THEME: ANGELS OF GOD, COME TO OUR AID
Today, the Catholic Church all over the world celebrates the Feast of the three Archangels: Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. The English word Angel is derived from the Greek Angelos which means Messenger. Angels are incorporeal spiritual beings created by God to serve as his messengers and servants.
Based upon what we know from Scripture from Tobit 12:15; Revelation 1:4,20; 3:1; 8:2,6; and Isaiah 63:9, the Church has determined that there are Seven Archangels. The Archangels have played an important role in the Bible and in other Jewish and Christian literature for many centuries. Some of their names are very well known, while others have been forgotten to history. As of Council of Rome in 745 under the reign of Pope Saint Zachary, the Catholic Church officially only acknowledges the names of three of the seven Archangels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. Although the Church acknowledges that there are seven Archangels according to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, because these three Archangels are the only angels named in Scripture, they are currently the only three who are officially recognized by name in Catholic doctrine. The names of the other four Archangels appear in Jewish and Christian sources outside of the canon of Sacred Scripture (an example is the Book of Enoch chapter 20) and their names are: Uriel, Sealtiel, Barachiel and Jehudiel. We shall limit ourselves to the three: Michael, Raphael and Gabriel
Michael’s name means, “Who is like God?” and he is the ultimate embodiment of the pious general and the Patron of soldiers, police officers, and firefighters. We see God’s general in action in Daniel 10:13, 10:21, and 12:1; Jude 9l and Revelation 12:7.
Gabriel’s name has many meanings: “Strength of God,” “Hero of God,” and “God has shown Himself Mightily”. These variations can be summed up in one definition, “God is My Strength”. Gabriel is God’s holy messenger and traditionally he has been revered as the Archangel of Wisdom, of Revelation, of Prophecy, and of Visions (Daniel 8; Luke 1; Matthew 1 and 2) and that he was the Guardian Angel of Jesus and the Holy Family. In addition, some sources say that right before the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven, Jesus sent Gabriel to His Mother to inform her what was to happen just as He sent Gabriel to her at the Annunciation (St. Maximus the Confessor – THE LIFE OF THE VIRGIN, Ch. 8, Paragraph 103).
Raphael’s name means, “Healing Power of God”. Traditionally, due to the meaning of his name, he is revered as the Archangel of Healing. Raphael in Sacred Scripture played a pivotal role in the healing of Tobit and the restoration of joy to Sarah and the young Tobias.
However, in the end like St. Thomas Aquinas I will like to state that: our knowledge about the angels is imperfect and that the full understanding about their hierarchy and their individual duties remains hidden from us (cf. ST. 1a, q.108 a.3). What is more important is the role they play in relation to human beings: God’s Angels work on God’s behalf to:
• Give us strength
• Bring us good tidings from God
• Rescue us
• Guard us
• Keep us
• Protect us
• Fight our Battles
• In all ways to carry out God’s desires
May the Archangels, Michael Raphael and Gabriel intercede for us now always. Amen!