Today, September 29, is the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels.
Angels are messengers of God, created as pure spirits, they are presented in Scripture as those who communicate God’s desires to those He has chosen to carry out His mission. Some examples in the Scriptures where angels communicated God’s will to His people include: Daniel 8:15-16, Daniel 10, Zechariah 1:12-21, Matthew 28:5-7, Luke 1:11-13, Luke 2:8-11, Acts 8:26, Acts 10:1-5, Acts 11:13, Revelation 1:1, Revelation 14:6-7, Revelation 19:9.
According to Pope St. Gregory the Great, the distinction between angels and archangels is in the importance of the message they give. Regular messages are given by angels, while momentous messages are reserved to archangels.
Of course, the most momentous message anyone ever received from an angel was that given by St. Gabriel to Mary, when he announced that she would be the mother of the messiah:
“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.’ But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.'” (Luke 1:26-31).
St. Michael is mentioned in the Book of Daniel and in the Letter of Jude. Most prominently, though, is his defeat of the dragon in the Book of Revelation:
“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.” (Rev 12:7-8).
St. Raphael appears in the Book of Tobit as the guide to Tobiah, under the guise of a family relative, as he makes his way to Media to retrieve money his father had left there. On the way, he experiences interesting adventures, most especially his marriage to Sarah, a woman afflicted by a demon. Raphael shows Tobit how to defeat the demon and also how to heal Tobias’ blindness:
“Tibiah went out to look for someone who would travel with him to Media, someone who knew the way. He went out and found the angel Raphael standing before him (though he did not know that this was an angel of God). Tobiah said to him, ‘Where do you come from, young man?’ He replied, ‘I am an Israelite, one of your kindred. I have come here to work.’ Tobiah said to him, ‘Do you know the way to Media?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I have been there many times. I know the place well and am acquainted with all the routes.'”
Angels are a witness to the love and care of God for His people. They communicate His will and often carry out actions in defense or in rescue of His people (Acts 12:1-11). An angel delivers the prayers of God’s saints before His altar (Rev. 8:3-4). The angels minister to Jesus during His time of temptation in the desert (Mark 1:13). We are given an angel to guard us in our Christian walk (Matthew 18:10).
We give thanks to God for the gift of angels and rightly praise His care and mercy.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.