Fr. Paul Mark speaks on God’s Holy Angels: “September 29, the feast of St. Michael and All Angels, holds a personal meaning for me. It was this day, in 1981, that I was admitted into the novitiate and received the white habit of the Trappist-Cistercian novice, here at Vina. Sts. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and All the Angels became the patrons of my novitiate but also the patrons of my monastic vocation.
Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, are, unsurprisingly, Hebrew names. Michael means “Who is like God?”, Gabriel “Strength of God”, and Raphael, “Medicine of God”.
Michael is mentioned three times in the Old Testament and two times in the New Testament. In all cases Michael is a protector from evil forces, an appropriate name to remind us that no power, earthly or spiritual, can contend with God, for “Who is like God?”.
We are familiar with Gabriel as God’s messenger to both Zechariah and to Mary, announcing to them the good news of the coming births of John the Baptist and of Jesus, the Messiah. In both cases this news troubles Zechariah and Mary, but for different reasons. Zechariah and Mary needed the special “Strength of God” as both had significant roles in salvation history. Zechariah was the father of the last of the Old Testament prophets, and Mary the mother of the Savior of the world.
Raphael accompanied Tobiah on his journey from his home at Nineveh to Media to claim the family inheritance and there to take Sarah as his wife. Through many adventures Raphael returns Tobiah and his new wife safely to his father and mother, Tobit and Anna. At the end of the journey Raphael reveals his identity and cures both Tobit and Sarah since he is the “Medicine of God”.
These angels, as the word “angel” means, are messengers from God, as presence and face of God, among us.
God keep you,
Your brothers of New Clairvaux
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