The angels in their glorious celestial array are the servants and messengers of God, the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (Ps 103:20, CCC 329). The spirits surround the throne of God and fill the heavenly courts with their unending song of praise. Sent forth, they carry out their missions of protecting, guiding, and strengthening His people.
Of all the myriads of angels in the service of the Lord, Scripture gives us the names of only three: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Each of these Archangels has a certain privileged place in ministering to the Church, and to each we can attribute a characteristic especially needed in our world today.
St. Michael: Peace
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people … [and] your people will be delivered.” (Dan 12:1)
There is no need to number this year’s terrors and tragedies. Our hearts are torn between bitter sorrow for those who suffer and righteous anger against the offenders. But the terrorists and criminals are not our true enemies, for our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities and powers, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
As God commissioned Michael to cast down the rebel angels, so too he can be sent to restore order wherever pride and hatred have threatened justice and truth. Let us beg the Lord to send his champion St. Michael to bring about peace in our world and to help us fight the good fight of the faith.
St. Gabriel: Hope
“I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.” (Lk 1:19)
Although Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel in the Old Testament, his greatest mission was to announce to the Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God. It was he who had the singular delight to kneel before the chosen vessel of the savior and to exclaim, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” He is the herald preceding the hope of the nations.
Fear and doubt can only be conquered by an ardent love of God, the radiance of a steadfast hope. Life’s various trials may test us, but the grace of God helps us to triumph. By the intercession of St. Gabriel, may a reliant hope and abundant faith give us all strength, courage, and joy in the Lord.
St. Raphael: Holiness
“It is good to guard the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God. Do good, and evil will not overtake you.” (Tob 12:7)
In the Book of Tobit, the archangel Raphael neither appears in glory nor ministers to the noble. He is, rather, the answer to the prayers of two humble families. Raphael, under the guise of a relative, accompanies the young Tobias on a journey which results in many unexpected blessings, not least of which were his marriage to Sarah and the healing of his father’s blindness.
God does not hesitate to enter the nitty-gritty parts of our lives in order to make us holy in every moment. May St. Raphael come to our aid and guide us on our journey to heaven. We invoke his patronage in a particular way in these times for marriages, families, and children.
Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, pray for us.