Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Archangels

St Michael, St Raphael and St Gabriel

Today is the feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Michael - the angel of judgment - is known as the champion in the fight against Satan and the other devils as well as the guardian of the faithful especially at the time of death. Frequently he is portrayed crushing the devil’s head with a lance. 
Gabriel - the angel of mercy - is the messenger from God in St Luke’s gospel who foretold the birth of John the Baptist, “Be not afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.” Six months later it was Gabriel who appeared to Mary at the Annunciation saying, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” Raphael  -  whose name means “God has healed” was sent by God to heal Tobias of his blindness and to deliver Sara from the devil in the book of Tobit.
We tend to underestimate the presence of Angels in our lives. However they are gaining popularity as we see many angel pins on people’s jackets, posters and paintings of various angels are showing up at card stores. And of course at Christmas, there are the angels on ornaments and hanging on nativity scenes. We sing about the angels in several of the Christmas hymns. Angels were also present at Jesus’ tomb when the women went to anoint his body and found the tomb empty. But we are reluctant to accept their actual existence. This is certainly a departure from our childhood when we prayed to our guardian angel at least daily. As children we believed that there was truly one angel whose job was to look after us, who would always hover around us ready to protect us from all evil and to communicate our desires and needs to God. The feast of the Guardian Angels in fact is in 3 days, October 2.

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