Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Michaelmas Plans

♥ Today we will celebrate the feast of St Michael the Archangel. Our English tradition also calls this day Michaelmas.
There are so many great places for information about this day but the story I like best is this one from the St Michael Center:

Once upon a time, right at the Very Beginning of Things, there was a Battle in Heaven, and this is what happened:

God had made Heaven and the Earth and all the Angels and all the extra important Angels, called Archangels. (Like an extra important Bishop is called an Archbishop.) The Archangels were God's very special friends and were Shining and Strong and Powerful. One Archangel was called Gabriel. He was the one that God sent to tell Our Blessed Lady that She was to become the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Another Angel was called Raphael; he was the one who helped Tobias in the Bible. Another Archangel was called Michael. Michael was "the Angel of the Lord", who was sent to Moses and Jacob and Abraham and to other people throughout the history of the world. Another Archangel was Lucifer, who was so beautiful that the other Angels called him the Son of the Morning.
Well, everybody was very happy because they were with God, and they all loved him, because he had made them so Strong and Shining and Lovely. Then one day Lucifer, Son of the Morning, said to himself: "Why should God be the most important person in Heaven? Why, shouldn't I be? I can fly and I can change into other things, and I am beautiful and I am powerful. In fact, I am just as Important as God, and I shan't do what He tells me ever again. I shall fight Him and have Heaven for mine!"
So, Lucifer went around Heaven, and he collected a lot of other Angels who also didn't want to be less Important than God, until he had a Great Army. Then they marched up to the Throne of God and said Proudly: "We are just as Important as You. Why should You be the King of Heaven any more than one of us? We are Strong and Proud and Beautiful, and we will fight You for the Kingdom of Heaven." God looked at them; then He said: "Lucifer, I thought that you were My friend, and I trusted you. Be sensible now, and think about what you are doing." "I have thought," said Lucifer, "and, I'd rather not be in Heaven at all than have You for my King, and so would all of us!" And behind him all the Rebel Angels shouted with a great shout: "We will follow Lucifer! Long live Lucifer! Let him reign over us in Heaven! WE DO NOT WANT GOD!" "Very well," said God, "if you don't want Me, you needn't have Me. But, if you want to fight for Heaven, you can if you think it will be any good." Then, God called Michael the Archangel, and made him gather together a Mighty Army of Angels who were on God's side.
Then there was a Great Battle in Heaven--Michael and his Angels fighting with Lucifer; and, Lucifer fought, and his Angels fought; but, they did NOT win. And Michael drove Lucifer right out of Heaven, and he fell down, and down, and down to hell; and, all his bad angels were driven down after him, and as the last one disappeared from sight forever and the Gate of Heaven clanged shut, a great Shout went up from Michael's Army: "Heaven has Won! Rejoice and be glad all you Angels! The Good God Always Wins!"
So, now you know why we sometimes say in our prayers, "Holy St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the Day of Battle," because he is so good at battles.
But, what happened to Lucifer and his Rebel Angels? Well, he was so furious and enraged at having lost his Battle with God that he has never gotten over it. You see, he is never allowed inside Heaven anymore forever and ever and ever; and, now that he can't go into Heaven anymore, he is angry about it. So, in Revenge, he does everything horrible to God that he can. His worst feeling is Jealousy; whom do you suppose he is jealous of? Us! Why? Because when Our Lord Jesus was Crucified, He opened the Kingdom of Heaven for us to go in! So Lucifer, whose other name is Satan, or the Devil, is furious because we Ordinary People are allowed into Heaven, and he, an Archangel, is not. So, he and his angels (or demons) try always and always to stop us going into Heaven by giving us bad Ideas, and making us do things that we know are wrong, so as to hurt God. So, whenever you want to do or say something horrid, think of the Great Battle in Heaven and remember that it is Lucifer trying to keep you on his side. If you don't do or say it, you have won and have stayed on God's side.
St. Michael's Special Day is September 29th; it is the Feast of St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, and of All Angels, because of all the Angels who helped him win the Battle with Lucifer.

♥ When looking for information for feast days it is always wonderful to find a very comprehensive web page like this one at the St Michael's Center. Have a look as the saying goes "so much to do and so little time.
♥ Fisheaters is also full of information about this feast day too

There are a few different associations for this day~

♥ Of course the Blackberries

From A book of Feasts and Seasons it says "It is a tradition that blackberries are no good to eat after September 29th because 'the Devil spat on them when he was cast out of Heaven into Hell on Michaelmas'! So the days just before Michaelmas are your last chance for bottling blackberries and making blackberry jam."
Of course we have great difficulty with this one on Australia as it is the wrong season for this, thank goodness for Frozen foods. We will use frozen blackberries for Blackberry and Apple Crumble ( we will adapt our Apple Crumble recipe we use often and add Black berries to it as well) Or we could do a Apple and Blackberry Strudel (another recipe from my own cookbook)

♥ And the lovely Michaelmas Daisy:

At this time of year, the Aster (Aster nova-belgii) blooms, and it has become known as the Michaelmas Daisy (see picture at right). The Michaelmas Daisy comes in many colors, from white to pink to purple. An old verse goes:

♥ Michaelmas Daisies~
The Michaelmas Daisies, among dede weeds,
Bloom for St Michael's valorous deeds.
And seems the last of flowers that stood,
Till the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.

(The Feast of SS. Simon and Jude is 28 October) An old custom surrounds Michaelmas Daisies; one plucks off the petals one by one thus: pull a petal while saying ""S/he loves me," then pull of the next while saying "S/he loves me not," and repeat until all petals are gone. The words one intones while pulling off the last petal lets one know if one's love is requited.

♥ Apples also have meaning this day:

As to foods, geese were, at least at one time, plentiful during this time of year, so roast goose dinners are traditional (eating them on this day is said to protect against financial hardship, according to Irish and English folk belief). It was also the time (at least in Ireland) when the fishing season ended, the hunting season began, and apples were harvested, so eating apples today with that goose would be a nice touch.

When you cut up your apples, cross-section a few and show your children how the 5 seeds inside the 5-pointed star found inside represent the Five Wounds of Christ. Another fun thing to do with apples is to make those little apple dolls that always resemble old people:

Apple Dolls

Peel an apple (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples work well), cutting away any bruises (some people say to core the apple, others say not to. Experiment for yourself). Carve as life-like a face as possible into the apple (don't cut too deeply so as to avoid rotting). Don't forget the little things that make a face so human -- the little lines running from nose to mouth, the hollows of the eyes, the depressions caused by cheekbones, etc. Depending on the "skin" tone desired, soak the carved apple for about 45 minutes in a mixture of lemon juice (or cider vinegar) and water (the longer you soak, the lighter the "skin" tone will be).

Hang the apple up in the dryest, darkest room of your home. Come back in 3 to 4 weeks to see what you have! It should have shrunk by about two thirds its original size, darkened some, and show the wizened features of an old woman or man. When thoroughly dry, decorate using very diluted food colorings for rouge; corn silk, cotton, or yarn for hair; cloves or food colorings for eyes; fabric triangles for scarves, etc. Secure onto a "body" made of a bottle, styrofoam cone, wooden dowel, etc., and make clothes as desired. From Fisheaters
Like the lovely Jessica did last year,we will be having her delicious Apple Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta and Baby Carrots:
Apple Chicken

6 skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cups apple juice
1/3 cup dijon mustard
3 apples -- unpeeled, cored & sliced 1/2" thick
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Heat oil in large skillet. Brown chicken over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Combine apple juice and mustard; pour over chicken. Cover; cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes. Add apples, raisins and green onions. Cover; Cook 5-10 minutes longer. Place chicken and apples on a serving platter; keep warm. Gradually stir combined cornstarch and water into cider liquid. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve sauce over chicken and apples.
(I usually double this recipe for our family.) So we will triple this
Also Apple Juice will be our drink of choice tonight.

♥ I talked to the children about having a devils Food cake that they can Spear, but they just couldn't reconcile this cake with St Michael so we will be having a slab cake cut into an angel shape and with white flurry cream on top.

♥ Table Decorations ~
We will have autumn's Michaelmas candle she made from a couple of Years ago as well as tree white candle in the centre of the table to represent the Three Archangels and we will recite the Prayers to each of the Angels from here.
The younger children will have drawn a battle scene that we will use for place mats and we will search for some Michaelmas daisies for the center piece.

"The name of this Archangel means "who is like unto God?" In the Old Covenant he is made known to us as the "great prince," the protector of the children of Israel (Dan. 12, 1). Through the New Testament the Church continues this patronage of Michael (Apoc. 12, 7) and has always venerated him as the guardian angel of the kingdom of Christ on earth, as the heavenly leader in the fight against all enemies of God. For this reason he was the special patron of Christian soldiers fighting against pagan armies. In the fierce battles of the imperial troops against the heathen Magyars in Bavaria (933 and 955) Saint Michael’s help was invoked by all fighters with prayer and song and battle cry, and the victory was gratefully attributed to him." ~ Catholic Culture

Reading we hope to do~

Holidays and Holy Nights has some great reading especially for background or older children
♥ Read the stories from Festivals Family and Food
St George and the Dragon
♥ Read From All year Round
♥ Read from the various print outs collected over the years

♥ Activities we will enjoy~

♥ Is there any doubt we will use Charlotte's wonderful colouring Pages

♥ I also thought we should write in our Liturgical Notebooks the St Michael Prayer~

Saint 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 Divine Power of God - cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

♥ Our little ones will Enjoy making these Angels as a very simple craft today. As we will be making silk and wool angels for the Feast of the Guardian Angels on Friday
Or we could do very simple Tissue Paper angels form The Children's Year

♥ Also our day will be very full if the children actually get to this one. they want to create a play for St Michael and the Angels casting out the Devil from Heaven. They have in mind to present it like The St George Play they did earlier in the year.

I hope they actually do this BUT like me they tend to over plan....so hopefully we

♥ As I tend to love simple crafts I will get the children to each do a felt picture of St Michael.

♥ Draw battle scenes for the place mats for tonight's dinner

♥ Learn this Old Gaelic Song/Hymn

Michael the Victorious~from the Carmina Gadelica

Thou Michael the victorious,
May I travel under thy shield,
Thou Michael of the white steed,
Of the bright and shining steel,
O, Conqueror of the dragon,
Be thou at my back,
Thou ranger of the heavens,
King's warrior, demon's bane.

O Michael the victorious,
My pride and my guide,
O Michael the victorious,
The pride of mine eye.

I travel this an all days,
With Michael as my guide,
On the hill or in the meadow,
Always at his side;
Though I should cross the ocean
The whole of the world
No harm can ever befall me
'Neath the shelter of thy shield;

O Michael the victorious,
Jewel of my heart,
O Michael the victorious,
God's shepherd thou art.

Be the Sacred Three of Glory
At peace with me,
With my wife and with my children,
With flocks and my land.
With the crops growing in the field
Or ripe in the sheaf,
On the machair, on the moor,
In cole, in heap, or stack.

To the Sacred Three of Glory,
Belong everything,
And to Their servant, Michael,
The victorious.

I hope you all have a very wonderful Michaelmas!!

St. Michael ~ Pray for us!


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