Continuing from my fellow blogger with yesterday’s post I would like to look at Archangels again today and Guardian Angels, it being the feast of our Guardian Angels.
Saint Gregory the Great, while he was Bishop of Rome wrote a sermon that discussed the Archangels and their role in the history of salvation. St. Gregory begins by stating a correction to the common misunderstanding of angels. He states, “the word ‘angel’ denotes a function rather than a nature.” Angels are messengers. There is a distinction between angels, who deliver messages of lesser importance, and archangels, who proclaim messages of supreme importance. Therefore, the Archangel Gabriel is the highest of Archangels because St. Gabriel delivered the most important message in the history of salvation, that of the incarnation to the Virgin Mary.
Also, each of the names of the Archangels tell us something about them. Michael means, “Who is like God?”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.” In the Scriptures, we see the messages of these angels being proclaimed. We have already looked at the role that St. Gabriel played in salvation history, but what does Michael and Raphael have to do with it? In the book of Revelation we see Michael being sent by God to perform an act of wondrous power: After, “the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” had given birth to her son, she fled into the desert where God had prepared a special place for her. A red dragon is also in this image, who wipes out a third of the stars and hurls them to the earth. Michael leads the angels into battle with the dragon and is victorious. Finally, a hymn of victory is sung. (Rev. 12:1-17) St. Michael then plays the role of protecting and defending us in each day of battle, the spiritual battle against Satan an all his evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. He does so first by defending the woman, who is traditionally been known as the image of Our Lady.
Lastly, Raphael, “God’s Remedy”, is the one who was sent to cure Tobit of his darkness and blindness.
“He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11-12) The presence of our personal guardian angel in each of our lives should instill in us confidence that God has sent us a protector, to be with us at our side and to serve us as St. Bernard says. For those who are discerning a vocation, pray that your guardian angel will help and protect you as you discern your vocation. There are many temptations in the world that can lead us away from our callings, but our Guardian Angel is there to serve us and aid us during these times.
NOTE: The majority of this blog can be found in Liturgy of the Hours, the Office of Readings, for Sept. 29th, Reading 2 and the Office of Readings for today, Reading 2.