Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
Celebrated on September 29th
The name Michael means ‘He who is like unto God’. The archangel engages in a great cosmic battle with the Devil. In the Book of Jude, he contends with the Devil over the body of Moses, rebuking the Evil One in God’s name. The imagery reveals that with the triumph of Jesus, evil no longer reigns throughout the cosmos, but remains on earth as the enemy of those who seek to follow God’s will.
In the New Testament Michael is twice represented as the helper of God’s chosen people.
Gabriel (his name means man of God) is an archangel who assists Daniel, helping him to understand his visions. Gabriel has a special role in the New Testament. To Zachariah the father of John the Baptist, he announces the birth of the future prophet. He brings the message to the Virgin Mary that she is to be the Mother of God.
Raphael appears in the Book of Tobit as one of the seven archangels who stand in God’s presence. Tobit presents him as hearing our prayers and bring them to God. Raphael means ‘God heals’.
All three archangels appear in later Christian writings many times, with Michael often seen as the receiver of souls of the departed - as in the spiritual Michael Row the Boat Ashore.