…Keep me safe today,
And in time of temptation
Drive the devil away.
The young Marine, named Michael in honor of the archangel, said that prayer every day. His mother had taught it to him, and he had taught it to some of the men in his unit when they were deployed during the Korean War.
One day, Michael was sent with an advance detail beyond enemy lines.
It was bitterly cold. He could see his breath like smoke in the frosty air. As he trudged along, a big, tall Marine that he didn’t recognize pulled up alongside him.
“I have never seen you before,” Michael said. “I thought I knew every man in the outfit.”
“I just joined at the last minute,” the other replied. “The name is Michael.”
“Is that so,” said the first Michael, surprised. “That is my name too.”
“I know,” the other said and then went on, “Michael, Michael of the morning …”
Michael was amazed that this other Michael knew the prayer.
A few moments later, Michael #2 said they were going to have trouble up ahead. Heavy snow began to fall, and soon, Michael #1 was marching in a thick white fog of snow. Briefly losing his companion, he called to him and felt a strong hand on his arm.
“This will stop shortly,” Michael #2 said. And it did.
But as they came up over a rise, Michael #1 froze. Seven of the enemy stood at point-blank range, aiming their rifles at them. Michael dropped to the ground and screamed to his friend to do the same.
Michael #1 heard the rifles crack as Michael #2 stayed standing. Not a bullet hit him. Michael #1 received a chest wound as he leapt up to pull his friend to the ground. As he collapsed in pain, he felt himself laid in the snow by strong arms. He saw Michael #2, but he looked different now. He seemed bigger, with brilliant light shining from his face and from all around him like wings. And he held a sword in his hand.
When the rest of the unit found the wounded Michael, he asked where the other Michael was. His sergeant said that, besides him, there was no other Michael in the outfit.
The sergeant then asked how Michael had done it.
“Done what?” Michael asked.
The sergeant explained that all seven of the enemy had been slain, not with bullets (none had been fired from Michael’s rifle), but with a sword.
This incredible story was related by the Marine himself in a letter written to his mother as he lay recovering in the hospital. A Navy chaplain who read the letter and spoke to the Marine, his mother, and the leader of his unit attested to the truth of it.
Good spiritual habits begin young. Michael the Marine’s devotion to St. Michael the Archangel began with a simple childhood prayer and grew into a lifelong devotion. You can instill this devotion in your child, godchild, niece, or nephew with a ceramic tile with the well-known St. Michael prayer and an image of the saint. An uplifting piece of decor for a kid’s room or a prayer corner.
Encourage devotion to St. Michael in a young person in your world—who knows, it might save their life one day.