The Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels and Powerful Spiritual Allies Sent by Love and for Love
He is one of seven angels "who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord" (Tob 12:15). The meaning of Raphael's name reflects the fact that he touched Tobit's eyes and brought sight from blindness.
More On The Angels
"As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness" (CCC, 330; Dan 10:9-12).
God created the angels, like man, with an intellect and will, yet these shared attributes cannot be exactly compared, for they differ greatly in strength and power. For instance, we might draw a comparison of the intellect and will of a child with those of an adult: the former is not nearly as strong as the latter. So it is with man and the angels.
The angels' intellect, one of vast and far-reaching intelligence, is far superior to man's. Unlike man, whose intellect is but dim and fragmented in comparison, the angels have no need to labor for years on end, plowing through dozens or hundreds of books in order to gain merely a partial understanding of a handful of soon-forgotten subjects. They do not struggle over a lifetime, gathering and storing perceptions and insights into meaningful wholes which we call knowledge. On the contrary, God infused the angels' intellect, one of exacting precision and penetrating vision, with angelic knowledge at the very moment of their creation. Consequently, the angels have no need to engage in a process of learning, but rather they simply know. They know about humanity, science, music, culture and the arts; they know about not only the world but the farthest reaches of the universe as well.
As for their will, the good angels do not struggle with doubt, fickleness, and the tendency to fall into sin. They are not weakly moved one moment to accomplish a task which is easily abandoned the next. On the contrary, an angel's will is an unwavering and immovable force, unceasingly directed toward the Ultimate Good, powerfully focused upon the divine Other who is Life Itself: God. For that reason, it is of great advantage to implore our guardian angels' aid through intercessory prayer. If we ask our angel to pray for our entrance into everlasting life, he will not cease doing so; he will not give up on us; he will not one day ambivalently wonder if we are worth the effort.
Cultivate a Relationship of Love With Your Guardian Angel
The angels belong to Christ, they are his, created through him and for him, who "belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: 'Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?'" (CCC 331).
"Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself" (CCC 332).
"In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels" (CCC 334).
In the present, due to our darkened intellect and limited vision, we cannot entirely understand nor see the full extent of our angel guardians' help. However, we can be sure their expert, dedicated assistance has been given on numerous occasions. How often have they intervened, saving us from injury or death? How often do they come to our aid in time of terrifying peril and desperate need?
What we do know by the light of faith, is that these glorious, powerful and unfailingly trustworthy spiritual friends of ours, united as we are in Christ, share a profoundly intimate bond of love with us -- one which cannot be broken, since we this moment share in God's own supernatural life. They as spirit; we as body and spirit. Yet we both nevertheless stand as brethren, sustained in the love of God, living in and through and with Christ, whose common purpose is but one: to love and serve God. In our case, we often find this most honorable and fulfilling calling, one which is defined by and founded on true love and freedom, difficult as we struggle along as pilgrims who have not yet reached our final end. Our guardian angels, however, have attained the goal of the Beatific Vision and see God face-to-face. Consequently, they are not plagued by weakness, fear, uncertainty and temptation, but rather are overflowing with the strength of God's glory.
Charged by God to supply our aid, the guardian angels are eager to help us as our spiritual allies in the earthly battle. They do not begrudgingly engage in this effort, merely as half-hearted servants, but rather pour themselves into it with the full force of their angelic intellect and will, directing their formidable powers toward our success in attaining the everlasting life of heaven. This precious aid is as close and available as our relationship with our guardian angels -- all we need do is ask for it. This moment they say to us: "Do not be afraid!" Let us love our angels, for they most certainly love us.
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at www.joyintruth.com
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Archangels, michael, gabriel, raphael, guardian angels, who are the angels, Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, God's salvation, salvation, divine love, F. K. Bartels
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