September 29, 2017
by Larry Gillick, S.J.
Creighton University's Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality 
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Lectionary: 647

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Revelation 12:7-12ab
Psalm 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 4-5
John 1:47-51

Praying Ordinary Time

Pope Francis on this Feast

We know the words, “archconservative, archenemy, archrival, archbishop”.  These all mean that there are other conservatives, enemies, rivals and bishops, but one more equal than the others. We have a wonderfully pastoral Archbishop here in Omaha who I know does not consider himself “Archer” or higher than the other bishops in Nebraska.  The enemy, who for us is “Archer” is probably the one who is at any one time the closest or most threatening.

Today’s Eucharistic liturgy celebrates three archangels, one with whom we are more familiar than the other two.  Gabriel is the only one mentioned in the Gospel.  Luke names this one as the Messenger from God to Mary of Nazareth.  We know about his message and his patience while waiting for Mary’s  response. The other two are a bit hidden in Holy Scripture. I am not sure why these three are recognized as saints, while say, my Guardian Angel, Herman, seems to be some kind of lower-class janitor or Private Security agent.

To learn about Raphael one must read the Book of Tobit in the Hebrew Scriptures.  It is worth the read.  Raphael is the patron saint of several things.  You can pray to this one for safe-flights and comfortable accommodations when your flights land you safely. Tobit’s son is accompanied by a someone who cares for him on a long journey. The son does not recognize this companion  as any-kind of angel.   This saint also healed the son by curing him  from blindness.  So he became the patron saint of healing and of accompanying the blind.   

Michael of whom  we hear in the optional Reading for this feast from the Book of Revelation, has a tremendous battle on his home turf, heaven.  He defeats the devil who becomes full of rage as he is thrown down in disgrace upon the earth.  Chapter twelve from whose verses our reading is taken,  has the picture of a woman giving birth to a child and the dragon is waiting to snatch the child away.  There is much symbolism here which is fascinating to study but sorry, not here.  The beginning of a prayer at the foot of the altar at the end of the celebration of the Latin Mass in our younger days was, “Archangel   Michael, defend us in battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness of the devil”. He was the champion,  defender, protector and all those closing prayers were for the conversion of and protection against Russia.

Gabriel was the Messenger from God bringing to Mary the verbal “bless-o-gram” that she was to be the Mother of Jesus Who would be great. I would not doubt that he is now-a-days the patron of E-mail , E standing for “Evangelium” or Good News.

These three celestial figures do represent the history of God’s ever-coming close. Michael begins the tension between good and bad, which we know as the battle within us all. Raphiel is God’s walking us through our blindness, blinded by our own weaknesses. Gabriel announces the Good News of Great Joy that God, in Jesus has joined our battle with ourselves. God has taken our fleshly blindness so that we see more clearly who we are in God’s loving vision, even when we lose one battle or other with the bad.

It is our belief that angels continue ascending and descending battling, guiding, healing and offering messages and invitations even to us on our battle fields.

St. Michael defend us in our personal wars within. We pray through you to the Prince of Peace for the conversion of our divided selves, families, nations and world.

St. Raphael. We pray through you to the Light of the World that we may see and receive all the sacramental gestures of the Creating God.

St. Gabriel, we pray through your messanging service to assist us in responding to all the invitations to go into our futures with your words of encouragement, that we are not to be afraid of ourselves nor of the Sender.

We might pray for a freedom to be available to be guided, unblended and invited as we pray with the angels of our lives.  St. Michael is still winning.  St. Raphiel is still journeying.  St. Gabriel is still announcing Christ’s being born in the empty-womb of humanity!

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook