September 29, 2022 the Church celebrated the Feast of the Holy Archangels, so I thought this was a good time for some angel lessons.
Did you know that there are nine choirs or ranks of angels?
These first six choirs are the highest ranking and attend the thrones in heaven.
In these next three choirs, the angels are the lowest ranking. Guardian angels are considered among their number. Archangels are princes to the angels that rank beneath them. These three choirs attend to Earth.
The Church believes that there are seven archangels but only three of them are named in the Bible. The three are St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael.
St. Michael’s name translates to “Who is like God.” This is the archangel who is the highest of all God’s messengers. Of all the archangels, Michael is the one mentioned the most in the Old Testament and New Testament. Michael does battle against Lucifer and casts him out of heaven.
He is also considered the champion and protector of God’s people. It is also believed that he brings souls before God for judgement earning the name of Angel of Judgement.
A prayer often prayed in times of trouble:
“Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.”
St. Gabriel’s name translates to “Power of God.” He is mentioned most in the Bible after Michael. He played the messenger role in the Annunciation. He appeared to Zechariah, Mary and Joseph. He comforted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He is the herald angel and considered the angel of mercy and compassion.
A prayer to ST. Gabriel prayed for intercession at the throne of divine mercy:
O blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of divine mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.
St. Raphael’s name translates to “God has Healed.” He is mentioned once in the Old Testament. He is a companion, protector and healer. It is believed that he may have been the angel that stirred the water’s in the pool in Bethsaida.
A prayer for healing to St. Raphael:
Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land, sea, or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners. I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (here mention your special intention), and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A special devotion to all angels is found in the psalms:
In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
For you have heard the words of my mouth;
In the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
And give thanks to your name.