The Holy Archangels

Friends in Christ,  Today is the Feast of the Holy Archangels.  I often ask the children, what are the three angels whose names we know? They are these: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael – the three great archangels.
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We know of Gabriel, because he is not only mentioned in the Book of Daniel, but he is the angel who visited Zechariah and Mary at the nativity. No greater honor could be accorded an angel, than to communicate the message of the Incarnation of God into the world. Many believe Gabriel continued to be involved with the Holy Family, appearing to the shepherds, speaking to St. Joseph in his dreams, and so forth. The venerable Mary of Agreda was a mystic, who writes of the appearance of Gabriel: He was that of a most handsome youth of rarest beauty, she says. his face emitted resplendent rays of light, his bearing was grave and majestic. He wore a diadem of exquisite splendor, his clothes glowing in various colors.
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Now as to Raphael, we know this angel from the Book of Tobit. Raphael brought healing to Tobit, and helped his son Tobias, and so St. Raphael is the ‘healing’ angel. St. Anthony Mary Claret often called on St. Rafael. On a difficult journey, he asked Raphael to help him; Raphael presented himself as a young man and acted as a guide, leaving him only at meal-time. And the end of the journey he disappeared. St. Raphael is the patron of doctors and travelers.
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Finally we read today about St. Michael, in the Book of Revelation, who battles with the devil. He is mentioned also in the Book of Daniel where he is called one of the ‘chief princes.’ It says that Michael will defend the people at the time of the anti-christ. St. Michael therefore is viewed as a great defender of the Church and, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, it is St. Michael who, at the end of the world, will combat and destroy the anti-Christ. St. Francis of Assisi had a great devotion to St. Michael, and kept a 40 day fast leading up to his Feast day, and Joan of Arc was spoken to often by St. Michael.
It is an excellent tradition that we have at our parish, to pray to St. Michael at the end of each weekday Mass.

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