“You should be aware that the word "angel" denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.”
From a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great.
Today, September 29, we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael. The liturgy celebrates the feast of these three archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, "Hail, full of grace," is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.
“The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.
Saint Augustine says: ‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit;’ from what they do, ‘angel.’ With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they ‘always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven’ they are the ‘might ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.”
As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.”
Angels are the servants and messengers of God -- in fact, this is what the word "angel" means. Several different kinds (or ranks) of angels are mentioned in the Bible: angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, choirs, dominions, principalities, and powers.
The feast of Saint Michael, one of the seven archangels of Scripture, originated in the sixth century. More recently, two other of the archangels named in scripture, Gabriel and Raphael, are also honored on this day.
Saint Michael the archangel, whose name in Hebrew means "Who is like God?,” is revered as the leader of the angelic army who will conquer Satan and his armies of demons, and is considered the defender of the Church. Michael is more often represented in art than any other angelic being. He is often shown wearing armor, in the act of slaying the great Dragon of the Apocalypse [Satan] in Revelation 12:7-9.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world -- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
Pope John Paul II recommended that the “Saint Michael Prayer” be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said: ‘”May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”‘
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 host, by the divine power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl around the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Archangel Gabriel, whose name in Hebrew means "Strength of God,” appears throughout the Bible. He first fulfils his role as messenger of the Lord in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament, announcing to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. Gabriel was the angel who appeared to Zachariah to announce the birth of Saint John the Baptist. Finally, he announced to Our Blessed Mother that she would bear a Son Who would be conceived of the Holy Spirit, Son of the Most High, and Savior of the world. His address to her, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (the "angelic salutation") is familiar to all who say the Rosary.
Blessed Saint Gabriel, Archangel
We beseech thee to intercede for us at the throne of divine mercy:
As thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation,
so through thy prayers may we receive strength of faith and
courage of spirit, and thus find favor with God and redemption through Christ Our Lord.
May we sing the praise of God our Savior with the angels and saints in heaven
forever and ever. Amen.
Archangel Raphael, whose name means “Medicine of God,” is mentioned by name in the Old Testament book of Tobit (Tobias), whom the angel aided by healing him of blindness and guiding him on his travels. Saint Raphael is one of the seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord in Heaven. He was sent by God to help Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah. At the time, Tobit was blind and Tobiah’s betrothed, Sarah, had had seven bridegrooms perish on the night of their weddings. Raphael accompanied Tobiah into Media disguised as a man named Azariah. Raphael helped him through his difficulties and taught him how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. Tobiah said that Raphael caused him to have his wife and that he gave joy to Sarah’s parents for driving out the evil spirit in her. He also gave Raphael credit for his father’s seeing the light of heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession
Blessed Saint Raphael, Archangel,
We beseech thee to help us in all our needs and trials of this life,
as thou, through the power of God, didst restore sight and give guidance to young Tobit.
We humbly seek thine aid and intercession,
that our souls may be healed,
our bodies protected from all ills,
and that through divine grace we may be made fit
to dwell in the eternal Glory of God in heaven. Amen.
... the Feast of the three Archangels who are mentioned by name in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. This reminds us that in the ancient Church - already in the Book of Revelation - Bishops were described as "angels" of their Church, thereby expressing a close connection between the Bishop's ministry and the Angel's mission. From the Angel's task it is possible to understand the Bishop's service. But what is an Angel? Sacred Scripture and the Church's tradition enable us to discern two aspects. On the one hand, the Angel is a creature who stands before God, oriented to God with his whole being. All three names of the Archangels end with the word "El", which means "God". God is inscribed in their names, in their nature. Their true nature is existing in his sight and for him. In this very way the second aspect that characterizes Angels is also explained: they are God's messengers. They bring God to men, they open heaven and thus open earth. Precisely because they are with God, they can also be very close to man. Indeed, God is closer to each one of us than we ourselves are. The Angels speak to man of what constitutes his true being, of what in his life is so often concealed and buried. They bring him back to himself, touching him on God's behalf. In this sense, we human beings must also always return to being angels to one another - angels who turn people away from erroneous ways and direct them always, ever anew, to God. If the ancient Church called Bishops "Angels" of their Church, she meant precisely this: Bishops themselves must be men of God, they must live oriented to God. "Multum orat pro populo."
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 and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Day 272 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Guidance and protection of the Lord; Assistance in times of difficulty from His army of angels.
Requested Intentions: Successful outcome of court case and employment (L); For guidance and righteous love (K); Restoration of a relationship (H); For successful employment (I); For a daughter’s successful relationship (M); For a relationship sanctified by God (M); For health of father; For canonization of Pope John Paul II (A); For the conversion of a family (L); For the ill (A); For the health of a family (I); For a father’s successful surgery and recovery (G); For those who are ill, and their caretakers (D); For the safety of a sister who is traveling (A); Recovery of mother with cancer (R); Successful acquisition of a visa (T); Restoration of a marriage (A); For employment and health of mother (G); Successful employment (M); Restoration of a family, End to brother's addiction, Successful marriage (R); Employment (I); Successful recovery of a mother; for all stroke victims (D); Successful return to the faith (A); Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."