By Fr. Joy Prakash, OFM –
We spontaneously call a person “an angel” who gives us timely advise or help. “You have been an angel to me”. In the Book of Exodus God says, “I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared” (Ex 23:20). Let us be thankful to God for his providential protection of us which came to us even when we were not expecting it. For our ingratitude, let us be sorry and ask the Lord for pardon and strength.
“You have made us a little less than the angels, you have crowned us with glory and honour” (Heb 2:7).
The Lord said, I will give my angels charge of you so that you will not dash your foot against a stone” (Mat 4:4).
Lord you said, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk 15:9).
The character of our spiritual journey will change when we realise that it is God who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding. As someone has said, “God is at home, it is we who have gone for a walk.” God’s joy would increase when I let God find me and carry me home and celebrate my return with the angels. The question is: can I accept that I am worth looking for? Do I believe that there is a real desire in God to simply be with me? The Lord has given his angels charge of you so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
Today we celebrate three of the most widely known angels. Two of them are famous: Gabriel who announced the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus to Mary, Michael, the ‘warrior angel” and leader of the angelic army against the rebel angels led by Satan. The third one is Raphael is lesser known. Raphael comes from the book of Tobit. Raphael serves as a guide for Tobit’s son, Tobias, on a journey to a distant city, Media. Tobias does not know the way, but Raphael does. “I have been there many times and know all the roads,” Raphael tells Tobias. Raphael serves not only as a guide but also expels demons, arranges healing.
Raphael is usually known as the patron of parents: Guiding the young along unfamiliar roads to destinations in life, expelling demons, resistance to guidelines and lack of confidence, helping to heal hurts, binding the broken-hearted. (Raphael is almost a fairy-tale figure. In the story told in the Book of Tobit, he guides a young man through a series of fantastic adventures.)
If you have done any of these things, you have been quite Raphael-like. And when you do, thank God for giving you the privilege, even if the results were not perfect. Raphael’s parting word to Tobit and his wife were: “When I was with you, I was not acting on my own, but by the will of God. bless him each and every day.”