29 Sep – Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
St. Michael the Archangel is the leader of the army of God during the Lucifer uprising. Devotion is common to Muslims, Christians, and Jews with writings about him in all three cultures. He is considered the guardian angel of Israel.
The feast of the Apparition of St. Michael (May 8) commemorates the sixth century appearance of the archangel on Mt. Gargano near Manfredonia in southern Italy. Michael requested a church built in his honour at the site. If you find medals or holy cars with “relics” of Michael, they are probably rock chips from the cave, or pieces of cloth that have touched it.
St. Raphael, also known as Azariah, is one of the three angels mentioned by name in Scripture, and one of the seven that stand before God’s throne. He is the lead character in the deuterocanonical book of Tobit in which he travelled with (and guarded) Tobias, and cured a man’s blindness; hence his connection with travellers, young people, blindness, healing and healers. He is traditionally considered the force behind the healing power of the sheep pool mentioned in John 5:1-4.
St. Gabriel is a messenger of God who appeared to the prophet Daniel to explain the prophet’s visions relating to the Messiah (Daniel 8:16-26, 9:21). He also appeared to Zecharias in the temple to announce the coming of Zecharias’ son, John the Baptist, and to strike him mute for his disbelief (Luke 1:11-20). The angel also appeared to Mary to let her know she’d been selected to bear the Saviour (Luke 1:25-38).
“You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels, and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.
And so it was not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages… So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He 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.
– from a homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great
– Source: Patron Saint Index
Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.
And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit’. ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel’. Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. so You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending’.
Angels serve as God’s messengers as read in the various books in the Bible, such as Apocalypse, Tobit and Luke. From here we can infer that angels are a function; they are called angels when they deliver a message. Archangels deliver messages of supreme importance.
Even the names of the archangels – Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy”. Each of them had an important role to play as stated in the various books. These are spirits that God sends to assist us in the crucial periods in our lives.
Our duty now is to be God’s messenger to our friends and the loved ones; we are “made in the image and likeness of God” to bring forth God’s strength and healing to a broken world. It is akin to a combo of all the roles of the angels. This is not a difficult task but our duty for if we do not embark on this role, who will bring God to the lives of others?
Whenever we feel exhausted and weary after a hard day’s work or in carrying our Christian duty, may the prayer below serve to calm our frayed nerves and bring us to an inner peace.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nick Chia)
Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my sight, to light and guard, to rule and guide.
Give thanks for: the many people that have brought God’s love to my life.
Sun, 30 Sep – Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31; Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.