September 29: The Feast of the Archangels

What a joy to celebrate the feast of three archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael! The word ‘archangel’ means ‘high-ranking angel’—the same way that ‘archbishop’ means a high-ranking bishop for example.

Saint Michael (on the left of this painting), won the battle over Satan when Satan confronted God. His name means ‘Who is like God?’ The implicit answer is that of course nobody is like God, as He is the greatest there is. St. Raphael (in the middle) cured Tobit, the father of Tobias (whose hand he is holding) of his blindness and helped his family in their sufferings and misfortunes. Raphael’s name means ‘God heals,’ and we see him holding in his other hand a jar of the medicinal fish gall to cure old Tobit of his blindness. Tobias himself is holding a fish that he had caught during the journey which would help to rid his future wife of demons. St. Gabriel (on the right, holding a white lily) announced to Mary that she was to be the mother of Jesus. His name means ‘God is my warrior.’ 

G.K. Chesterton wrote: ‘Art is born when the temporary touches the eternal.’ This painting is a very good example of that. These three archangels were three special messengers who were sent to accomplish very specific tasks in very specific ways. We pray to them that they may help us achieve our own very specific task that we are each called to do.

“Let us pray. Heavenly King, you have given us archangels to assist us during our pilgrimage on earth. Saint Michael is our protector; we ask him to come to our aid, fight for all our loved ones, and protect us from danger. Saint Gabriel is a messenger of the Good News; we ask him to help us clearly hear your voice and to teach us the truth. Saint Raphael is the healing angel; we ask him to take our need for healing and that of everyone we know, lift it up to your throne of grace, and deliver back to us the gift of recovery. Help us, O Lord, to realize more fully the reality of the archangels and their desire to serve us. Holy angels, pray for us. Amen.”

Translate »