September concludes with the feast of those glorious spiritual beings that Christian Tradition acknowledges as the princes of the angelic world: the Archangels. The three named Archangels of Scripture are Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, and each of those mighty servants of God are under command of a superior spiritual force: their captain, the Mother of God, Mary most holy, the Queen of Angels. The holy Archangels assist Mary in undoing the knots of sin in our fallen world.
Only twice in the whole of the New Testament does the word “archangel” appear, which allows the office of archangel to take on a special character and office above the other angels. It is applied to Michael directly in Jude 9, where he has the task of protecting the body of Moses from being used for idolatry by the devil. In 1 Thes 4:16, the archangel (most likely Michael again) blows the trumpet to command the resurrection of the dead.
The Three Magnificent Archangels
St. Michael, therefore, clearly has a primary role in salvation history. Michael, prince of the heavenly host, announces the rights of God to the human race and protects God’s chosen people, both the Jewish people and the Church. Michael is shown in numerous places as a guardian and warrior (Josh 5:13-6:5; Dan 10:3, 12:1). Fulfilling this task to the maximum, he banished Satan and the apostate angels from Heaven (Rev 12:7-9).
St. Gabriel is portrayed as one of the most important and powerful angelic forces in the drama of salvation. He is the angel of the Incarnation, appearing in the form of a man to the prophet Daniel (Dan 10:5) and proclaiming the Good News of the Messiah’s birth to the Virgin Mary (Lk 1:26-38). His name means “Strength of God” and is related to the Hebrew word for “warrior” or “strong man”. He bears the divine strength to humanity! We have the distinct sense that Gabriel has command over legions of other angels.
St. Raphael is the angel of divine healing and guidance, qualities he manifested in his direct intervention in the life of the young Tobias (Book of Tobit). Raphael healed both Tobias’s wife and father and guided the young man to his destiny in God’s Plan – as he does for all of us.
Mary’s Queenship of the Angels
While we celebrate Mary as our heavenly queen, seldom do we contemplate her authority as Queen of the angels too. By the Will of Christ, she is their sovereign, and they serve her with perfect diligence in the great task of leading souls to Heaven. As Queen, she commands these three powerful archangels to protect us from evil influences and overcome obstacles to living the Christian faith.
Our Lady sends Michael to fight against a distorted sense of God that our cultures and even some misguided religious people propagate. Michael’s power helps to undo the influence of the unholy trinity of “the world, the flesh, and the devil” all around us.
Mary’s beloved Gabriel helps us to overcome the attractions of idolatry, namely, the common human tendency to replace Christ, our Savior, with false gods. Freeing us from vain distractions and our propensity to idolize mere human realities is Gabriel’s special mission from the Queen of Heaven.
She also commands blessed Raphael to heal afflictions of body and soul brought on by illness and sin. Raphael takes on a much more powerful role in the modern world, which has lost a realistic sense of sin and is compromised by so much graphic and spiritual evil.
Ask Mary to Send Them
As we approach the feast of the Archangels on September 29th (which, unfortunately, occurs on a Sunday this year), we must not neglect to ask the Queen of Angels to send these spiritual warriors into our lives for strength, focus, healing and above all, the gift of faith, to save our souls.
Our Lady surely delights in these glorious beings who do the Will of God so perfectly. She delights even more in sending them to protect our souls and lead us to our heavenly home with her.
Our Lady, Untier of Knots, with the help of the archangels, undo the knots of our false understanding of God, of idolatry and ill health.
By Peter Darcy