Spirit Daily


Archangel Michael's Presence Is Still Felt At Mysterious, Potent Cave In Italy

By Michael H. Brown

This week of the archangels, celebrating the feast day of St. Michael,  I'd like to say that I have been to a number of holy places -- spots where there is an especially powerful presence, the actual feeling of something supernatural. Highest on this list would be the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem; the Cathedral of the Holy Shroud in Turin; the chapel of the apparitions at Fatima; the Lourdes grotto; and where I am right now -- apparition hill just outside the village of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

These are all powerful places and in their midst I would also rank the Cave of the Archangel Michael -- in fact, it is right there at the top. This is a grotto in eastern Italy, and believe me, there is a presence here! There is the real feeling of St. Michael. When I visited the cave in 1990, a disheveled man who had simply walked in and was sitting before the statue of Michael suddenly went through a spontaneous deliverance as a demon that obviously inhabited him screeched and yelled as the Holy Spirit sought to cast it out.

That's power. I urge you all to visit it. Perhaps one day we'll run a pilgrimage. I have a stone from the cave that I treasure as one of my most powerful relics.

And I also have a rare picture of the archangel that I bought at the cave (yes, a cave, not a church). We feel the picture is so potent that we have adopted it, along with the Shroud, as the official devotion for this website.

I have heard from others who have told me about encountering angels on the way to St. Michael's cave or of simply experiencing the kind of feeling that is rare outside of the most famous sites of apparition. But that's what happens at Monte Gargano (where the cave is located): there is a feeling that can only be compared to spots like Mount Krizevac or the Church of the Nativity in Jerusalem, and it only makes sense when we take a look at the history -- the long history -- of this place.

Located in stony hillsides not far from San Giovanni Rotundo (where St. Pio lived), the cave is reached by walking 86 steps subdivided into five flights and interrupted by four landings. It is a mysterious place, the galleries supported by big Gothic arches and ogival vaults, the side walls are illuminated by small windows.

But most mysterious is the history: in 404 A.D. a wealthy man, frustrated when one of his cattle refused to move from the entrance of the cave, took up his bow and sent an arrow toward the animal -- an arrow that then whirled like a boomerang and came back to wound the archer!

So frightened was the man that he went to see the bishop of Siponto, who in praying for an answer experienced the apparition of Michael. The archangel identified himself as the angel "who ever stands before the Lord" and was "keeping this place under my special protection."

Although there is a basilica in the cave, it has never been consecrated by the Church because the Church considers it the only basilica consecrated by an actual angel!

In another instance when Neopolitans decided to wage war on Siponto, Michael appeared again to the bishop assuring him of victory. As soon as the attack began, all of Monte Gargano was enveloped by a dark cloud that shot forth lightning of such strength as to chase away the enemy.

No wonder the power is still felt. Let us take a lesson from it on the archangel's tremendous intervention. Michael! He is the angelic prince of Israel, guardian of Jacob, known in Islamic writing as Mika'il. 

In our current day, he figures often into mysticism. Although most don't realize it, it was only after invocation of St. Michael that a child was freed from possession in the real-life case of The Exorcist (this never made it into the movie). I once spoke to a level-headed woman who claimed to have seen Michael as a gigantic being at a time when she and her husband were going through a crisis. She claims she saw him with her eyes open. He was so huge, she says, that she could only see to his knees. He wore strapped sandals, and his feet looked like they had trekked across the earth. She could see the tip of a sword. I also remember the Ukrainian mystic Josyp Terelya seeing Michael as a wise old man who instructed him in a dream.

Michael! A wise man. A warrior. The warrior. Some say the great archangel is the author of Psalm 85. 

In Jewish lore it's even believed that the fire Moses saw in the burning bush had Michael's appearance. 

Christians invoke him as the angel of deliverance. 

This is a mighty intercessor who can help you in many distressing situations. Invoke him. Do his novena. Ask for his help. He is stronger than anything bad. "Who is like unto God?" was Michael's cry against the fallen angels who tried to usurp the throne of God.

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