The term “Archangel” comes from the Greek words arkhangelos, combination of arkhi– “chief” + angelos “messenger”. In addition to this, Archangel refers to a chief or principal angel.
The Catholic Bible has named three angels only: Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Also regarded as saints, their feast is celebrated on the 29th of September.
ST. MICHAEL is the greatest of the angels who leads the army of heaven. He is considered the protector of Israel and of the Catholic Church. Michael (Hebrew) means “one who is like God”.
Ancient and modern artwork characterize Archangel Michael as a strong and well built angel with intense facial expression and body language. He usually holds a sword with the slain devil underneath.
Archangel Michael has four main responsibilities:
1. To combat Satan. He is the fighter of light who wins against evil forces. In the Bible, he spoke against Satan.
Jude 1:9 Not even the archangel Michael, when he was engaged in argument with the devil about the corpse of Moses, dared to denounce him in the language of abuse; all he said was, ‘May the Lord rebuke you.’
2. To escort the faithful to heaven at their hour of death. He is known also as the Benevolent Angel of Death and Carrier of the Heavens’ Keys.
3. To be a champion of all Christians, and the Church itself. He is the Angel of Repentance, Pity and Holiness, Prince of the Divine Presence, Jacob’s Guardian, and the Angel of the burning bush.
Daniel 10: 13 The Prince of the kingdom of Persia has been resisting me for twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the Chief Princes, came to my assistance. I have left him confronting the kings of Persia.
4. To call men from life on Earth to their heavenly judgment. He is the one who “weighs” the souls in the Judgement day, putting their good and bad deeds in balance.
Archangel Michael is the patron of soldiers, doctors, mariners, soldiers, police, the sick and also of little children. He is the one who gives patience and happiness. He may be invoked when facing enemies and be asked for protection. One of the churches which have been built in his reverence is the Tayabas Basilica (Minor Basilica of St. Michael Archangel), in the province of Quezon in the Philippines.
Prayer to Archangel Michael (written by Pope Leo XIII, 1884)
Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
St. Gabriel serves as a messenger, to stand for truth and deliver the word of God. Gabriel (Hebrew) means “God is my strength“.
The Bible depicted Gabriel as clothed in blue or white. Usually he would be holding a lily (symbolizing purity and truth), an ink-well and quill (as God’s messenger of the Word of God), golden chalice strongly reminiscent of the Grail, a shining lantern, a branch from Paradise, a scroll or a scepter. He may also be carrying God’s trumpet.
Below are some examples where Gabriel was mentioned in the Bible:
1. Gabriel appeared as a man as he interpreted the prophet Daniel’s visions. He spoke while Daniel was asleep. After that, Daniel got sick for several days. Gabriel visited again and gave more insight and understanding in an answered prayer.
2. Gabriel appeared to Zechariah (father of John the Baptist) and was described as “an angel of the Lord”.
Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you shall name him John.
3. Gabriel appeared to Mary at the annunciation.
Luke 1:26-28 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you.’
Gabriel is recognized as the patron saint of messengers, telecommunication workers, and postal workers. He is the Chief Ambassador to Humanity, the Angel of Revelation, the Bringer of Good News, Judgement and Mercy. He is the Angel of Joy, and the Spirit of Truth.
Prayer to Archangel Gabriel
O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living.
St. Raphael is the angel of healing. He saves the body, mind and heart and soothes our suffering. Archangel Raphael brings us the gift of healing and shows us how to heal ourselves through love and Joy; he allows us to find healing in nature and in the universal energies.
Raphael (Hebrew) means “God is Healer” or “God has Healed“. His name was mentioned only in the Book of Tobit, from the Old Testament. It was about how Raphael gave the sight back to Tobit’s father, using an ointment made from a fish’s gallbladder.
Tobit 12:15-17 I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ever ready to enter the presence of the glory of the Lord.’ They were both overwhelmed with awe; they fell on their faces in terror. But the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid; peace be with you. Bless God for ever.
Other Bible attributes of Archangel Raphael:
- watched Abraham recover after circumcision
- handed Moses the medical herb to cure all diseases.
- was protector of the evening winds
- guardian of the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden
- angel of repentance, prayer, love, joy and light
- angel of science, knowledge and grace, who watches over all of humanity.
The water moved many times when the angel of the Lord descended into the pool in Bethesda, in the Gospel of John. The water has healing powers and many ill people came for it.
John 5:1-4 After this there was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem next to the Sheep Pool there is a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five porticos; and under these were crowds of sick people, blind, lame, paralysed. For at intervals the angel of the Lord came down into the pool, and the water was disturbed, and the first person to enter the water after this disturbance was cured of any ailment he suffered from.
St. Raphael is the patron saint of travelers, the blind, bodily ills, happy meetings, nurses, physicians and medical workers. He is often pictured holding a staff and either holding or standing on a fish.
Prayer to Archangel Raphael
O Raphael, lead us towards those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us! Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand towards those we are looking for! May all our movements, all their movements, be guided by your Light and transfigured by your Joy. Angel Guide of Tobias, lay the request we now address to you at the feet of Him on whose unveiled Face you are privileged to gaze. Lonely and tired, crushed by the separations and sorrows of earth, we feel the need of calling to you and of pleading for the protection of your wings, so that we may not be as strangers in the Province of Joy, all ignorant of the concerns of our country. Remember the weak, you who are strong— you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene, and bright with the resplendent glory of God.