John 1: 47-51 Lovers of God and Man
Recently, I was reading a book from one outstanding Catholic author who states, “We can be bad or good. Nothing else in the universe has that choice.” I thought he was right, until today. Angels can be very good or very bad. They made their choices long ago and stick with it for all eternity. Today, we celebrate the feasts of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. All three are archangels. All three are creatures of God. All three are at the Almighty’s service. What they do, we are called to do. What they accomplished, we are called to accomplish.
St. Michael (Who is like God)
“War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it (Rv. 12-7-9). The Holy Spirit informs us that there will never be peace until the enemy is destroyed. War is necessary for peace. Appeasing an aggressor will only lead to a greater and wider war. St. Michael was there from the very beginning. He was the one who saw the first deserters, the first dissenters; among his own, among the Kingdom’s finest. There can be no rebellion in Heaven because there can be no discord, no division in love. All must love. All must serve. All must bend, including God. This war, fought against God, is unique. The enemies already knew the outcome. They would fall. They would fail. And they did not care. What is done in Heaven is reflected on earth. How often do we read in the newspapers of a lone gunman who kills and maims, and then ends up destroying himself? He is perfectly aware that he will not succeed; he will not escape; he will not survive. And yet, he does it anyways. Evil has no logic. It is the antithesis of logic, of life and of love. “St. Michael, defend us in battle be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.”
St. Gabriel (Strength of God)
“The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit.” St. Gabriel is the messenger of the Almighty’s truths, of his promises and of his plans. He is the gentle angel that reveals the mysteries of salvation to the Virgin daughter and Mother of God. How gentle his voice, how powerful his message; how radiant is his presence on earth. He is a beloved servant of the Lord, entrusted with God’s message and dependable to all his plans. His first words are, “Send me!” whenever the Lord wishes to touch the earth with his presence. He would have been the first to go, if it weren’t for the insistence of the Son. He is in love with the earth and all its creatures. He loves us and wishes he could be one of us. But for now, his messages and inspirations are a help to us. “Angel of humanity, messenger of God, open our ears for the quiet warnings and calls of the most loving Heart of Jesus! Always be in front of our eyes, we beg you, that we understand the Word of God correctly, that we follow, obey and fulfill that which God wants of us! Amen.”
St. Raphael (Medicine of God)
We know very little of St. Raphael, but we do know he was sent by God to help Tobit along his journey. He healed the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels. He moved the waters of the healing pool so that the blind man could recover his sight. St. Raphael is the bearer of God’s compassion and mercy. He is the Lord’s medic: the mud that cures the blind, the stretcher that carries the paralytic; the oil that heals the Samaritan. Until the Lord came, he was God’s miracle worker. “Angel sent to assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. Grant me the grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
We know how the angels serve God because we know how the Son of God served man. Let us celebrate this day by appreciating all those who fight for us, speak to us and seek to heal us. “In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord!” (Ps. 138:1) We should never feel confused with the roles and duties of the archangels or compare them with the Son of God. Instead, we are reminded today of all God’s creatures, great and small, and how they are in love with us.