Today is the feast day of the three holy archangels whom we know by name: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. The Church’s recognition of these angels as saints emphasizes their importance to us and their close relationship with us. The love that these magnificent, powerful, and benevolent spirits have for mankind is only surpassed by their love of God. They know and do His will perfectly–and that includes loving and helping His human children!
St. Michael is portrayed as a mighty angelic prince and general. In the Book of Daniel, he is described as the special guardian of God’s people. He is probably best known, however, from his appearance in the Book of Revelation:
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. 12:7-9)
St. Gabriel also appears in the Book of Daniel, to explain visions and give understanding to the prophet. But his most famous appearances are in the first chapter of Luke, first to Zechariah and then to the Virgin Mary, to announce the births of St. John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus, respectively. We repeat St. Gabriel’s salutation to Mary each time we pray, “Hail, Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee.”
St. Raphael appears in only one book, the Book of Tobit, but plays a larger and more intimate role with his human charges. Disguised as a man, he joins the young man, Tobiah, on a seemingly mundane errand. As it happens, however, this journey works miracles and changes lives forever. If you haven’t read the Book of Tobit, I highly, highly recommend it! It’s one of my favorite books in the Bible. Thanks to his role in this book, St. Raphael is known as a companion, a healer, and the Patron Saint of Happy Meetings.
These great angelic Saints are always available to us, to protect us, to give us understanding, and to walk with us through life. We should turn to them often. Feast days like today are a good reminder of that!
ALSO: For more, lots more, on our angelic friends in Heaven, I recommend visiting Happy Catholic–Julie celebrated today’s feast in grand fashion with Joan Wester Anderson, author of Angels and Wonders: True Stories of Heaven on Earth.