WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT ANGELS: A BRIEF EXPOSITION (FEAST OF THE ARCHANGELS: GABRIEL, MICHAEL AND RAPHAEL)

WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT ANGELS: A BRIEF EXPOSITION

(FEAST OF THE ARCHANGELS: GABRIEL, MICHAEL AND RAPHAEL)
(Culled from “A sermon of Pope St Gregory the
Great”)
The word “angel” denotes a function
rather than a nature
“You should be aware that the word ‘angel’ denotes a function
rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been
spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message.
Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels;
and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.
And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to
the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to
announce the greatest of all messages.
Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are
empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the
vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But
personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known
without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us.
Thus, Michael means ‘Who is like God’; Gabriel is ‘The Strength of God’; and
Raphael is ‘God’s Remedy’.

Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is
sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what
God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to
be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne
above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High.
He will be allowed to remain in
power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final
punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by
John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.


So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He
came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic
powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly
powers, mighty in battle.


Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched
Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness.
Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.”

Let us pray
Lord God of hosts, in your all-wise plan you assign to angels and
to men the services they have to render you. Grant that the angels, who adore
you in heaven, may protect us here on earth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever
and ever. Amen.

(FROM
THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS)

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