Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Trio of Heavenly Helpers

Wouldn’t it be comforting to know that someone’s literally “got your back”—both physically and spiritually?  And wouldn’t it be nice to receive signs about God’s plan for your life—not to mention additional healing and wholeness as needed?!

Almighty God is God, of course--so infinitely grand and expansive that billions of stars move and have their being within him, so infinitely small and still that he is closer than our inmost selves. Therefore, we can always to “straight to the top” with any and all of our needs. 

However, in the wisdom of God’s loving plan since the dawn of time, his angels stand ready to help us on a moment’s notice.  Among these special “helpers,” the most powerful and most revered are the three archangels whom the Church celebrates on September 29th:  Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.  Though they often act without being noticed, we can catch glimpses their respective missions:

          Michael:  The Warrior, who leads the battle against Satan and his minions. 

      Have you ever seen the face of the Evil One in the contorted look of someone intent on doing you harm, or in the pained look of someone enslaved in their evil?  If so, the mere mention of Michael’s name is enough to terrify this enemy.  Indeed, the St. Michael Prayer is one of the Church’s most powerful in its arsenal of resources.  It reminds us that our life is a matter of spiritual warfare: “St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle”!

      Gabriel:  The Messenger, who praises the Blessed Virgin Mary with the words, “Hail, full of grace...” 

      Gabriel reminds us that God has created each of us with a specific mission in this life.  We are sent into our weary world in order to touch the lives of some specific people, people who may never encounter the Gospel of Jesus Christ unless it is through us.  Gabriel is the one who helps nudge us along the right paths, who sheds light upon decisions big and small, and who helps us answer God’s silent promptings with the same simple “Yes” of our Lady.

      Raphael: The healer, who strengthens us both physically and spiritually on our journey Home. 

      During my father’s long struggle with cancer, a beautiful statue of St. Raphael stood comfortingly beside his bed.  Even though I didn’t know that the fish with which Raphael is often depicted can be seen as an ancient symbol of healing, I knew it was a good sign since my paternal grandfather was a masterful fisherman.  Whenever someone is returning with a couple fish on a stringer, it has been a good day J  Raphael helps each of us make the journey from this life into eternal life--assuring us that there will be a most memorable fish fry when we reach the other shore!

Perhaps you know someone who is battling illnesses right now.  Maybe you need more protection than healing right now; or perhaps you’re waiting on a message--a sign--about a new beginning.  Regardless of where we are on our journey, these three Archangels stand poised to draw us into the Mystery of Mysteries—the Communion of Persons which is the Blessed Trinity—overflowing, self-emptying, and transforming Love.

In the words of Gabriel himself, the Archangels stand as an assurance that “nothing will be impossible for God”!
Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, pray for us--
P.S.  This reflection was inspired by a request from friends at Nativity House, in Lockport Illinois; they publish a Catholic Worker-style paper and are in the process of setting up a home for single mothers.