The Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. Feast Day—September 29
The chief angels of the high order are Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Michael is viewed as a guide to heaven, protector of God’s chosen people, foe of Satan, and guardian of the Church. Gabriel, revealer of the Incarnation, announced the births of John the Baptist and Christ. Tradition honors Raphael, an angel of healing, as head of guardian angels, those who hear prayers and bring them to God. In artwork, these messengers of God are depicted as winged beings, a possible reference to the appearance of Gabriel “in rapid flight” to the prophet Daniel.
It is a truth of faith that God, the “maker . . . of all that is seen and unseen,” created a realm of spiritual beings who do not share the limitations of a physical body and yet exist as the result of his all-powerful, loving act of creation. We call these spiritual beings 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, no. 330). Angels glorify God and work for our salvation. The Church celebrates the memory of certain angels (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael) who were God’s messengers. Some of the angels turned against God and were driven out of heaven and into hell. Their leader is called Satan, and they are referred to as devils or demons in Scripture. They tempt us to evil (cf. CCC, nos. 391, 1707). But their power is limited and is never greater than God’s.