Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Happy Feast of the Holy Archangels!
Today we celebrate the three archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. For a while I didn’t know much, if anything, about these angels, and they existed more like teenage mutant ninja turtles in my mind…probably just because of the name Raphael. But the more I learned about my faith, the more I began to understand why these three angels are celebrated in our Catholic tradition.
St. Michael is probably the archangel most of us know about—how could you not remember St. Michael after seeing the famous image of him and Satan: Michael’s sword raised, his foot on Satan’s head, scales in his hands...it's pretty awesome. Today’s first reading from Revelation speaks of the great battle in heaven at the time of the fall of the angels, when Satan rejected God and was expelled, along with a third of the heavenly host. Michael is often seen as the warrior angel because of this story, and our tradition has relied on his intercession to protect and strengthen us in spiritual warfare.
We then have St. Raphael, who is probably the dark-horse of the three named archangels. Raphael is named in the scriptures, just as Michael and Gabriel are, but his role is often a bit less emphasized. However, St. Raphael has been looked to by various devotions throughout the history of the Church for his intercession for healing. St. Raphael is seen in the book of Tobit, as he travels with Tobias, accompanying him as he prepares to marry Sarah. Raphael gives Tobias advice on how to survive his wedding night with Sarah (that’s a fun story I don’t have time to get into) and is also seen as the healer of Tobit’s blindness.
Finally, we have Gabriel, the great angel of the Annunciation. We know Gabriel’s story from our knowledge of the Annunciation, but he is also present in the Old Testament when he speaks to the prophet Daniel. Gabriel is tasked with the great and immense privilege of announcing the coming of Jesus Christ, the God-man! Gabriel is therefore the great herald of the Gospel.
Knowing a little bit about these archangels can help us understand a bit about God’s love for us. Each of the angels appears in the scriptures and act as a help from God to specific people for specific reasons. I see the work of these great archangels as a precursor to grace—God’s gift of divine favor to help us in our walk toward holiness. Through the intercession of these archangels, we experience a very real spiritual help and support as we journey toward God, and we can rely on their help. For many of us, angels are small, fragile, cute cartoon characters that are fun to think about. Some of us may pray to our guardian angel to help us and protect us. But we see in Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the help of God given to us in three strong and powerful beings. Let’s start praying more for the help and intercession of these great saints!
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How often do I ask the saints and angels to intercede for me as I go about my life? Why not more?
What keeps me from reaching out to ask for help from other people, both physical/material help and spiritual help?
How can I learn to ask for help from others, including the heavenly host of angels and saints, more easily and often?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Lord, I need your help."
"Holy Archangels, pray for me."
"Be my protection and my help."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Do some research into the archangels today, especially if you don't know much about them. See what their patronages are, look for chaplets or prayers asking for their intercession, and begin to invite them into your life through prayer more often.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, a Campus Minister and Theology teacher in Houston, TX.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.