1. The name Michael means, “Who is like God”. In the Bible he is called “one of the chief princes” (Daniel 10:13) and “the great prince” (Daniel 12:1).
2. Michael is usually shown with a sword, or carrying the scales of justice. Renaissance paintings show him wearing armor. These symbolize his strength, courage, truth and integrity. Michael is engaged in a ceaseless war against the forces of evil. His most famous example of this occurred when he cast Lucifer and his followers out of Heaven.
3. According to the apocryphal Book of Adam and Eve, Michael kept a close eye on the couple after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. He taught Adam how to farm, and persuaded God to allow Adam’s soul to return to Heaven after he died.
4. An ancient tradition says Michael told Sarah, Abraham’s wife, that she would bear a son. Although not mentioned by name, it is believed that Michael was the “angel of the Lord” who stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, Isaac (Genesis 22:10).
5. Michael guides departed souls to the next world. This came about because, according to the Testament of Abraham, Michael told Abraham he was about to die. Abraham asked God if he could see all the wonders of the world so that he could die with no regrets. Michael developed his guiding expertise by taking Abraham on a tour of the inhabited world. Afterwards, he took Abraham home to prepare for his death.
6. Michael is believed to have rescued Daniel from the lion’s den. It is also believed that he was responsible for the plague on Egypt that ultimately led the Israelites to freedom. It was probably Michael who appeared to Joshua and called himself “captain of the host of the Lord.” (Joshua 5:13-15) Michael also appeared to Gideon and gave him the courage to fight his foes (Judges 6:11-18).
7. In the Islamic tradition, Mika’il (Michael) is in charge of the forces of nature, and has an army of angels to help him. He has magnificent wings of green topaz. Mika’il has a million tongues, each of which can speak a million languages. His long saffron hair reaches to his feet, and each hair contains a million faces. Each face contains a million eyes that cry seventy thousand tears. He takes life seriously and never laughs.
8. Joan of Arc (c.1412-1431) began hearing, and ultimately seeing, Michael at the age of thirteen. He gave her constant encouragement, and even suggested the flag she should use when leading her army.
9. Pope Leo XIII wrote a famous prayer that starts: “St. Michael, the Archangel, Defend us in battle, Keep us safe from the wickedness and snares of the devil.” He wrote this after a vision in which he saw Michael sending Satan back to hell. This prayer still provides comfort to many people.
10. Between 1961 and 1965, the Virgin Mary appeared several times to four children in Garabandal, Spain, telling them to change their way of life, make penances and attend church more frequently. Four years later, Michael appeared to the children and repeated the message. He also told them that if they prayed sincerely, they would receive whatever it was they prayed for.