Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael: Agents of Divine mercy

By Kimberly Bruce

Everyone knows about their guardian angel, assigned to protect and guide them through life’s ups and downs. But did you know there are actually nine “choirs” of angels, each assigned to specific roles and tasks? 

The archangels, for example, carry God’s important messages to man. On Sept. 29, we honor a heavenly triumvirate of archangels: St. Gabriel, St. Michael, and St. Raphael.

Servants and messengers
First, a refresher on angels. Angels possess an intellect and a will as human beings do. Because they are angels, however, they possess no bodies. These non-corporeal spiritual beings are God’s “servants and messengers” designed to aid humankind in our salvation (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 329, 331). They are, in effect, agents of Divine Mercy. 

On the night Jesus was born, the first to evangelize was an angel who announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds in the field with a multitude of the heavenly host joining in praise (see Lk 2:8-14). Angels appear many times in the Bible. Some of the more famously cited passages are when they ministered to Christ during His 40-day fast in the desert (see Mt 4:11); after His Resurrection (see Jn 20:12); after His Ascension (see Lk 24:4-7; 24:23); and when He returns in judgment of the living and the dead throughout the Book of Revelation. 

As Jesus promised Nathaniel, “… you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” (Jn 1:51).

The Archangels
The Archangels are in possession of exceptional powers meant to correspond to their distinctive God-given missions. 

The Archangel Gabriel, for example, is principally a messenger who announced the birth of the precursor, St. John the Baptist (see Lk 1:19), and of the Christ (see Lk 1:26). Gabriel also helped Daniel, a man greatly beloved by God in the Old Testament, to interpret a vision so that he would possess “wisdom and understanding” regarding future events (see Dan 8:15-26; 9:20-27).

The Archangel Michael is considered a princely warrior and protector of God’s people. In Scripture, he is seen helping Daniel to fight against his oppressors (see Dan 10:13). His presence is prophesied at the resurrection of the dead (see Dan 12:1), and St. Michael is seen fighting against the dragon in Revelation (see Rev 12:7). In the latter part of the 17th century, Pope Leo XIII composed a prayer to St. Michael, often recited after Mass, invoking the archangel against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.

The Archangel Raphael’s chief mission is as healer. In the Book of Tobit, he is recognized as a divine helper who cured Tobit from blindness and freed Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, from the wicked demon, Asmodeus (see Tob 3:17).

Faustina’s angels
The presence of angels and archangels was made known to St. Faustina, as documented in her Diary. In His great mercy, Jesus made use of St. Faustina’s guardian angel many times to speak to her to let her know when dying individuals needed her prayers (see, for instance, Diary, 828). 

Saint Faustina revealed that the Archangel Michael was expressly chosen by God to watch over her and protect her. She noted on Sept. 29, 1936, on the Feast of St. Michael (now the Feast of the Archangels), that the “great Leader,” St. Michael, stood by her side and said: 

The Lord has ordered me to take special care of you. Know that you are hated by evil; but do not fear ... (Diary, 706).

Call on them
As human beings, we should be especially grateful for the existence and presence of God’s gift to us of His angels. And we are reminded not to hesitate or to forget to call upon them for their assistance granted us by God. 

On the Feast of the Archangels, we humbly pray to Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, asking for their guidance, protection, and healing. Amen! 


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