Sts. Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels
Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 [or Revelation 12:7-12] + John 1:47-51
“… you will see Heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
About a month from now, the Church will celebrate All Saints’ Day, when we spend time thinking about the “lives of the saints”. But it’s difficult to read and learn about the lives of today’s saints since they haven’t led “lives” in our usual sense of the word. Furthermore, their lives are still going on as always. Still, these three saints—the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael—are a very important part of our Catholic prayer and belief.
These archangels—among the most important of all the angels—are messengers who carry the most important messages from God to human beings like us.
St. Michael, in the beginning, was the one who had to fight against the devil, and force him out of Heaven as punishment for turning against God. At the end of time, it will be St. Michael who will lead all the good angels in battle against the fallen angels in league with the devil. But in between the beginning and end of time, Michael protects all those who call upon him, to defend them in the day of battle, which is any day when we face temptation, and are tempted not to love God completely, or tempted not to love our neighbor as our self.
St. Gabriel, by contrast , goes to the heart and center of history, with the most important message that God ever wanted delivered. It was Gabriel whom God chose to deliver the message to Mary that she should be our Blessed Mother, because God’s own Son should be born from her, that Son destined to be the Savior of all mankind.
In these archangels, we honor three models for the vocation to which God has called all of us through the Sacrament of Baptism. In word and action, we—like the angels—serve God, and bear His messages to others, all of which are about the sort of love with which God loves us.
Even when we have sinned, God continues to love us, and wants us to draw closer to Him through Jesus. But when we pray and realize how great God’s mercy towards us is, we are called to take that same message to others, and let others know of God’s love for them. Even more, we are called to offer forgiveness to others: to be God’s messenger of love and mercy by forgiving others in the same way that God has forgiven us.