The functionSt. Michael, Helper of the Sick & Dying
The function of military guardian of the Church is not the only one assigned to St. Michael the Archangel. In the early Easter Church, the function of healer was in a special manner attributed to him. Tradition relates that in the earliest age, St. Michael caused a medicinal spring to spout at Chairotopa near Colossae, and all the sick who bathed there, invoking the Blessed Trinity and St. Michael were cured.
Still more famous are the springs which St. Michael is said to have drawn from the rock at Collossae. The pagans directed a stream against the sanctuary of St. Michael to destroy it, but the Archangel split the rock by lightning to give a new bed to the stream and sanctified forever the waters which came from the gorge. At Constantinople, likewise, St. Michael was the great heavenly physician, The Christians of Egypt placed their life-giving river, the Nile, under the protection of St. Michael.
In Rome, churches were built and dedicated to St. Michael as far back as 494. During the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great, a terrible pestilence depopulated the city of Rome. The Pope ordered a penitential procession during which he himself carried a statue of the Blessed Virgin. Eighty persons died in the ranks of the procession itself. Still the Pope continued the prayers. When they arrived at the bridge crossing the Tiber, they heard the songs of angels in the skies. Suddenly above the castle of San Angelo, St, Michael appeared in gigantic size. In his right hand, he held a sword which he thrust into the scabbard
(sheath of the sword). At the same moment the pestilence ceased.
Many other instances of a miraculous nature also illustrate the power of curing ills which he shares with St. Raphael, "The medicine of God." Though military captain of the church of God, St. Michael nevertheless, interests himself profoundly in all the great public happenings of his people, and particularly in the calamities befalling them, while he does not overlook their private petitions for aid under any circumstances. Let us therefore have recourse to him in times of sickness and if it is God's will that we should experience his help, he will most certainly come to our assistance bearing to us the healing graces of the Redeeming Blood.
If in His merciful designs, our heavenly Father has decided to call us home, St. Michael continues his angelic ministration till he sees us sagely through the eternal portals. For not only during life does the glorious Archangel defend and protect souls, he is especially their advocate at the hour of death. "He assists at every deathbed" writes Dom Gueranger, "for his special office is to receive the souls of the elect, on their quitting the flesh." He, with loving solitude and princely bearing, presents them to the Light Eternal and introduces them into the House of God's glory.
St. Michael, Helper of the Sick & Dying
It is Holy Church Herself that tells us, in the words of her Liturgy, of these divine privileges of the great Archangel. She teaches us that he has been set over Paradise and that God has given him the charge of leading to heaven the souls of them that are to be received there. When the last hour of our earthly career draws near and we are confronted by that awful moment when our souls must leave the body which it has loved so much, to pass through the narrow portal of death, satanic hists like raving lions will make a last attack upon our souls. But we need not fear, if during life we have had devotion to the Precious Blood and have been faithful in venerating St. Michael and in imploring his aid for the hour of death.
In that hour of supreme need, the invincible Archangel, ever ready to assist the faithful sou, will come to our aid with his glorious hosts and battle for us. He will cover us with his strong shield and lead us safely through the midst of our enemies. It is therefore a very commendable practice to invoke St. Michael to lend assistance at the hour of death. Among the writings of St. Alphonsus Liguori, we find the following account of St. Michael's assistance at the hour of death: "A certain Polish nobleman had for many years led a wicked life. When the hour of death approached, he was filled with terror and tortured by remorse of conscience over his former recklessness, so that he was reduced to utter despair. No amount of exhortation or encouragement had any effect upon him; he refused absolutely every spiritual consolation.
"This unhappy man, however, still had some veneration for St. Michael, and God in His mercy permitted the holy Archangel to appear to him in his last struggle. St. Michael encouraged him to repentance and said that he had prayed and obtained for him sufficient time to regulate the affairs of his soul. Shortly after wards, two Dominican priests came to the house, saying that a stranger had sent them. The sick man recognized this as the work of St. Michael. He confessed his sins amid tears of repentance, received Holy Communion with touching devotion and breathed forth his soul with every indication of being truly reconciled with God."
Source: St. Michael and the Angels.