Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Feast of the Archangels

Angels are not like the other saints on the Church's calendar who were all human beings. Angels are celestial beings created on a higher order than man. They are completely spiritual beings; they have intelligence and will; they are personal and immortal creatures. Angels are the servants and messengers of God -- in fact, this is what the word "angel" means. Several different kinds (or ranks) of angels are mentioned in the Bible: angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, choirs, dominions, principalities, and powers.

The feast of Saint Michael, one of the seven archangels of Scripture, originated in the sixth century. It was known, in English, as "Michaelmas", and this name lives on in a wildflower, a white aster with many small star-like flowers, that blooms in late September, known as the Michaelmas daisy.

Recently two other of the archangels named in scripture, Gabriel and Raphael, are also honored on this day.

Michael the archangel, whose name in Hebrew means "Who is like God?", is revered as the leader of the angelic army who will conquer Satan and his armies of demons, and is considered the defender of the Church. Michael is more often represented in art thank any other angelic being. He is often shown wearing armor, in the act of slaying the great Dragon of the Apocalypse [Satan] in Revelation 12:7-9.

The archangel Gabriel, whose name in Hebrew means "Strength of God", announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zachariah, and soon after, announced to Mary that she was to become the mother of Our Lord. His address to her, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (the "angelic salutation") is familiar to all who say the Rosary.

The archangel Raphael, whose name means medic or ointment of God, is mentioned by name in the Old Testament book of Tobit (Tobias), whom the angel aided by healing him of blindness and guiding him on his travels.

To learn more about them click here.

A Prayer to Saint Michael
Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

-- Pope Leo XIII

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