Daily Reflection
September 29th, 2003
Deb Fortina 
Academic Affairs
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Feast of Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels 

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5
John 1:47-51

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14  “…Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took his throne.…Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads attended him.”

Psalm 138: 1-2ab, 2cde-3, 4-5  “…In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.”

John 1: 47-51   “…Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

The Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels  - As you can see from the selections above, the readings are talking about God’s angels. The readings coincide nicely with the feast we celebrate today and tell how the angels praise and worship and look upon the face of God everyday.  Think about what it would be like to Look upon the Face of God everyday. Whew!  That’s big!  And yet I scarcely ever think about the presence of angels, either my own guardian angel, or these three leaders of angels.  God has entrusted the archangels to deliver many important messages over the years, and I started thinking what have I missed hearing for lack of listening?  Several years ago, my awareness of Angels increased somewhat when I started watching the network television show called Touched by an Angel, which just went off the air last year.  I kept watching because each week’s story moved me to tears at the point when the angel Monica delivered the crucially timed message to the person she was sent to help.  The show's philosophy was pretty good, and they never failed to deliver this message as well, “God loves you so much…”

In my reflection of today’s readings, I remembered Fr. Dennis Hamm, S.J. telling us the meanings behind the names of each of these archangels during his homily at Mass on their feast day last year.  My curiosity led me to a great website that had many articles about angels. See www.silk.net/RelEd/angels.htm.  It was listed under our website for Online Spirituality Resources and under the website Resources for Catholic Educators.  I invite you to renew your acquaintance with your angel from learning a little more about these three leaders among angels.  Some of the information including the meanings of their names follows:

Michael, whose name translates as “Who is like God?” is known in the Old Testament as the “Guardian of the Hebrew Nation” and by another title as the “Prince of the Heavenly Hosts.”  Michael is thought to be the angel who guided the Jews on their wanderings in the desert, and who is thought to have battled with Satan over the soul of Moses.  Medieval knights often consecrated themselves to him, and devotions in his honor play prominent roles in many countries.  For many years Michael was the sole angel honored in liturgical feast in the Church before the ninth century.

Gabriel whose name translates as “God’s fortitude “ or “God is powerful” is depicted as the angel of the Incarnation, for his announcements to Mary and to Zechariah foretelling the births of Jesus and St. John the Baptist.  He is the patron of workers in communication; each time he is mentioned in Scripture he is announcing the Messiah.   Gabriel is mentioned in the book of Daniel as coming to deliver a message and to give understanding to Daniel’s visions.

Raphael’s name means “medicine of God” or God heals and is called upon to aid travelers and members of the medical profession.  He is thought to embody the ability of angels to intervene in the affairs of humankind, never ceasing to contemplate the face of God.  He is the patron saint of light, love, health and joy.

I spoke to my angel today, and prayed for continued protection for myself and for my loved ones as well.  Let today’s Feast encourage you to remember your heavenly protector.

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