Michael, Gabriel, & Raphael
A soldier, a messenger, and a doctor. Today we get to know our three archangels and the power of each of their intercession.
“The whole air about us is filled with angels.” - St. John Chrysostom
What a beautiful image. Think about it – we are surrounded by angels 24/7, all of which desire to protect, pray for, and lead you to salvation. How lucky are we? This quote leads me to another great one by Saint Josemaria Escriva,
“If you remembered the presence of your angel and the angels of your neighbors, you would avoid many of the foolish things which slip into your conversations.”
So, who are the angels? Or better yet – what are they? Simply put: angels are spirits. They have the gifts of intelligence and will, and use these gifts to act as messengers of God, leading us to salvation. Since ancient times we have come to learn that the angels are organized into some kind of Heavenly Court, in which they have different ranks and graces. The Archangels sit at the top of the hierarchy, each with a different mission. The Catholic Church recognizes three archangels by name, each granted the title of Saint: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
Our protector against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Saint Michael is the patron saint of soldiers, police, and doctors. Why? Because he fights for and takes care of us.
Saint Michael is called upon for strength and courage, as well as protection. He is the defender of all that is good, often appearing with a sword in hand. His battles include those of mind, body, and spirit, including (but not limited to) the healing of a loved one, drug addiction, physical injury, returning those who are lost to the faith, and depression.
Saint Michael also leads the battle against Satan. We know this from scripture, specifically the book of Revelations,
“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelations 12:7-9)
The fight against Satan has already and continues to take place. However, we need only to fight alongside Saint Michael, knowing that we are guaranteed victory because we have already seen the outcome. He is the champion and greatest defender of Christians and the Church.
Aside from his constant battle, Saint Michael has also been blessed with the gift of bringing the faithful to Heaven when they die. He will fight for our time on Earth, and also lead us from it when it is finished.
Now, more than ever, our church, our faith, and our leaders are under attack. I encourage you to call on Saint Michael to protect these things, asking him to fight the good fight on your behalf.
If Saint Michael is a solider, we can think of Saint Gabriel as a mailman. Now this should in no way down play the importance of Saint Gabriel in your mind: all of his messages hold Heavenly weight.
We read of three messages shared by Saint Gabriel in scripture. The first takes place in the Old Testament. In the eighth chapter of Daniel, the prophet has a dream which he struggles to interpret. Dreams were (and still can be) interpreted as messages from God. Gabriel came in disguise to explain the vision, sharing a sort of timeline to when Jesus would come. The second appearance takes place in the New Testament in the book of Luke. Gabriel reveals to Elizabeth that she is to have a son, despite her old age. Her husband Zacharaiah cannot bring himself to believe this, so Gabriel takes away his ability to speak. The third and most famous of the messages is Saint Gabriel’s appearance to our Blessed Mother, otherwise known as The Annunciation. Gabriel tells Mary that she too will bear a son, and he will be the Son of God and savior of the world. It is from this interaction that we have Saint Gabriel to thank for the classic line of the Hail Mary prayer, “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed are thou amongst women.” (Luke 1:28)
Saint Gabriel had a special connection with the Holy Family. It is speculated that he is the one who appeared in Joseph’s dream, urging him to stay with Mary and raise Jesus with her instead of running away. Others believe that he was also the angel that appeared to Jesus during the Agony in the Garden.
Speculation aside, he is recognized as the patron saint of messengers, telecommunication workers, and postal workers.
Last, but not least, Saint Raphael – our divine doctor.
Raphael is only mentioned once by name in scripture in the book of Tobit. In a nutshell, the story of Tobit tells us that Tobit and Sarah were both praying for death as deliverance from their suffering: Tobit was blind and Sarah suffered from torment (demons). Tobit sends his son Tobiah on a journey to a foregin country to retrieve money from a family member, instructing him to take along a worthy companion. Raphael disguises himself as an Israelite and joins Tobiah, curing Tobit of his blindness and driving the demon out of Sarah along the way. Raphael then reveals himself, saying,
“Do not fear; peace be with you! Bless God now and forever. As for me, when I was with you, I was not acting out of any favor on my part, but by God’s will. So bless God every day; give praise with song.” (Tobit 12:17-18)
Today we call upon Saint Raphael for bodily healing. He has been at work for centuries, delivering miraculous healing to those who place their trust in the Lord. We know him as the patron saint of nurses, physicians, medical workers, the blind, those suffering from bodily illnesses, and travelers.