The word Archangel means ‘the main Angel’, thus designating the importance of his mission. The first one was Michael, which in Hebrew means “Who is like God”. He brings us the message of God’s uniqueness against the pride of the dragon, revealing to man his own true dignity, which is not threatened by the splendor of God. His dignity consists precisely in reflecting the splendor of God on the world.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Daniel calls St. Michael the protector prince of the Jews. He is the prince of the heavenly militia, warrior and protector not only of every believer, but of the whole Holy Church against earthly and infernal enemies. We see his struggle described in the book of Revelation: “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.” (Rev 12: 7-8). This victory against evil is a source of strength in our daily struggle against the forces of evil and also guides the soul at the decisive moment of death.
Gabriel means “God is my strength”. His name is mentioned twice in Daniel’s prophecy. He is the messenger par excellence: it was he who announced the birth of John the Baptist and, even more importantly, made the greatest of all announcements: the coming birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. It was he who listened to the “Fiat” of Mary, from which the divine Word became flesh. Having announced to Mary and the humble shepherds the great mystery of God becoming man, to this day the Archangel speaks to us of God’s desire to find in our lives and in our hearts a space to receive divine “announcements”.
Lastly, we have San Raphael, whose name means “God heals” or “God, Please Heal”. It appears in the Old Testament in the book of Tobit. There are innumerable wounds suffered by humanity, particularly the blindness that prevents man from seeing God, who in many ways wishes to reveal His faithful love to man.
Path of holiness
Although today we not pay due devotion to the angels and archangels, it is even more urgent that we do so since we live in a time when the sense of the sacred, spiritual and divine has been lost and we must be open to and listen to God’s providential response to the needs of humanity. The angels are therefore a sign of the presence of God, of his careful and constant care. Standing before God, close to Him, can reveal His will and thoughts to us, because His message helps us on our journey to holiness.
Let us be guided by these instruments of God in our lives because, as St. John Paul II stated, “the angels are sent by Divine Providence to help us reach the holiness of life”.
Padre Rômulo dos Anjos
Translation: Jhoanna Climacosa