Today is the Archangels’ feast day!

September 29 traditionally was set aside as the Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel. Then the Church made it the feast day of all the Archangels.

Note: The word “saint” simply means “holy’ — as indeed are the Angels who choose to be true to God instead of, like Lucifer and the other fallen angels, pride in themselves.

my angels2

The word angel, in Greek, is angelos; in Hebrew, malach; in Arabic, mala’ika — which all mean “messenger.”

Angels are incorporeal (without body, material form or substance) spiritual beings who act as messengers and intermediaries between God and humanity. St. Augustine said that although Angels are defined by their function as messengers or message-bearers, their activities are not limited to just this function. Created by God to serve Him, Angels fulfill any and all tasks assigned to them.

In other words, being an Angel or messenger simply denotes one of their functions, not their nature. St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that each Angel is unique, a species unto itself — truly a mind-boggling idea.

Major philosophers — such as Thomas Aquinas, René Descartes, John Locke, and most recently, the American philosopher Mortimer Adler — had put forth compelling reasons for the existence of Angels. (For the conversion of Adler, a Jew, to the Catholic faith, see A Philosopher-Pagan Comes Home.)

Theologians maintain there is a hierarchy of Angels, due to the fact that in Genesis 3:24, Isaiah 6:1-7, Ezekiel 1, 10, Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15, allusions are made to “seraphim,” “cherubim,” “thrones,” “dominions,” “mights,” “powers” and “principalities” in the “heavenly places.”

Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Thomas Aquinas delineated three hierarchies of Angels, with each hierarchy comprised of three orders:

  • 1st hierarchy: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.
  • 2nd hierarchy: Dominions, Virtues, Powers.
  • 3rd hierarchy: Principalities, Archangels, Angels.

Of the nine angelic orders, five are sent by God for external ministry among bodily creatures, as indicated by their names of Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels—all of which refer to some kind of administrative or executive office. Of these five orders, only the last three minister to human beings:

  • Principalities are in charge of the whole of humanity.
  • Archangels minister to nations — their leaders and those persons whom God tasks with special work to do on Earth.
  • Angels, the last order, are God’s messengers to and guardians of individual human beings.

That leaves the orders of Virtues and Powers who, by logical inference, minister to other bodily but nonhuman creatures. The latter would include the non-human animals, such as our pets, whom St. Bonaventure called “creatures without sin” — which is a happy thought indeed!

Three Angels are named in the Bible:

  1. Michael: in Hebrew, the name means “Who is like God?”.
  2. Gabriel: “God is my might”.
  3. Raphael: “God has healed”.

Notice that all three names end with “El” — which means God, in Hebrew. Thus, each Archangel’s name ending in “el” means they are “of God.”

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary. The Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli, 1485.

Gabriel’s name means “God is great.” The angel Gabriel appears to at least three people in the Bible:

  • To the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:16).
  • To the priest Zechariah to foretell and announce the miraculous birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19).
  • To the Virgin Mary to tell her that she would conceive and bear a son (Luke 1:26–38). As the angel of the Annunciation, Gabriel is the one who revealed that the Savior was to be called “Jesus” (Luke 1:31).

St. Gabriel is recognized as the patron saint of messengers, telecommunication workers, and postal workers.

St. Raphael, the Archangel

st-raphael1The angel Raphael‘s name means “God heals.” This identity came about because of the biblical story that Raphael “healed” the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal Book of Enoch.

Raphael appears by name only in the Book of Tobit where, disguised as a human named “Azarias the son of the great Ananias,” he accompanies Tobiah, the son of Tobit, in travels. When Raphael returns from his journey with Tobiah, he declares to Tobit that he was sent by the Lord to heal his blindness and deliver Sarah, Tobiah’s future wife, from the demon Asmodeus. It is then that the Raphael makes himself known as “the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tobit 12:15).

Although only the archangels Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name in the New Testament, the Gospel of John 5:1-4 speaks of a healing pool at Bethesda where “An angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.” This passage is generally associated with St. Raphael, the Archangel.

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.

St. Michael, the Archangel

StMichaelTheArchangel

The name “Lucifer” means “morning star,” “son of the dawn,” or “light carrier.” For that reason, theologians believe that Lucifer was a high-order Angel, most likely the highest order — a Seraphim. Aquinas thought him to be “probably the highest of all the angels.” But Lucifer admires and loves himself more than his Creator and thinks himself to be “as God.” And so, swollen with narcissism and grandiosity, Lucifer rebelled, taking a third of the angelic beings with him.

A lower-order Angel, full of courage and love of God, rallied together two-thirds of the angelic ranks against Lucifer and the other apostates, in the First War that began the enduring conflict between good and evil. As related in Revelation 12:7-9:

Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.

That braveheart’s name is Micha-el, which means “Who is like God?” — Michael‘s battle cry.

St. Michael the Archangel is the prince of the heavenly armies and the most beloved of all the angels. He is mentioned in Daniel 10:13,31; 12:1 (where he is said to be the prince of the people of Israel); in Jude 9 (where he disputed with the devil about the body of Moses); and in Revelation 12:7 (where he led the heavenly armies against those of the “great dragon”).

Described in Revelation 10:1 as a “mighty angel…with a halo around his head; his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire,” St. Michael is generally portrayed by artists as wearing full armor and carrying a sword or lance, with his foot on the neck of a dragon. (Pictures of the martyred St. George are often similar, but only Michael has wings.)

Michael has four main titles or offices. He is:

  • Patron of the Chosen People in the Old Testament.
  • Patron saint and defender of the Church.
  • The Angel of death, who assists Jesus in the final judgment (thus, Michael is sometimes depicted with a scale).
  • Leading the good Angels against the fallen angels or demons. For that reason, Christians consider St. Michael the most powerful defender of God’s people against evil. As such, Michael is also the patron saint of soldiers and policemen. (For the Prayer to St. Michael, go here.)

All of which is why St. Michael, the Braveheart of Angels, is my most favorite saint, whom I admire and love with all my heart. He is my commander in chief. As you can see from this blog’s masthead, he is also the patron and protector of Fellowship of the Minds.

Happy Feast Day, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael!

Thank you for inspiring us with your humility, courage, goodness, and love for God.

Thank you, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for creating the marvelous Angels!

~Eowyn

For a fascinating account of one man’s experience with the Archangel Michael, click here. Check out FOTM‘s other angel posts here!

Sources:

  1. Mortimer J. Adler, The Angels and Us (New York: Macmillan, 1982).
  2. Matthew Bunson, Angels A to Z: A Who’s Who of the Heavenly Host (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1996), pp. 181-184.
  3. Michael H. Brown, Prayer of the Warrior (Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing Co., 1993), p. 34.
  4. René Descartes, Meditations On First Philosophy, trans. by Donald A. Cress (Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1979).
  5. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, edited with an introduction by A. D. Woozley (Cleveland & New York: Meridian Books, 1968),
  6. Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, Volume One (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1947).
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12 responses to “Today is the Archangels’ feast day!

  1. What an edification! Thank you, Dr. Eowyn. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank You Dr.Eowyn, = this missive was a Most Interesting Read for me.. Do repeat this Missive occasionally as a Reminder that Godly Spirit Beings are Real and one needs to be open & receptive to that Reality.. My wish is that Everyone could See with their Eye what I had seen back in 1986. Very Few people get to clearly See the Awesome Vision of an Angel, and then only for an instant.. Lucky me..!!
    Words of the Bible say, “Many hear the Call, but Few are Chosen..

    Like

  3. Thank you Dr. E. for being such a great teacher. Happy Feast Day.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wonderful article.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It is Very Rare that Anyone would dare to open up on the issue of a “vision.” The “doubt” – the “ridicule” – the “insults” – the calls of “insanity” go far beyond anything that St.Thomas endured.. “Lest I can put my finger in the hole in His palm, and my hand into the Spear-cut in His side, – I shall Not Believe..
    99.9% of doubting Thomas’s & Thomasita’s will tell You that: “the Stove is Not Hot, = that is – until they touch it themselves..

    Like

  6. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:

    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    Today is “The archangel’s feast day.” Rejoice and be glad.

    kommonsentsjane

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Most excellent article, and may St. Michael the Archangel protect President Trump, all those who are trying to defend America, and everyone at FOTM!
    May St. Michael the Archangel also defeat everyone associated with ANTIFA, from George Soros down to the last street punk. May he protect and defend everyone in our armed forces and all our police officers.
    St. Michael, I believe we’re entering times in which you and your fellow angels are going to be kept very, very busy—No Joke. Pray for Us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Steven . . . Amen to all you have written above. I also wish to thank Dr Eowyn for this wonderful reminder of Michael, the Arch Angel. I sometimes contemplate those of us who dwell on Earth, who were entitled to have a body . . . because it means we were among the two thirds of the hosts of Heaven who remained faithful to God the Father. Sometimes, many of us feel that we just don’t measure up . . . that’s when it is important to remember that we passed the first test we were given in the Council in Heaven–we choose to remain faithful and true to Heavenly Father, and Michael was the leader of the valiant. If we can just remember that, then perhaps we can put everything else in perspective . . . we were winners that day, and we can all live to be on the winning side again.

      God Bless you Dr Eowyn for this profound lesson on the fact that our God has given us Heavenly beings who are on our side, even up unto this day.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. I think its good to be reminded that we are in a struggle, like it or not. The world is more than it appears. God is in charge. We just need to remember that. His angels are there to help us.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for this, new information for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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