Discover St. Michael's Lent: A Catholic Devotion

Discovering St. Michael’s Lent: The Forgotten 40 Days Saint Francis Adored

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series St. Michael's Lent

Are you ready for St. Michael's Lent? I don’t know about you, but I find the ultra-hot days of summer leave me spent both spiritually and physically exhausted. The idea of a forty-day, intense Lenten-like devotion may not be attractive. Fortunately, the month of August lays the promise of fall and Advent with this little-known devotion. It's a less intense spiritual season than Lent, Easter, or Advent but one that provokes reflection, sacrifice, and the spiritual renewal so often needed.

Imagine my excitement last week when I stumbled across St. Michael's Lent and learned how it celebrates devotion to St. Michael the Archangel and highlights Saint Francis of Assisi's passionate response to the same devotion. A much-needed plus is a lighter, more adaptive, and flexible framework that is an ideal solution for moving toward the birth of Christ and the end of the liturgical year.

What is this Catholic devotion called St. Michael's Lent?

Looking for a devotion that opens the door to renewal and joy? Try St. Michael's Lent.
St. Michael the Archangel and the Dragon blank-lined journal

St. Michael's Lent begins on the Feast of the Assumption (August 15th) and ends on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel (September 29th). That’s a full 40 days, mirroring the Lenten season before Easter. This period is dedicated to the powerful archangel St. Michael, asking for his protection, guidance, and strength.

St. Michael the Archangel is honored, but the beautiful connection to Saint Francis of Assisi, who so loved and devoted himself to St. Michael and the angels, is also included. St. Francis's profound admiration for this Lenten devotion played a role in his spiritual experiences, including his mysterious reception of the stigmata.

Why I'm Excited to Start St. Michael's Lent

The idea of having 40 days dedicated to honoring St. Michael, the Archangel, and the angels is so exciting. While I’m a late convert to the Catholic church, I’ve felt a close connection to the archangel St. Michael for most of my life and have felt his protective presence many times. When it came time to choose a confirmation name, I had no hesitation: it had to be St. Michael the Archangel.

Throughout my ten-year journey to the Catholic faith, I adopted the practice of praying the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel. It was a wonderful daily companion as I cared for my mother during her last years, researched and read more about the faith, and entered RCIA. With this devotion, I plan to renew my devotional practice of reciting St. Michael's chaplet daily.

Why is the term “Lent” applied?

Maybe you’re wondering why this devotion has the word ‘Lent' in its title and whether it’s related to the more widely known Lenten season before Easter. Both have spiritual preparation and introspection periods, yet St. Michael’s Lent conveys something different. Let’s face it, Lent before Easter is way more intense with its somber and penitential journey that culminates with remembering Christ's Passion. St. Michael’s Lent feels much lighter and is more of a joyful anticipation and preparation season. Just as St. Bonaventure reminds us, the Blessed Michael Archangel’s ministry brings souls before God. This devotion can lead us to draw closer to God and not only reflect but become filled overflowing with the “sweetness of heavenly contemplate.” That makes it a sure way to rejuvenate our spirits.

The Ancient Roots of St. Michael's Lent

While it isn’t as widely recognized as the Lenten season before Easter, St. Michael’s Lent has ancient roots in the Christian tradition. It was during the 12th century that the devotion gained ground. However, it was Saint Francis of Assisi who truly popularized this practice.

Saint Francis, known for his profound love for God and all His creation, deeply revered this period. He saw it as a time of grace and personal sacrifice leading up to the feast of one of the Church's chief heavenly protectors. After the Feast of the Assumption, he would retreat into deeper solitude, praying, fasting, and preparing himself to celebrate the end with the feast of St. Michael with great joy and reverence.

Are You Intrigued and Want to Know More?

Whether you hear about St. Michael’s Lent for the first time or are familiar with its historical resonance, the invitation stands for all. Join us in the following posts as we dive deeper into the significance of this season and how Saint Francis of Assisi, with his unwavering devotion, brought its beauty to the forefront.

Are you ready to embark on this spiritual journey? Stick around, and let’s rediscover together the forgotten 40 days that Saint Francis adored!

A quick reminder for all with a love for journaling. Using a journal to capture thoughts, notes, prayers, and spiritual insights is a great way to pray your way into St. Michael's Lent actively. I use my St. Michael the Archangel and my St. Francis of Assisi journal as seen above to capture my own inner activities.

Stay tuned for our next post, where we'll delve into how Saint Francis brought this devotional practice into the limelight and how even today we can embrace its transformative power in our lives.
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    • Don
    • August 9, 2023

    I have heard of St. Michael’s Lent, but most confess know next to nothing about it. Look forward to future posts – Peace

      • vikk
      • August 14, 2023

      I hope you’ve become more familiar with St. Michael’s Lent and give it a try. Remember, it appears that we have a lot of leeway in how we design our practice over the enext 40 days.

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