Today is the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Yes, in case you were wondering that is a real thing.
Part one, section two, chapter one, paragraph 5 of the Catholic Catechism there is a whole section on the angels. From “Their existence”, to “who they are”, to Christ “with His Angels”. There is a section where the catechism reads that , “the whole church benefits from the mysterious and help of angels.”
“In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy’s In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .[“May the angels lead you into Paradise. . .”]). Moreover, in the “Cherubic Hymn” of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).”
Did you know that before the Blessed Virgin appeared to the children at Fatima St. Michael, the Archangel (the last statue there on the right) visited the three children to prepare them for the work of the Blessed Mother. According to the accounts of the children, St. Michael appeared to them and said, “”Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” Then he prostrated himself and repeated three times: “My God; I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee! I beg Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee!”
What an amazing prayer, and when you think of the origins of the word Angel it makes sense. The word, “angel,” comes from the Greek word, “aggelos,” which means, “messenger. In the bible there is reference to the “nine choirs” of angels, recognizes the 7 archangels and names three of them. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
Each is famous for both their actions and their message. We heard about Michael in the first reading, “ “War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.”
We heard about Gabriel in Luke 1:26-29, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.”
And Raphael is written about in Tobit 12:15-22, “ I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand in the glorious presence of the Lord, ready to serve him.” Tobit and Tobias were terrified and fell to the ground, trembling with fear. But Raphael said to them, “Don’t be afraid; everything is all right. Always remember to praise God. He wanted me to come and help you; I did not come on my own. So, sing God’s praises as long as you live. When you thought you saw me eating, I did not really eat anything; it only seemed so. While you are on this earth, you must praise the Lord God and give him thanks. Now I must go back to him who sent me. Write down everything that has happened to you.” Then Raphael disappeared into the sky. Tobit and Tobias stood up, but they could no longer see him.
So, let me get this straight, one was sent from God to fight for us. One was sent to bring us God in the form of Jesus. And one was sent to remind us to give praise worship to our Lord.
The amazing thing to me is not that angels, especially Archangels, exist it is that they exist through God’s love for us.
The gospel reading ends with Jesus saying that we, “will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Again it is not that we will see this it is that God loves us so much that He provides all of this for us.
The amazing thing is not that the real presence of Christ is here for us to receive in the Eucharist, it is that God loves us so much that he provides His only son for us in the eucharist.
We can talk about angels, and the eucharist, and heaven opening and all of these things are truly amazing but … the love that our Lord has for us is mind blowing.
All of these things mean nothing if we don’t know and believe that simple thing. Nothing matters, nothing makes sense and nothing is important if we do not the fact that we are desperately loved by God.
Praise be to you O Lord Jesus Christ, your love for us is everlasting.
JN 1:47 – 51
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
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