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The Story of Michael
Catholic Family News ^

Posted on 03/12/2003 3:45:32 PM PST by Land of the Irish


What follows is a copy of a letter that was written by a young Marine to his mother while he was hospitalized after being wounded on a Korean battlefield in 1950. It came into the hands of a Navy Chaplain, who read the letter before 5,000 Marines at a San Diego Naval Base in 1951.

The Navy Chaplain had talked to the boy, to the boy's mother and to the Sergeant in charge of the patrol. This Navy Chaplain, Father Walter Muldy, would always assure anyone who asked that this is a true story.

This letter had been read once a year in the 1960s at a Midwestern radio station at Christmas time. Since thousands of U.S. troops now head to the Persian Gulf for the planned war against Iraq, we publish this remarkable story once more, in the hope that many servicemen and their families will invoke the intercession and protection of Saint Michael. We present the letter and let it stand on its own merits. (J. V.)

Dear Mom,

I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but I have got to tell somebody.

First off, I am in a hospital. Now don't worry, ya hear me, don't worry. I was wounded but I am okay you understand. Okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month.

But that is not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn't have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I always have.

When I got to Korea, I prayed-----even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? "Michael, Michael of the morning fresh corps of Heaven adorning," you know the rest of it. Well I said it every day. Sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.

I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen. He must have been 6'4" and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, "Cold ain't it." And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather.

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly; I looked at him, "I have never seen you before, I thought I knew every man in the outfit."

"I just joined at the last minute", he replied. "The name is Michael."

"Is that so," I said surprised. "That is my name too."

"I know," he said and then went on, "Michael, Michael of the morning . . ."

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn't I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen? Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.

Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke the silence. "We are going to have some trouble up ahead."

He must have been in fine physical shape for he was breathing so lightly I couldn't see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation.

Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

"Michael," I shouted in sudden alarm.

I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, "This will stop shortly."

His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise.

Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn't anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

"Down Michael," I screamed and hit the frozen earth.

I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing.

Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits.

But there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake.

At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know. I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking, well this is not so bad.

Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor.

As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger; his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an Angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights.

Well, that is the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment's rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

"Where is Michael," I asked.

I saw them look at one another. "Where's who?" asked one.

"Michael, Michael that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."

"Kid," said the sergeant, "You weren't walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow."

He looked at me, curiously. "How did you do it kid?"

"How'd I do what?" I asked half angry despite my wound. "This marine named Michael and I were just . . ."

"Son," said the sergeant kindly, "I picked this outfit myself and there just ain't another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it."

He paused for a minute, "Just how did you do it kid? We heard shots. There hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle. And there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."

I didn't say anything, what could I say? I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then the sergeant spoke again, "Kid," he said gently, "everyone of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke."

That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that is what happened.

Love, Michael

Editor's P.S.: This is the second time CFN ran this story. After its first run, many subscribers wrote and called to ask if we had a copy of the "Michael, Michael of the Morning" prayer. We regret that we do not, nor have we been able to find it. We suggest that Catholics instead recite often the "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in Battle" prayer that was said after every Low Mass by order of Pope Leo XIII.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Prayer
KEYWORDS: angels; catholic; catholiclist; soldiers; stmichael
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1 posted on 03/12/2003 3:45:32 PM PST by Land of the Irish
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To: aeiou; Alberta's Child; Aloysius; AniGrrl; Aristophanes; Bellarmine; Dajjal; Domestic Church; ...
2 posted on 03/12/2003 3:53:46 PM PST by Land of the Irish
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To: nickcarraway
3 posted on 03/12/2003 3:56:03 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Land of the Irish
Too often we ignore the powerful resource of St. Michael and our own guardian angels. Sometimes we have to be touched like this and like doubting Thomas before we fully grasp.

After the Mass: Pardon any typos

The wording in the vernacular varies a bit depending on the source.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, o' Prince of the Heavenly Host by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

The wording in Latin is constant: Pardon the lack of Latin accent marks.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio; contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur; tuque, Princeps militiae coelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionenm animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.
4 posted on 03/12/2003 5:47:10 PM PST by 8mmMauser (Cor Jesu sacratissimum, Miserere nobis)
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To: 8mmMauser
Is there any third-party corroboration of this?
5 posted on 03/12/2003 7:27:02 PM PST by dsc
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To: dsc

St. Joseph Daily Missal dated 1959 De Permissu Superiorum Imprimatur Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York. New Edition 1961. Published as "The official prayers for the celebration of daily Mass."

These missals can be found readily in used book stores or at least that was the case for us.

I prefer the Latin because it is exact, but most use the vernacular and the priest usually does at end of Mass. However, we use "Thou" instead of "you". The missal uses "you".

In this Missal, it is page 702-703.

You can find many further references to the extended versions with a quick search on Pope Leo XIII.
6 posted on 03/12/2003 7:39:43 PM PST by 8mmMauser
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To: Land of the Irish; fabian
Thanks, I love it...gave me chills.
7 posted on 03/13/2003 12:25:02 AM PST by abigail2
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To: 8mmMauser
I apologize for lack of clarity. I have memorized the prayer in Latin and often pray it, just as you have given it here.

I meant to ask if there was 3rd party corroboration of the events in Korea--for instance, someone who saw the enemy soldiers killed with sword strokes, the sgt. that Michael (mortal) spoke to, etc.
8 posted on 03/13/2003 12:55:15 AM PST by dsc
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To: Land of the Irish
Nice story and all but where in my NT Bible can I find a commandment or an example of someone praying to a dead person?

Jesus gave us an example of prayer and it wasn't to Micheal or anyone else for that matter.

I think we are supposed to pray to God.

Nice story. Thanks for posting.
9 posted on 03/13/2003 1:16:24 AM PST by PFKEY
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We Catholics believe a hierarchy exists within the Heavenly Family. We believe Saints and at least some "good" people have at least made it to Heaven. We pray for them to intercede for us, do not pray TO them. I pray for Our Lady, Mary to petition Her Son for graces.

And I have no problem whatsoever, asking my guardian angel, and St. Michael for help. I do not consider these angels dead.

Matter of fact, those of us who have actually had events like them happen, and it is far more often that you may think, have no problem whatsoever realizing their existence and role.

I guess it was yesterday or the day before, when Fox News gave the incredible story of a terrible car accident, and a little (two year old) tyke made it out of the wreck alive and made it across the divided highway to safety, The child said it was guided, plain and simple, the honest innocence at its purest.

I, too, think we are supposed to pray to God, but I ask those in Heaven to pray for me, too.

Probably most of us doubt, but when it happens to us, the doubt disappears in a flash.

I do not know which NT version of Bible you use, but I prefer the oldest and purest I know, the Douay Rheims version of the Latin Vulgate. Hard to top that.
10 posted on 03/13/2003 3:53:54 AM PST by 8mmMauser (Dominus vobiscum)
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To: dsc
I have no idea as this is the first time I ever heard the story.

I have no doubt it happened just as it was explained.

BTW I say the prayer only in Latin at home and also the Angelus as often as I can. Especially now it is important. Twelve, six o'clock, and twelve.
11 posted on 03/13/2003 3:57:40 AM PST by 8mmMauser (Dominus vobiscum)
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To: Land of the Irish
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of Battle; Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl through the world, seeking the ruin of souls.
12 posted on 03/13/2003 6:05:44 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Land of the Irish
Great post!
13 posted on 03/13/2003 6:08:14 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Could some Latin scholar teach me why "defende nos in proelio" becomes "defend is in the day of Battle," instead of just "defend us in battle"?

I seem to need St. Michael's assistance every day of my life.
14 posted on 03/13/2003 5:43:34 PM PST by dsc
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To: Land of the Irish; aeiou; Alberta's Child; Aloysius; AniGrrl; Aristophanes; Bellarmine; Dajjal; ...
Matthew 6:9  ¶After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11  Give us this day our daily bread.

12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
15 posted on 03/13/2003 10:17:15 PM PST by Jael
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To: dsc
That is an amazing and hopeful story.
16 posted on 03/13/2003 10:37:31 PM PST by fabian
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To: Salvation
Okay, since I didn't get any takers, I'm just going to say that I think it was mistranslated that way to subtly degrade the prayer.

Instead of "defend us in battle," implying the battle that rages each and every day, we're given "defend us in (some far-off future) day of battle."

Subtle, but important, I think.
17 posted on 03/16/2003 6:18:44 PM PST by dsc
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To: dsc
I have always said the prayer "defend us in battle" and did not notice the difference until you pointed it out. Wouldn't the correct translation be "defend us in battle" rather than " on the day of battle"?

18 posted on 03/16/2003 11:16:33 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
I'm not a Latin scholar, so I hesitate to make any pronouncements, but I think it would.

I was just reacting to the English translation given above.
19 posted on 03/16/2003 11:25:00 PM PST by dsc
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To: Land of the Irish; GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; ..
Ping. Is there anyone who knows where to find the actual prayer referred to in the article?
20 posted on 05/02/2003 8:30:35 PM PDT by narses (Christe Eleison)
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