reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
Sunday, August 15, 2021
Ever heard of St. Michael's Lent? It begins today!
Today, August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady, is also the beginning of the Franciscan devotion known as “St. Michael’s Lent.” It is a 40-day period of fasting begun by St. Francis of Assisi in the 1220’s similar to the actual Lenten season. It ends September 29th on the feast of St. Michael. It was during one of these fasts in 1224 that St. Francis received the stigmata.
I looked up this observance online, didn’t find much beyond what I stated above (there was an informative link that I referred a few years ago on Sober Catholic from a Franciscan site that is now a broken link.) But, I assume that you can just observe a fast of sorts (food or bad habit/character defect, etc.) and whatever other penitential practices you can think of.
I do believe that it is significant that this period begins and ends when it does. The Solemnity of the Assumption is observed because as Mary was preserved from Original Sin in her conception, she was bodily assumed into Heaven when her mortal period of time on Earth was over, thus preserving her from the corruption of death. St. Michael was the champion and leader of the blessed angels in their battle against Lucifer and his demons in the Fall of the Angels, and in his victory cast Satan out of Heaven. We can gain strength from theses days in our struggles against drinking and drugging, and especially against sins of impurity. If you are anxious and stressed about things (and what isn’t stressful nowadays?) you can perhaps “fast” from anxiety. Easier said than done. No wonder Satan uses impurity and addictions and fear in his ongoing war against those made in the image and likeness of God.
(Just in case anyone counts the number of days from Aug. 15 to Sept. 29, you’ll get “46.” .Don’t count the six Sundays that occur and you’ll get the forty. Sundays aren’t considered a part of any Lenten observance.)