REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
September 29, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Lk. 9:49-50.
Jesus made reference to Angels in his response to Nathaniel. Yes, Angels are for real. And they are mighty, glorious, beautiful and magnificent in every way. Today the Church celebrates the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael that are mentioned in the Bible.
An archangel is the second order of angels just above the guardian angels. In all, there are nine orders of celestial beings that we commonly refer to as angels and all nine of these orders are traditionally organized into three spheres. The entire hierarchy is traditionally organized this way:
Highest Sphere: Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.
Middle Sphere: Dominions, Virtues and Powers.
Lower Sphere: Principalities, Archangels and Angels (Guardian Angels).
The hierarchy of these celestial beings is ordered in accord with their function and purpose. The highest of the beings, the Seraphim, were created solely for the purpose of surrounding the Throne of God in perpetual worship and adoration. The lowest of the beings, the Guardian Angels, were created for the purpose of caring for humans and communicating God’s messages.
The Archangels, whom we honor today, were created for the purpose of bringing messages of great importance to us and to accomplish tasks of the highest importance in our lives. They were given special missions to carry out God’s plan of salvation for humanity.
Michael, a name that means “who is like God” is well known as the archangel who was empowered by God to cast Lucifer out of Heaven. Lucifer is traditionally thought to be of the highest sphere of celestial beings and, thus, being cast out by a lowly archangel was quite a humiliation. St. Michael was given the task of leading the army of angels of heaven to fight and defeat and to drive out the devil and the fallen angels out of heaven. He is the protector of God’s people and we turn to him with the “Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel” whenever we face mortal or spiritual dangers.
Gabriel, a name that means “God is my strength” is well known for being the archangel who brought the message of the Incarnation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. So, St. Gabriel was the messenger of God’s plan of salvation, firstly to Zechariah when he was offering incense at the Temple, and then to Mary at the Annunciation. We turn to him for his assistance especially when we have difficulty in proclaiming God’s message, whether orally or in written form.
Raphael, whose name means “God heals” is referred to in the Old Testament Book of Tobit and is said to have been sent to bring healing to Tobit’s eyes. St. Raphael appeared in the Book of Tobit where he declared that he was sent by the Lord to heal Tobit of his blindness and to deliver Sarah, his future daughter-in-law, from the demon Asmodeus, who killed every man she married on their wedding night before the marriage can be consummated. We turn to him for his intercession in times of illness and in praying for a cure.
Though not much is known of these archangels, it’s important to believe in them, honor them and to pray to them. We pray to them because we believe God has entrusted them with a mission to help us bring healing, fight evil and proclaim the Word of God. Their power comes from God, but God has chosen to use the archangels, and all celestial beings, to accomplish His plan and purpose.
Reflect, today, upon your knowledge of the angels. Do you believe in them? Do you honor them? Do you rely upon their powerful intercession and mediation in your life? God wants to use them, so you should truly seek their help in your life.
Lord, thank You for the gift of the Archangels whom we honor today. Thank You for their powerful working in our lives. Help us to rely upon them and to love them for their service. Archangels, pray for us, heal us, teach us and protect us. Jesus, I trust in You.