Feast of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael–Archangels

Today we celebrate the Archangels, Michael, Garbriel, and Raphael.  It’s a little hard to come up with something to say about these three saints who are angels, not human beings.  Yesterday we remembered Saint Wenceslaus.  He was an actual person with a birth date, a death date, and a life story.  We know from the song that he was a “good king”.  He looked out his window, saw a poor man, and helped him out.

We know these three archangels more from what they did, than who they are.  We know from the book of Revelations, that Michael and his angels ran the devil and his angels out of heaven.  It’s interesting that Michael is the warrior and his name means “who is like God?”  We like to think our God is a loving, forgiving God, but if Michael is like God, then maybe we’d better not mess with God too much.

Of course, we know Gabriel as a messenger.  Gabriel appeared to Daniel more than once.  He appeared to Zechariah to foretell him of the birth of John the Baptist, and in his most important trip to earth, he spoke to the Virgin Mary and told her that she would bear a son.

We don’t know much about Raphael.  We know that he was sent by God to cure Tobias’ blindness and to save Tobias’ daughter-in-law from the devil.  Some Bible scholars believe that Raphael appeared a few other times, referred to as “an angel of the Lord.”

According to the books of Tobit and Revelations, there are seven “angels who stand before the Lord”, or archangels.  But, the three we remember today are the only ones who are ever named.

Angels are a mysterious lot.  Since they’re pure spirit, it’s hard for us to picture them.  I suppose a lot of people picture Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and think that’s what angels are like.  Others see them as cherubs who sit on clouds and play the harp.  At mass we join “all the choirs of angels in heaven” when we pray the Holy, Holy, Holy,

Sometimes we describe other humans as “angels”, especially pretty women and babies.  “She has the face of an angel.”  or “she looks like an angel.”  “That baby is such a little angel.”  We may call someone who helps us when we’re in need as “an angel of mercy.”  One thing we know for sure, anytime someone calls us an angel, it’s not a bad thing.

We all have guardian angels, whether we pay much attention to them or not.  I don’t know exactly how that works, but we can always fall back on Clarence as a good example.  He was definitely there when George Bailey needed him.  One thing, the idea that a bell has to ring for an angel to get his or her wings probably isn’t true.

So, as we reflect on Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, it wouldn’t heart to say a little prayer of thanks for all the angels, seen and unseen, who have helped us, and will help us make our lives wonderful lives.

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