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Friday, October 24, 2014
Feast of St. Raphael the Archangel

The Church, having recently celebrated the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, now celebrates the Feast of St. Raphael.

Again to summarize: Angels are pure, created spirits. The name angel means servant or messenger of God. They are celestial or heavenly beings, on a higher order than human beings. An angel has no body and does not depend on matter for his existence or activity. They are distinct from saints, which men can become. Angels have intellect and will, and are immortal. They are a vast mulitude, but each is an individual person. Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels listed in the Bible. In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim and 9) Seraphim.

The Archangels who we know by name (Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel) are called Archangels because of their high rank (arching above the other angels).  They are not Archangels as in terms of the second lowest tier.  Rather, these three are three of the seven seraphim angels, the highest ranking, who continuously stand before the presense of God in Heaven.

Source: Tradition Latin Mass Propers in English

Archangel Raphael is known through the Book of Tobias in the Old Testament. He appeared in human form as a gracious young man called Azarias, to protect the younger Tobias on his journey from Ninive to a city of the Medes. In the process he found a wife for Tobias, and later delivered her from an evil spirit; he also healed the elder Tobias of blindness. Raphael is "one of the seven who stand before the Lord" (Tob. 12:15). Today's Prayer speaks of him as a companion in journeys. The Reading shows him as presenting our prayers to God. The Gospel is a reminder of Raphael's healing powers, for his name means "God has healed."

INTROIT Ps. 102:20

Bless the Lord all you His angels, you mighty in strength who do His bidding, obeying the voice of His commands. Ps. 102:1. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all my being bless His holy Name.
V. Glory be . . .


O God, who sent the blessed Archangel Raphael to accompany Your servant Tobias on his journey, grant that we, Your servants, may also be guarded by him always and strengthened by his assistance. Through our Lord.

LESSON Tob. 12:7-15

In those days, the angel Raphael said to Tobias: "For it is good to hide the secret of a king: to reveal and confess the works of God. Prayer is good with fasting and alms more than to lay up treasures of gold. For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting. But they that commit sin and iniquity, are enemies to their own soul. I discover then the truth unto you, and I will not hide the secret from you." When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner, and hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord."

GRADUAL Tob. 8:3; PS. 146:5

Raphael, the angel of the Lord, took the devil and bound him.
V. Great is our Lord, and great His power!

Alleluia, alleluia! V. Ps. 137:1-2

I will sing Your praise in the sight of the angels; I will worship in Your holy temple and give glory to Your Name, O Lord. Alleluia!

GOSPEL John 5:1-4

After these things was a festival day of the Jews: and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered: waiting for the moving of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.


An Angel stood before the altar of the temple, having in his hand a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, and the smoke of the incense went up before God.


O Lord, graciously accept the sacrifice of praise we offer You. May it bring us closer to our salvation through the angel's prayers of intercession. Through Christ, our Lord . . .


All you Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord; sing a hymn of praise and exalt Him above all forever.

O Lord God, send the holy Archangel Raphael to help us, so that he, who we believe stands always before Your Throne, may present our humble prayers for Your blessing. Through our Lord . . .


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