demon is faithful to his role, which is to deceive men and to train him in his fall. But to the side of the angel of seduction, there is the angel of repentance and salvation.
Saint Michael has seen in the heart of God his ardent love of man, and he fell in love in his turn of compassion and charity for this weak being pummeled by the blows of the Enemy. The Fathers and the commentators show Saint Michael to us in Paradise, reproaching, it is true, Adam for his prevarication and expelling him from Heaven like the evil spirits, but opening his heart to hope, encouraging him, and educating him. Since then, he has not ceased to approach souls to pull them away from Satan, to deliver them from their shameful chains which hold them in evil, and to bring them back to Jesus Christ.
Saint Sophronius called him the guide of those that stray, and the inspiration of those who fall. According to the pious deacon Pantaleon, he leads sinners to repentance and procures for them the remission of their faults. When he sees one of his servants in disgrace with God, says Saint Alphonsus of Liguori, he prays the Lord to wait for his repentance, and carries himself somehow a surety for the sinner, promising to God that he will not longer offend Him, because he will be careful t rescue him when he sees him in danger of falling back. Finally Saint Francis de Sales affirms, as a truth attested by the Fathers, that Saint Michael has received from God the particular gift of touching the heart of the most hardened sinners, to inspire in them a sincere repentance.
Is that not what the Church recognizes when she makes us confess our faults to God first, then to the Virgin Mary, then to Saint Michael? So the great Archangel is charged with carrying the accusation of our faults before the throne of God and there to implore mercy for us. Saint John one day heard him make this supplication: Pardon, Lord, pardon, you open the book and break the seal. To Heaven in our favour, Saint Michael reiterates the same prayer: Pardon, Lord, for your creature, and curse the tempting angel!
Scripture provides us with proof of his intervention in favour of souls. In one vision of Zachary the high priest appears before the Angel of the Lord— Saint Michael, says the commentators—and Satan comes to accuse him. The Archangel defends him: God overwhelms you with His wrath, he says to Satan. And, calling the angels, he orders them to remove from the high priest the sordid garments that cover him, and robe him in a precious garment and to put a crown upon his head.
So Saint Michael pleads for sinners and obtains for them the grace to return to life.
Practice: Let us often pray to Saint Michael for the conversion of sinners.