Today is the feast of the Assembly of the Chief Captains Michael and Gabriel, and the rest of the Bodiless Powers.
BUT because to every one who hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; that is, to every one who hath the determination and the love of virtue, shall be given, by Divine Providence, an abundance of these things; since Cuthbert, the child of God, carefully retained in his mind what he had received from the admonition of man, he was thought worthy also of being comforted by the company and conversation of angels.
For his knee was seized with a sudden pain, and began to swell into a large tumour; the nerves of his thigh became contracted, and he was obliged to walk lamely, dragging after him his diseased leg, until at length the pain increased, and he was unable to walk at all.
One day he had been carried out of doors by the attendants, and was reclining in the open air, when he suddenly saw at a distance a man on horseback approaching, clothed in white garments, and honourable to be looked upon, and the horse, too, on which he sat, was of incomparable beauty.
He drew near to Cuthbert, and saluted him mildly, and asked him as in jest, whether he had no civilities to show to such a guest. “Yes,” said the other, “I should be most ready to jump up and offer you all the attention in my power, were I not, for my sins, held bound by this infirmity: for I have long had this painful swelling in my knee, and no physician, with all his care, has yet been able to heal me.”
The man, leaping from his horse, began to look earnestly at the diseased knee. Presently he said, “Boil some wheaten flour in milk, and apply the poultice warm to the swelling, and you will be well.” Having said this, he again mounted his horse and departed.
Cuthbert did as he was told, and after a few days was well. He at once perceived that it was an angel who had given him the advice, and sent by Him who formerly deigned to send his archangel Raphael to restore the eyesight of Tobit. If any one think it incredible that an angel should appear on horseback, let him read the history of the Maccabees, in which angels are said to have come on horseback to the assistance of Judas Maccabaeus, and to defend God’s own temple.
St Bede, “Life of Cuthbert”. At Mediaeval Sourcebook.
YE Chief Captains of the heavenly hosts, we the unworthy beseech you, that by your prayers, ye would fence us round under the protection of your wings, guarding us with the brightness of your glory, who falling down cry out entreatingly, Redeem us from dangers, as ye are Commanding Officers of the Powers above.