“I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord!” Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel are three of the archangels honored by the Church on September 29. Here’s a little bit about them, and the dramatic story of how Raphael helped a young man and woman.
LIVED: Angels are purely spiritual creatures, so they don’t have a birth and death date like people do. St. Michael’s name means, “Who is like God?” St. Gabriel’s name means, “God is my strength.” St. Raphael’s name means, “God has healed.”
MISSION: All the angels are God’s messengers, carrying our special missions to advance God’s plan of salvation.
ADVENTURES: “I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord!”
With those words, the man who had helped the young man Tobias on his perilous journey revealed his true identity, causing Tobias and his father, Tobit, to fall to the ground and hide their faces in fear.
But Raphael quickly comforted Tobias and his father: “Do not fear; peace be with you! Bless God now and forever.”
The angel’s surprise came at the end of a long adventure for two Jewish families living under foreign rule in Assyria.
Tobit, the father of Tobias, was a good man who buried the people killed by the cruel king, even though giving the king’s victims a proper burial got him in trouble. One day, Tobit went blind. He could no longer work, and prayed to God for death. He sent his son, Tobias, on a long journey to the town of Media, where Tobit had stored a lot of money.
Meanwhile, in Media, a young woman named Sarah was having her own problems. Every man she married died on the night of the wedding! Everyone thought she was killing the young men, but in fact it was a demon who did it. She,m too, prayed to God for death.
God heard the prayers of Tobit and Sarah, and sent his angel, Raphael, to help them. Raphael visited Tobias and Tobit disguised as one of their relatives. He went with Tobias on the dangerous journey, and the angel gave him lots of help along the way—including introducing Tobias to Sarah. And when Tobias decided to marry Sarah, the angel helped him bind the demon that was killing all her husbands on their wedding night.
After they were married, Sarah’s parents were so happy, they threw the new couple a wedding party that was twice as long as normal. Raphael went to get Tobit’s money, then guided Tobias and Sarah back to Tobit’s parents. Once they arrived, Raphael told Tobias how to use fish gall to heal his father’s blindness.
It was during this happy reunion that Raphael revealed his true identity to Tobit and Tobias, just before ascending back to heaven. “Bless God every day; give him praise with song,” Raphael called as he left.
And that’s what they did. M:C