St. Michael’s Lent is what St. Francis termed the period between the Assumption, August 15, and the feast of St. Michael, September 29. By its name, it sounds like a period of intense prayer to St. Michael. While turning to St. Michael during this period is significant, it wasn’t the sole focus for St. Francis. Remember that in September we also celebrate the Exultation of the Cross and the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, September's dedication. St. Francis used St. Michael’s Lent as another period during the year of fasting and prayer to grow closer to the crucified Lord. And it was while meditating on the crucifixion during St. Michael’s Lent when St. Francis was blessed with the gift of stigmata.
So how do you observe St. Michael’s Lent? First, consider what you do in the spring: give something up, add to or strengthen your prayer routine, abstain from meat on Fridays if you don’t already, turn on your Lenten playlist while you drive to work. All of these are good places to start.
Because St. Michael’s Lent isn’t an official season of the Church, you won’t find rules on particular days you need to fast like you would for Ash Wednesday or Good Friday. In fact, St. Michael’s Lent begins on a solemnity, which would be an inappropriate day to fast. This isn’t an invitation to treat it like Mardi Gras, but paying special tribute to Our Mother on her Assumption and enjoying a little extra fruit with our meals and dessert might be a terrific way to mark the beginning of this special period of the year. You can certainly choose days to have a more intense fast like the feast of Our Mother of Sorrows or September 28, the day before St. Michael’s feast.
And because it isn’t an official season, your parish probably isn’t saying the Stations of the Cross on Friday nights, but you could still pray them yourself. It might be a good idea to spend some time before the feast of the Assumption gathering other prayers to St. Michael and prayers that help you meditate on Jesus's Passion, like the Litany to the Precious Blood. If you follow Friends of St. Michael on Twitter or Instagram, or just check in, you’re sure to find prayers that will help you get started.
By the feast of St. Michael, I’m sure you’ll find that adding another period of fasting and prayer strengths your life and the life of the Church.