The Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels and Powerful Spiritual Allies Sent by Love and for Love
We are reminded on this Feast Day of the wonderful gift of the Archangels, including our guardian angles, whose unfailing assistance is directed toward one end: serving God's loving plan of salvation.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us, "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" (328). Charged by God to supply us aid, our guardian angels are eager to help us as our spiritual allies in the earthly battle. They do not begrudgingly engage in this effort, merely as half-hearted servants, but rather pour themselves into it with the full force of their angelic intellect and will, directing their formidable powers toward our success in attaining the everlasting life of heaven.
God the Father has given us his Son on the cross as the supreme example of sacrificial love; he has gathered us together as his holy people into the Church, the city of truth; and he has poured out his Spirit upon as as the first fruits of glory. That should be enough. Yet it is not enough for God.
"He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways" (Ps 91:11).
Today we celebrate the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels. Sent from the hands of God, these powerful messengers bring promises of love and of hope. When the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary, she was "greatly troubled" by his greeting. The angel Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God" (Lk 1:30).
Gabriel's words are for each and every one of us; they should resonate in the depths of our hearts: "Do not be afraid!" For God has gone to every end in order to communicate his life to us, draw us to himself, protect and nourish us into spiritual maturity, that we may live forever in the embrace of his superabundant, burning love as members of the divine family.
Given the numerous present dangers, the division and strife, the blatant perpetration of intrinsic moral evils which surround us, and the decline of American culture, we can be tempted to fall into despair. Yet there is no need to fear! Now is a time for that boldness, courage and hope that springs forth from God's fiery love. Let us remember: we are not alone. In order to guide and protect us on our often perilous journey, God has given each of us a guardian angel, a spiritual being whose power of intellect and will far exceeds that of any man, for the sake of seeing us to our predestined end of perfect happiness.
The Catechism explains: "From infancy to death human life is surrounded by [the guardian angels'] watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God" (336).
"These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instill confidence;" wrote St. Bernard, "respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection. And so the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need."
Who Are The Archangels?
St. Augustine wrote: "'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.'"
The name Michael means "Who is like God." The Archangel Michael's will is focused, immovable, and entirely driven toward accomplishing goodness; he is the protector of souls, and wields his powerful sword of truth and love against the poisonous and vindictive aspirations of the Father of Lies.
Blessed John Paul II said during a visit to the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, "The battle against the devil . . . is the principal task of Saint Michael the archangel."
Scripture affirms the same: "Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. Although the dragon and his angels fought back, they were overpowered and lost their place in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent known as the devil or Satan, the seducer of the whole world, was driven out; he was hurled down to earth and his minions with him" (Rev 12:7-9).
Gabriel means "God is my strength." He was sent from God to Nazareth, "to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, . . . and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you'" (Lk 1:27-28). Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote: "[Gabriel] came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God's strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle" (excerpt from Hom. 34, 8-9).
Raphael means "God is my health." ...
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