Feast of St Michael and All Angels (1 October)

Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that every human being is assigned a guardian angel. The archangels are next in the hierarchy of angelic spirits and serve humanity directly, performing the most important tasks, and today we honour three of them. Michael, whose name means ‘Who is like God’, is mentioned several times in the Bible. Michael is seen as the great defender against Satan and his demons, the protector of the Church, and the Prince of the Angels. The prayer to Saint Michael, who defends us in battle, was written by Pope Leo XIII and was prayed thereafter at the end of every Mass until the reforms after Vatican II. Today, it is still prayed in many churches and widely in private devotion. Gabriel, whose name means ‘God is my strength’ or ‘Strong man of God’, also appears several times in the Bible. Gabriel often appears in sacred art blowing a trumpet, for his role in conveying divine messages, guiding prophets, and participating in significant events that shape human history. Raphael, whose name means ‘God has healed’, is mentioned by name, however, only in the Book of Tobit. It is speculated that Raphael is also one of the seven angels in the Book of Revelation who each receives one of the seven trumpets. Though great mystery surrounds the full nature and function of these glorious angelic spirits, what is abundantly clear is that God has used them throughout the course of salvation history. Today, we can confidently assert that God continues to pour forth His grace upon us through the mediation of the angels, especially Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. For some reason, God specifically revealed the names of these spirits to us, and that invites us to call upon their mediation. As mediators, they do more than pray for us. They are entrusted with the duty of implementing God’s will. As we honour these three archangels today, I invite you to call upon their intercession, seek their mediation, and trust that they will accomplish the duties they are given. Through Michael, seek God’s protection. Through Gabriel, seek God’s revelation. And through Raphael, seek God’s healing. They will not let you down.