September 29 is the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels.
Names don’t always reveal much about the person who carries them. But that’s not true of the angels whom we honor. Michael, whose name means “Who is like God,” is known for his great power in fighting against Satan and his demons. Gabriel’s name means “strength,” and he certainly gave strength to Mary when he told her she would be the mother of God (Luke 1:28). Raphael’s name means “healer,” and he is the one who cured Tobit’s blindness (Tobit 11).
We can’t help but admire the archangels. Like all the angels, they have remarkable abilities. As pure spirits, their knowledge and power are beyond our comprehension. But they’re not like the superheroes in our comics. They live to serve God and worship him. Their wonderful gifts are only a pale reflection of his infinite perfection and beauty. What’s more, as amazing as they are, they really are “fellow servant(s)” along with us, and their inspiration can lead us to worship God more fully (Revelation 19:10).
Perhaps the best way to honor the archangels is to join them in worshipping Jesus. We can take our cue from Nathanael; Jesus told him he would see “the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). We have that same opportunity at every Mass. We may not see the angels, but they are there, adoring Jesus on the altar. Along with them, we can be caught up in the love and holiness of the Son of God and be moved to lay our lives down before him.
What’s more, we can do something the angels can’t. We can actually receive Jesus as our nourishment. All the qualities of God that the angels share—his wisdom, love, and beauty—are contained in the Eucharist. And that’s what we are privileged to take into our very bodies! There is nothing more inspiring than to see that God loves us enough to share his very life with us. The next time you attend Mass, know that you are in the company of angels, and join them in giving him all the praise and worship your heart can muster!
Thank the Lord today for his angels, who give you strength, heal you, and fight with you against the power of Satan and his demons. And although he has made us lower than the angels, yet he comes to us as the Bread of Life. Open your heart today to all the grace he wants to pour out in you through his Body and Blood.