Skip to main content

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.


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online) -- The whole of salvation history is the story of God reaching out to his people but for one purpose: the reception of divine love. As we read in the Rite of Baptism of Children, "The God of power and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin and brought you to new life through water and the Holy Spirit" (62). That new, everlasting life is life in Christ, the light of men (Jn 1:4), who came to give life in abundance (Jn 10:10). 

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." He is one of seven angels "who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord" (Tob 12:15). The meaning of Raphael's name reflects the fact that he touched Tobit's eyes and brought sight from blindness.

More On The Angels

"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" (CCC, 330; Dan 10:9-12).

God created the angels, like man, with an intellect and will, yet these shared attributes cannot be exactly compared, for they differ greatly in strength and power. For instance, we might draw a comparison of the intellect and will of a child with those of an adult: the former is not nearly as strong as the latter. So it is with man and the angels.

The angels' intellect, one of vast and far-reaching intelligence, is far superior to man's. Unlike man, whose intellect is but dim and fragmented in comparison, the angels have no need to labor for years on end, plowing through dozens or hundreds of books in order to gain merely a partial understanding of a handful of soon-forgotten subjects. They do not struggle over a lifetime, gathering and storing perceptions and insights into meaningful wholes which we call knowledge. On the contrary, God infused the angels' intellect, one of exacting precision and penetrating vision, with angelic knowledge at the very moment of their creation. Consequently, the angels have no need to engage in a process of learning, but rather they simply know. They know about humanity, science, music, culture and the arts; they know about not only the world but the farthest reaches of the universe as well.

As for their will, the good angels do not struggle with doubt, fickleness, and the tendency to fall into sin. They are not weakly moved one moment to accomplish a task which is easily abandoned the next. On the contrary, an angel's will is an unwavering and immovable force, unceasingly directed toward the Ultimate Good, powerfully focused upon the divine Other who is Life Itself: God. For that reason, it is of great advantage to implore our guardian angels' aid through intercessory prayer. If we ask our angel to pray for our entrance into everlasting life, he will not cease doing so; he will not give up on us; he will not one day ambivalently wonder if we are worth the effort.

Cultivate a Relationship of Love With Your Guardian Angel

The angels belong to Christ, they are his, created through him and for him, who "belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: 'Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?'" (CCC 331).

"Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself" (CCC 332).

"In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels" (CCC 334).

In the present, due to our darkened intellect and limited vision, we cannot entirely understand nor see the full extent of our angel guardians' help. However, we can be sure their expert, dedicated assistance has been given on numerous occasions. How often have they intervened, saving us from injury or death? How often do they come to our aid in time of terrifying peril and desperate need?

What we do know by the light of faith, is that these glorious, powerful and unfailingly trustworthy spiritual friends of ours, united as we are in Christ, share a profoundly intimate bond of love with us -- one which cannot be broken, since we this moment share in God's own supernatural life. They as spirit; we as body and spirit. Yet we both nevertheless stand as brethren, sustained in the love of God, living in and through and with Christ, whose common purpose is but one: to love and serve God. In our case, we often find this most honorable and fulfilling calling, one which is defined by and founded on true love and freedom, difficult as we struggle along as pilgrims who have not yet reached our final end. Our guardian angels, however, have attained the goal of the Beatific Vision and see God face-to-face. Consequently, they are not plagued by weakness, fear, uncertainty and temptation, but rather are overflowing with the strength of God's glory.

Charged by God to supply our aid, the 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. This precious aid is as close and available as our relationship with our guardian angels -- all we need do is ask for it. This moment they say to us: "Do not be afraid!" Let us love our angels, for they most certainly love us.

-----

F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at www.joyintruth.com

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.

Keywords: Archangels, michael, gabriel, raphael, guardian angels, who are the angels, Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, God's salvation, salvation, divine love, F. K. Bartels



NEWSLETTERS »

E-mail:       Zip Code: (ex. 90001)
Today's Headlines

Sign up for a roundup of the day's top stories. 5 days / week. See Sample

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

1 - 9 of 9 Comments

  1. Rosalie
    1 year ago

    I love that photo of St. Michael. He is so beautiful and powerful.

  2. mother superior
    1 year ago

    Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael-I thank you for defending my faith in God. Continue to watch over my human weaknesses and to say NO to moral evils and satan's disguised designs.

  3. Jane
    1 year ago

    This is a great article. I just started a consecration to my guardian angel with the Opus Angelorum community. It's a two year process with monthly formation letters concerning our guardian angels & angels. I'm only three months in, but it has already been a wonderful journey with my guardian as he is enlightening me more & more with the truth & love of Our Lord. If you are interested in knowing your guardian angel & opening up to his help in knowing & loving God, then I highly recommend looking up this religious order - Opus Angelorum.
    the peace of Christ be with you

  4. jh
    1 year ago

    A very exciting and beautiful article! You convey the passion of God's love and the dynamism, so to speak, of the angels living out that passion by doing His Will. The Catholic faith is so rich and helpful in aiding us to understand ourselves and the whole purpose of our existence. Everything we do only has meaning in our relationship with God.

  5. annonymous
    1 year ago

    F.K. Bartels,
    I am sincerely grateful for the article you have contributed to this site. thank you for helping me on my journey, and THANK YOU for being insightful and informative on this topic. i have wondered and you have helped me. Thank you.
    Reader

  6. Spiritus Gladius
    1 year ago

    Have you ever seen an angel? They are frightening. They can destroy whatever God tells them to. They make a living by fighting evil. They are warriors. Soldiers. Fierce. Many times more powerful than man. That is why they always say, "Be not afraid," because one glimpse of them and you will shutter in fear at their appearance. That is also why it is truly remarkable that Israel was able to defeat one. God's love is powerful indeed. And it is the most misinterpreted facet of this modern world, even in our Church. Love is not tolerant, it is JUST.

  7. J. Bob
    1 year ago

    Excellent article. We remember the Archangels each evening.

  8. abey
    1 year ago

    Archangels GabriEL, MichaEL, RaphaEL are called the Elohim, relating to God as the Sons of God or "EL". The Book of Job mentions the Sons of God gathered unto Him for a meeting--. are the Inheritance of God, where the above mentioned are in heaven, on earth IsraEl is called to an Inheritance. However the Israel is to the Spiritual one in the making, since God is Spirit, the Archangels are all Spiritual beings so will be His inheritance from Earth- Spiritual in the gathering. Where it is known that the Spirit is the basis of the Physical, God brings out his gathering starting from the Physical which is to Abraham & into the Spiritual which is to His Faith, brought through Christ Jesus, to the simple understanding " Where the body leads the Spirit which is to corruptions to death, is turned to the state where the Spirit leads the Body which is to Life- the heavenly state of the Angels of God.

  9. vance
    1 year ago

    A wonderful article. This article gives us a better insight into who and what Angels are. I thank God everyday for my Guardian Angels who have kept me alive and protected for my entire life. After all that has happened to me throughout my life, I know well what t means to have a Guardian Angel. Thanks be to God. Through much prayer, meditation and confession, God may give you the privilege to see who your Guardian Angel is.

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment


Find Saints

Catholic Online offers the largest searchable database of Catholic Saints on the internet.

Browse Saints
by Alphabet
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Patron Saints
by Alphabet
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-9
Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for me to know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my own mother's ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

April 16 Saint of the Day

St. Bernadette
April 16: On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she ... Read More