Of the many angels—messengers of God—who appear throughout the Scriptures, only three are named. These archangels, so-called because they deliver messages of supreme importance, are celebrated today. Unlike human saints, the very existence of these incorporeal beings is a matter of faith. And yet their deeds are assigned a special place in the history of salvation.
Michael, a warrior, appears in the Book of Revelation, where he leads the armies of God in battle against the forces of evil. The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah to prophesy the birth of his son John the Baptist, and later he is “sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” His greeting to Mary resonates to this day: “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” The angel Raphael appears in the Book of Tobit, where he serves as a guide to the young Tobias.
We may not aspire to emulate these holy beings in the same way we do other saints. But we may invoke their aid and invite their assistance in resisting evil, in bearing witness to the good news, in navigating our way through the challenges that beset us, and in finding our way to those we are intended to meet.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
—St. Gabriel (Luke 1:37)