From the Catechism of the Catholic Church comes this explanation (the numbers indicate the paragraph in the Catechism itself):
329:We daily pray the St. Michael prayer:
St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel': from what they are, ‘spirit,' from what they do, ‘angel.'" With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word."
As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.
Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.
St. 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,
cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen!For those who are curious as to what we'll EAT to celebrate this feast:
4 egg whites (warmed in the shell by submerging in warm water)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 225.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla until soft peaks form (15 minutes or more with my wimpy mixer). Gradually add sugar (1 tbls at a time) and cocoa, alternating till all is mixed in. Continue to beat until meringue is stiff and glossy, about 10 minutes more. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by spoon (or 1/4 cup full) onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until dry and just golden (1 to 1-1/2 hours). Let cool completely on baking sheet.