For centuries, September 29th was celebrated as Michelmas—the Feast of St Michael the Archangel. After Vatican II, the Church decided that it was right and just to honor all three of the Archangels who make special appearances in the Bible: Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
Despite the fact that these messengers, entrusted with delivering God's important messages to His creation, are among the lowest ranks of angels, their powerful acts reflect God's omnipotence, and their messages resound in our hearts and minds, throughout all of history.
On this day, we members of the Apostoli Viae community honor the Archangels and consecrate ourselves to them, placing ourselves under their holy care and seeking to follow their examples of obedience and fidelity to God.
“Then 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. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.”
This challenge resounded in the Heavens as the Archangel Michael—Micha El means "who is like God?" in Hebrew—hurled the rebellious and proud Lucifer from Heaven.
"I have a great reverence for St Michael the Archangel," said St Maria Faustina Kowalska in her Diary, "he had no example to follow in doing the will of God, and yet he fulfilled God's will faithfully." (Diary, 667)
What an example!
With every ounce of his being, St Michael communicates to us the truth: no one is like God, and His Holy Will should never be questioned. Following in the example of this Heavenly messenger, our performance of God's will should be instantaneous.
In her diary, St Faustina tells of meeting the Archangel on his feast day, who said to her,
“The Lord has ordered me to take special care of you. Know that you are hated by evil; but do not fear — ‘Who is like God!’ ” (Diary, 706)
He says the same to us.
We are hated by evil.
But we should not fear.
WHO is like God?
The answer is, no one.
St Michael, defend us in this daily battle and help us to never forget that Our Heavenly Father loves us, and will protect us always from the wiles of the enemy.
“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…
“Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to thy word.”
The Archangel Gabriel, whose name in Hebrew means "God is my strength", performs God's Most Holy Will by communicating to the Blessed Virgin Mary that God desires her to be the Mother of His only Son.
His message reminds us of the gift of Mary's yes, and of how we must follow her example of docility and love, entrusting every aspect of her life to the God who created her for a special purpose.
We are all beloved by this same God, Who created us all with a special purpose in mind.
May we all rely on His strength, just like Archangel Gabriel, in seeking to do only His will every moment of our lives.
The Archangel Gabriel also communicates to Zechariah that God has heard and answered his prayer for a son. Unlike Mary, Zechariah doubts.
“How shall I know this?" he asks. "For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” (Luke 1:18)
The Archangel swiftly delivers another message from God that none of us should forget—even the slightest doubt questions the will of God.
“I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”
St Gabriel, Heavenly messenger of God, communicate to us the strength of He Who created us all, and help us to use that strength to never question His will, to do all that He asks of us with love and joy, trusting in Him, every moment for the rest of our lives.
“So now God sent me to heal you… I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One. Do not be afraid; you will be safe. But praise God forever. For I did not come as a favor on my part, but by the will of our God. Therefore praise him forever.”
The Archangel Raphael, whose name in Hebrew means "God has healed", reminds us of the very powerful message that God seeks to heal us all of our many wounds.
He has healed us all, through the sacrifice of His Only Son on the Cross.
"Do not be afraid," the Archangel says, “but praise God forever."
Do not be afraid of the wounds of your past, those inflicted on you and those you inflicted on others. God wills to heal you.
Praise God forever. He loves us with an everlasting love, giving us the Blood of His Son to wipe out our sins, and the Mother of His Son to lovingly guide us to Heaven.
Do not be afraid.
Archangel Raphael, remind us every moment of our lives that not only does Our Heavenly Father seek to heal us, but He can, and He will--as long as we trust in Him and praise Him forever. Give us the courage to open our hearts and wounds to Him, that He might make us whole and enable us to love Him with every atom of our beings, heart and soul, forever.
IMAGES: The Three Archangels, Marco d'Oggiono; Angelic War, Gustave Dore; The Archangel Michael overthrowing Lucifer, Francesco Maffei, ca 1656 © Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (used with permission); Annunciation by Domenico Bruschi; Annunciation, Helena Vurnik; Archangel St Rafael, Juan de Valdés Leal (Palacio de Viana de Córdoba); Archangel Raphael with Bishop Domonte, Bartolome Esteban Murillo (all public domain unless otherwise stated)