29 Sep 2015

Michael, Raphael, Gabriel; Members of the Family

Over at Aleteia, the Anchoress reflects on todays feast day of the Archangels:
At morning prayer, the psalms seem suited to the archangels. Psalm 29 for Michael, the power of God: “The Lord’s voice resounding on the waters, the God of Glory thunders; the Lord on the immensity of waters…” And for Gabriel, Psalm 25, a quiet prayer of hope and trust. For Raphael, a psalm that I love, 147: “The Lord builds up Jerusalem, and brings back Israel’s exiles. And heals the broken-hearted; and binds up all their wounds.” 
Michael – who is as God; Gabriel – God’s messenger; Raphael – God’s healing. They say what angels always say, “Do not fear.”
– Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk

My younger son has a particular devotion to the Archangel Michael, and took his name at his confirmation. Even when he was very small he would “talk” to Michael, and on the rare nights when he would awaken from a bad dream, we would whisper together about the powerful angel of God, the mighty warrior who puts down all that is evil and scary — dragons and prideful beings and such — and my son would be able to drift back into sleep having been consoled by the knowledge that such a warrior was on the job.

Once, when he was about eleven-years-old, my son ushered at a wedding and was gifted for his trouble with an Icon of the Archangel Michael. Bride and groom were both amused, nay, stunned, to watch him beam and clutch the treasure to his chest in heartfelt gratitude. That night, he fell asleep, still clutching Michael to his breast. “I’ve never seen a kid react to something religious like that,” the groom said. But my son and Michael go back a long way. There is history, there; it’s personal and private history, but it does a parent’s heart good, particularly when a son is grown into a man, to know that an angel plays a real and important role in the life of a family member.

An angel was standing near the altar in the temple; in his hand was a golden censer, and a large amount of incense was given to him. From the angel’s hand the smoke of the incense went up before God…
– Revelation, Chapter 8

When my elder son left for college, I slipped into his packs an Icon of Gabriel, God’s messenger. He put it up in his room, but wondered about it. Why Gabriel? I wondered about it, too, until I remembered that Gabriel is the messenger. My firstborn was going away, and I’m sure on some level, I was afraid I would never hear from him again. I think I hoped Gabriel would help keep the communication lines open.
 Continue reading here.

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