Is this a banner week for feast days or what? Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the Holy Archangels, sandwiched in between Cosmos and Damian on Monday, Vincent de Paul on Tuesday, Wenceslaus on Wednesday, Jerome on Friday, Therese of Lisieux on Saturday, and the Guardian Angles on Sunday (although we do not celebrate the feast due to its falling on Sunday.) Does it get better? Angels and saints! May we be counted among them!
In my home growing up, Saint Michael held a prominent position. I’ve written many times about my grandmother and her influence in my life. Michael’s presence is directly related to her. I’m not sure why, or what exactly prompted it, but she had a great devotion to Saint Michael. She used to buy small plastic statues and give them to people whom she thought needed them. The white marble statue of St. Michael the Archangel that adorns my mantle was her gift to me when I graduated from college. She would always exhort us kids to pray for his protection, but I never really learned the prayer to Saint Michael until I was older.
I remember very distinctly an incident involving Saint Michael’s intercession. My cousin Susan, who lived about a mile away from me, drove her bike over to my house to visit my grandmother, who lived with my grandfather in an in-law apartment. Of course when Sue left, my grandmother blessed her and prayed for her, invoking St. Michael. On the way home, Susan was almost hit by a truck, but for “some reason” something happened that prevented it. If I recall correctly, she told us, “It was as if someone moved me out of the way.” The funny thing was that my grandmother knew that something was wrong even before she heard from Sue.
Angels surround us, yet we are often unaware. Our guardian angels escort us in every moment. Saint Paul tells us, “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” (Heb 13:2) I don’t remember the exact circumstance, but I remember one time interacting with a person who came “out of nowhere”, we spoke, and then he just left. The unusual nature of the interaction prompted me to think, (in spite of considering myself a bit daft), “I wonder if he was an angel.” I’ll never know, but God does.
Let’s consider the nine choirs of angels. They are:
(There is not enough room here to go into a description of each, but for those who are interested, Catholic On-Line has a good article, or you can download and read a .pdf version here. Excellent reads if you have a few minutes.)
Take a look at the above list. Notice that Angels and Archangels are the lowest order of angels. Now stop and think for a minute…our guardian angels are powerful intercessors. St. Michael led an army of angels to fight against the Lucifer and his minions casting them into hell (Rv 12:7-9); St. Raphael cured Tobit of his blindness (Tb 11:7-14); St. Gabriel announced the coming of Jesus to Mary at the annunciation (Lk 1:26-38). They played huge roles in salvation history, and these are the lower order angels! We ought not underestimate their power on our behalf.
Consider also, St. Paul’s observation, “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Eph 6:12) Note that powers and principalities, as well as thrones and dominions, against whom we battle, are higher order angels, yet Michael and his army defeated them. St. Paul also tells us, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rm 8:38-39) Thus, he presents the struggle and the hope. The battle is against the rebellious angels who fight incessantly for our souls, the souls of our children, our country and our world. The hope and the answer are found only in Jesus Christ!
So today, in this day of great darkness, we need more than ever to invoke the Holy Archangels’ intercession for protection, healing, and knowledge of God’s will. Would you join me in praying to Saint Michael to defend us in this battle and fight alongside us? I invite you, also, to daily pray to your Guardian Angel.
Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, pray for us! Anne
Some additional resources for your use:
- Novenas to Saint Michael and another.
- Novena to the Seven Archangels.
- Novena to the Guardian Angels.
- Fr. Harndon, SJ great article on The Archangel Raphael
- Catholic Encyclopedia on Angels.