Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael the Archangels, September 15
In the Continuing Spiritual Battle Which Exists in God’s Creation, It Is God’s Angelic Messengers Who Will Always Be at Our Side in Our Daily Struggles, in Our Daily Encounters with the Evils in This World.
“…you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” – a proclamation Jesus makes in today’s Gospel to Nathaniel, also known as Bartholomew, one of the original Twelve Apostles.
What are angels and what is their role in our personal salvation? The Catechism teaches us that angels are servants and messengers of God. And Jesus tells us in Matthew’s Gospel that they “…always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Angels are spiritual creatures with intelligence and will; they are both personal and immortal, surpassing in perfection God’s visible creation – man.
And each one of us, as a child of God, from the moment of our conception to that final moment when we take our last breath, is surrounded by their watchful care and prayerful intercession. God, out of His unfathomable Love which He holds for each one of us, His children, sends His spiritual messengers to watch over us and to protect us from the evil which exists in this world.
Today, we celebrate, in a special way, the Feast of the three known Archangels – Michael, Gabriel and Raphael – for they are the only ones named in Sacred Scripture, and all three have important roles in the history of salvation.
Saint Michael is known as the “Prince of the Heavenly Host”, “the great prince” of all the angels. His name in Hebrew means “Who is like God?”, and was the battle cry of the good angels against Lucifer and his followers when they rebelled against God. He is mentioned five times in the Bible, thrice in the Book of the Prophet Daniel, once in the Letter of Saint Jude, and once in the Book of Revelation.
Michael, whose forces had cast out Lucifer and the other fallen angels from Heaven, is invoked for protection against Satan and all evil. Pope Leo XIII, in 1886, after having had a prophetic vision of the evil that would be inflicted upon the Church and the world in the 20th century, instituted a prayer asking for Saint Michael’s protection to be said at the end of every Mass.
Christian tradition recognizes four offices of Saint Michael: the first is to fight against Satan; second, to rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death; third, to be the champion of God’s people; and lastly, to call away from Earth the souls of God’s children for judgment.
From the Gospel of Saint Luke, we read, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God.”
Saint Gabriel, whose name means “God’s strength”, is mentioned five times in the Bible: thrice in the Book of the Prophet Daniel and, most significantly, twice in Luke’s Gospel – first, to announce the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah; and, secondly, at the announcement to Mary, and the response of her fiat resulting in the Incarnation of the Eternal Word in her womb through the power of the Holy Spirit.
It was Mary’s response to the Archangel Gabriel, it was her willing acceptance of God’s will in her life, which became the gateway through which God’s salvation was given to all mankind.
Christian tradition suggests that it is also Gabriel who appeared to Saint Joseph and to the shepherds, and also that it was he who “strengthened” Jesus during His Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Finally, in the deutero-canonical Book of Tobit, we read, “I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.” Saint Raphael, whose name means “God has healed”, restores to health Tobit’s blindness. And Tobit is the only Book in Sacred Scripture in which the Archangel is mentioned. His office is generally accepted by tradition to be that of healing and acts of mercy.
Today’s liturgies of the Holy Mass and the Divine Office and the stories and traditions of the Archangels challenge us to see God’s Love in action, as He reaches out to a fallen mankind throughout human history through His spiritual messengers – all emissaries, all ambassadors of God’s Merciful Love.
In the continuing spiritual battle which exists in God’s creation, in the ongoing struggle of good versus evil, we are blessed with the sure knowledge and the certain hope that our victory is guaranteed – that Divine Love and Mercy will ultimately prevail over godlessness, evil and misery, and that eternal life and everlasting happiness will ultimately prevail for God’s faithful over death, and that never-ending suffering and torment sadly awaits those who willingly choose a life of grave sin and faithlessness.
And it is God’s angelic messengers who will always be at our side in our daily struggles, in our daily encounters with the evils in this world!
May the words of today’s psalmist echo the feelings which fill our entire being with joy, “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart…in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “And [Jesus] said to him, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’” (John 1:51)
- “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 18:10)
- “At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people.” (Daniel 12:1)
- “Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.” (Revelation 12:7-9)
- “Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him but said, ‘May the Lord rebuke you!’” (Jude 1:9)
- “And the angel said to him in reply, ‘I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.’” (Luke 1:19)
- “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:26-28)
- “Raphael said to Tobiah before he came near to his father: ‘I know that his eyes will be opened. Apply the fish gall to his eyes, and the medicine will make the white scales shrink and peel off from his eyes; then your father will have sight again and will see the light of day.’” (Tobit 11:7-8)
- “Raphael called [Tobit and Tobiah] aside privately and said to them: ‘…Now when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and likewise whenever you used to bury the dead…I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.’” (Tobit 12:6a, 12, 14-15)
- “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel.” (Revelation 8:3-4)
- “I thank you, Lord, with all my heart; in the presence of the angels to you I sing. I bow low toward your holy temple; I praise your name for your mercy and faithfulness.” (Psalm 138:1-2b)
Prayer for the Day
“Saint 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 you, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”Anonymous (The original prayer to Saint Michael was created by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. This abbreviated version of the original prayer was re-written in 1934.)