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What did St. Michael say to Lucifer?

Serviam is a powerful prayer for Catholics. But where did this motto come from?

Serviam is a quick and easy motto that every Catholic can embrace.

The use of this motto was inspired by the story of St. Michael the Archangel and his battle against the fallen angels. As Scripture tells us:

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon…
—Revelation 12:7

It is traditionally believed that Satan said to God, “Non serviam!” which means, “I will not serve!” Satan wanted to be God—not serve God.

When St. Michael witnessed this, he was filled with righteous indignation on behalf of His Creator, and is believed to have cried out: “Who is like God?!” Hence his Hebrew name, Mikhaʾel, which means Who is like God? It’s a rhetorical cry—one that means, “No one is like God!”

St. Michael

Satan rebelled and lost his place in heaven, but Michael chose to serve God, and is now Prince of the Heavenly Hosts. In imitation of the Archangel’s faithful service to God, we can say “Serviam!” when we are tempted, or discouraged, or overwhelmed. “Serviam, Lord!”

Saying Serviam! is a fast and effective way to remember the One we serve. It also reorients us to follow God’s will, especially in moments of temptation, just as St. Michael the Archangel did.

Several morning offering prayers include the motto Serviam, asking God to help us love and serve Him faithfully throughout our day.

A great way to remind yourself of the Serviam motto—and to remind yourself to ask for St. Michael’s intercession in your everyday spiritual battle—is keeping a St. Michael statue in your own home. The Catholic Company sells several St. Michael statues. Find one that is perfect for your living room, office space, or bedroom here.

You can also ask for St. Michael’s intercession through the prayer below:

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 Hosts,
By the power of God,
Cast into Hell Satan, and all the evil spirits,
Who prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

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