Angels are everywhere. Do you notice the angels? Do you know they possess us? Are you in friendship with your Guardian Angel? On the 29th of September we had the feast of the Holy Archangels and on the 2nd of October we have the feast of Guardian Angels. Catholic theology, like that of Jewish theology, teaches the existence and work of angels. Some catechesis on video and some book recommendations:
Watch Mike Aquilina: Angels
Watch Scott Hahn: Angels and Saints
Watch Mark Miravalle: The Nine Choirs of Angels and their relation to Mary the Queen of Angels
In the Matins service this feast the Church prays: “Wherever your grace casts its shadow, O Captain and Archangel Michael, the Devil is driven out, for Lucifer, the fallen morning star, cannot bear to behold your light. We, therefore, beg you to quench the fiery darts he casts against us and deliver us from his temptations.”
All of us —you, me, the angels, the Son of God— have a mission given by God the Father. For a moment, let us consider the heavenly beings, the archangels.
The archangel Raphael bears a name which means God Has Healed; he appears clothed as a traveler. Raphael wears the traveler’s dress throughout the Book of Tobit because he guides young Tobias on his journey and brings God’s deliverance and healing to Tobit and Sarah. His traveler’s staff takes the form of a caduceus, indicating his special care for those engaged in healing ministries; it’s also conveying God’s healing to Tobit of his blindness. Moreover, Raphael is traditionally seen as the protector of travelers and physicians, plus having agency in bringing Tobias and Sarah together and therefore, he is often invoked by those seeking a loving marriage and a godly spouse.
The archangel Gabriel, Strength of God, is the Angel of the Annunciation, who identified himself to Zachary (Lk. 1:19) as one who stand(s) in the presence of God. He stands here closest to the Star and with his feet planted firmly on rock, for his message brings light and joy to all
the earth. In Gabriel’s left hand he holds an icon of the Theotokos of the Sign, indicating the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, the Son of God, and in his right he grips a staff surmounted by a lily, symbol of peace, a role he had of sounding the Last Trumpet (cf. Rev. 8:2-5). Christians consider Gabriel to be the angel of mercy and consolation.
Clad in armor and bearing a shimmering sword, the Archangel Michael, Who Is Like God?, is the champion of justice and angel of righteousness. Michael raises up an image of Man clothed in the white robe of Baptism, while casting into hell Satan (cf. Rev.12:7-9) and the fallen angels who serve him. In several ways Michael is like Gabriel because he is the link between the Old and New Covenants: he is invoked in time of warfare, both physical and spiritual, and to rescue souls from the clutches of the Devil, especially at the moment of death. As Pope Leo XIII reminded the Church, Michael is a powerful heavenly being in the struggle against evil.
May we revere the Archangels all the more by invoking their protection.
The psalm response for today’s Novus Ordo Mass is: “In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.” Indeed, this is our position before the Divine Majesty.
On the Novus Ordo liturgical calendar the St Michael is joined with Gabriel and Raphael. The only angels mentioned by name (though Uriel is sometimes noted as an angel). Recall, an angel is a messenger, sent, and is deputed by God for a particular purpose, hence, there is no generic angel doing vague things.
These days attention is drawn to St Michael due to his fighting the fallen angel and his minions –fighting evil in the world. He is invoked for assistance in doing spiritual battle. The image above is that of the famed church in Normandy, Mont Saint-Michel. Dedicated to the honor of St Michael it was for centuries locus of a Benedictine monastery of monks and today it is home for monastic Community of Jerusalem.
Fr. Dennis Brown writes: Gabriel patronize my intellect; Raphael patronze my will; Michael patronize my heart. Take time to reflect here.
Here is a reflection on Michael the Archangel. Pray for his intercession today (and every day).
As often as anything very mighty is to be done, we see that Michael is sent, that by that very thing, and by his name, we may remember that none is able to do as God doeth. Hence that old enemy whose pride hath puffed him up to be fain to be like unto God, even he who said, I will ascend unto heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will be like the Most High, Isa. xiv. 13, 14, this old enemy, when at the end of the world he is about to perish in the last death, having no strength but his own, is shown unto us a-fighting with Michael the Archangel, even as saith John, Apoc. xii. 7: There was war in heaven Michael and his Angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.
From the Sermons of Pope St. Gregory the Great.
34th on the Gospels.
Last year (Sept. 29, 2014) on the Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael Pope Francis spoke of the archangels. In the western Church we honor three archangels but there others. You know another famous archangel, Lucifer; another relatively unknown is Uriel. Vatican Radio reported the following:
The angels battle Satan for the destiny of mankind and win. They defend and custody the greatest mystery of the Church, God-made-Man. Even though in Satan often presents “humanistic explanations” for his attacks on mankind. This was the focus of Pope Francis homily at Mass Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta, marking the Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Today’s readings present us with very strong images:
the vision of the glory of God described by the prophet Daniel with the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, before the Father: the archangel Michael and his angels fighting against “the great dragon, the ancient serpent, he who is called the devil” and “seduces all of inhabited earth,” but who is defeated, as affirmed by the Book of Revelation; and the Gospel in which Jesus says to Nathanael: “You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man”. Pope Francis speaks of “the struggle between God and the devil.”
“This struggle takes place after Satan seeks to destroy the woman about to give birth to a child. Satan always tries to destroy man: the man that Daniel saw there, in glory, and whom Jesus told Nathanael would come in glory. From the very beginning, the Bible speaks to us of this: Satan’s [use of ] seduction to destroy. Maybe out of envy. We read in Psalm 8: ‘Thou hast made man superior to the angels,’ and that angel of great intelligence could not bear this humiliation, that a lower creature was made superior to him; thus he tried to destroy it.”
Satan, therefore, seeks to destroy humanity, all of us:
“So many projects, except for one’s own sins, but many, many projects for mankind’s dehumanization are his work, simply because he hates mankind. He is astute: the first page of Genesis tells us so, he is astute. He presents things as if they were a good thing. But his intention is destruction. And the angels defend us. They defend mankind and they defend the God-Man, the superior Man, Jesus Christ who is the perfection of humanity, the most perfect. This is why the Church honours the Angels, because they are the ones who will be in the glory of God – they are in the glory of God – because they defend the great hidden mystery of God, namely, that the Word was made flesh.”
“The task of the people of God – the Pope said – is to safeguard man: the man Jesus” because “He is the man who gives life to all men”. Instead, in his plans for destruction, Satan has invented “humanistic explanations that go against man, against humanity and against God.”
“This struggle is a daily reality in Christian life, in our hearts, in our lives, in our families, in our people, in our churches … If we do not struggle, we will be defeated. But the Lord has given this task mainly to the angels: to do battle and win. And the final song of Revelation , after this battle, is so beautiful: Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night.”
Pope Francis concluded urging those present to pray to the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and “recite the ancient but beautiful prayer to the archangel Michael, so he may continue to do battle and defend the greatest mystery of mankind: that the Word was made Man, died and rose again. This is our treasure. That he may battle on to safeguard it.”