SAINTS MICHAEL, GABRIEL and RAPHAEL, Archangels
Today, the universal Church celebrates the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, three of the seven Archangels who stand before the Throne of God.
Angels, as messengers from God, appear frequently in Sacred Scripture, but only Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are identified with names.
Saint Michael appears in Daniel’s vision as “the great prince” who defends Israel against its enemies; in the Book of Revelation, he leads God’s armies to final victory over the forces of evil. Devotion to Saint Michael is the oldest angelic devotion, having been instituted in the East in the fourth century. The Church in the West began to observe a feast honoring Michael and the angels in the fifth century. He is the patron saint of those suffering from temptations, those praying for a holy death, soldiers, police officers, security guards and the countries of England and Germany.
Saint Gabriel also makes an appearance in Daniel’s visions, announcing Saint Michael’s role in God’s plan. His best-known appearance is an encounter with a young Jewish girl named Mary, our Blessed Mother, who consents to God’s invitation to bear His Eternal Son, giving flesh within her womb to the prophesied Messiah. He is the patron saint of newscasters, messengers, clergy, telephone and television workers and the country of Portugal.
Saint Raphael’s activity is confined to the Old Testament story of Tobit. There he appears to guide Tobit’s son, Tobiah, through a series of fantastic adventures which lead to a threefold happy ending – Tobiah’s marriage to Sarah, the healing of Tobit’s blindness and the restoration of the family fortune.
Saint Raphael is also traditionally identified as the angel in John 5:1-7 who descended upon a pool of water and bestowed healing powers in the waters, so that the first to enter it after “the water is stirred up” would be healed from whatever infirmity he or she was suffering. He is the patron saint of those suffering from bodily illnesses and diseases, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, travelers and Guardian Angels.
Please see more on the role of the holy angels in our daily lives in today’s “Meditation for the Day”.
We commemorate their joint Feastday on September 29.
(From saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael)
“God our Father, in a wonderful way You guide the work of angels and men. May those who serve You constantly in Heaven keep our lives safe from all harm on Earth.
“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”