Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feast of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael, archangels

(Daniel 7:9-10.13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12ab; John 1:47-51)

Hester Prynne, the adulteress in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece The Scarlet Letter, had an “A” sewn on her clothes. However, she went about town doing so much good for so long a time that the people began to think that the letter stood for “angel.” Today’s feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael underscores this very humane quality of angels.

One might think of angels as creepy characters. They are pure spirits created by God to perform His work. But in truth we generally think of angels as quite amenable company, like those in the popular television series Touched by an Angel. Of course, it is because God is so good that His messengers can hardly be anything but caring.

Today’s feast celebrates three angels renowned in the Bible. St. Michael is known for his protection against evil. St. Gabriel is seen as the bearer of good news. And St. Raphael is remembered for his coming to the aid of the downtrodden. Together they represent the work of all the heavenly hosts.