Today is the feast day of these three Archangels. With all due respect to Bill Maher and his ilk please allow me to share with you some of the reasons I have a personal relationship with three great messengers of God.
Michael is mentioned in Revelations as throwing out Lucifer and his angels from heaven. He is pictured as a great fighter. A defender of right. Many years ago when I had only one and then two children I found an altar dedicated to St. Louis and St. Michael in St. Patrick's Cathedral just to the left of the Blessed Mother's Chapel. I was doing rather poorly at the time and I admit I was a bit frightened by the prospects and my having the responsibility of being a father. I prayed to St. Michael (Louis as well) for guidance and a bit of stiffening of the spine, asking I guess, for greater trust in God. I promised to name my next son with their names as a token of my thanks for their help. I received their help and my third son bears their names. My son not only bears his name but I can see the influence Michael has had on him as he looks over him. He has given him his fire, enthusiasm and drive, maybe a little two much. I am told when he was growing up he would get into fights but one mistake, he'd take on the guys who were bigger than himself. But Michael's drive and devotion to his beliefs are very apparent in his namesake. I have no fear for my son he's in good hands.
Gabriel is the one God sent to Mary to gently tell her of the plan which she graciously accepted. He is also said to be the one who will blow the trumpet loud and clear at the second coming. I too was a trumpet player, one with not a lot of confidence. The first gig I played at Sunny's Bar and Grill in Howard Beach found me so nervous my stomach was quivering so much that my vibrato sound like Guy Lombardo's band only worse. So I latched onto to Gabriel and boy, did he help. Slowly I gained confidence. I got into Local 802 when I was 17. Back then you didn't just pay the entrance fee, they tested you. The tester stuck "Beautiful Dreamer" on the music stand and after I played it he had me transpose it a key higher and then another key higher; he had me play many chords and scales and tested my range. Well Gabe worked hard because he got me through it as he got me into the the Army Band and helped me hit a double C when I was alone standing before a couple of hundred men in the boondocks of Georgia. I do think Gabe likes Jazz better than classical or heavenly music but I have no proof of that. All I know he's been there for me more than once and I love him for that.
Raphael is in the "Book of Tobit". This old testament scripture is part of the Septuagint, the first Greek translation of the old testament and does not appear in the Jewish and/or most Protestant Bibles. Raphael guides Tobias through many obstacles not the least of which the girl Tobias wanted to marry had seven previous marriages and all of her husbands died on the marriage night. I don't know about you but I would've stayed away from THAT girl but Raphael was asked to help and he got them through the night AND they had a good life with many children. Raphael also helped Tobit, Tobais' father to shed his cataracts. He guided Tobias through his long journey and got him to his destination and back safely and successfully.
I promised Raphael that one of my sons would bear his name and my second son does, his second name as his first is Anthony. What Italian household would pass up Anthony? We rarely use the name Raphael and my father only called him by his first name. A few things worth mentioning. Raphael was depicted as God's messenger to bring love and understanding to the families involved, including that poor girl I mentioned before who was beginning to feel like a bad omen. He was gentle in his manner and way. He cured and rejoiced in people being happy. My second son is in the business of helping children many of which are compromised and he does so with compassion and love. He guides, helps and soothes. Raphael, I am sure is a great influence in his life. My father had colon cancer and in Jan. 1971 went through the tunnel to the white light led by Raphael. Remember, he never called my son by that name and except for the Baptism he never heard us use it. He had a large family and there wasn't a Raphael among them. Yet on the night he passed after many years of intense suffering, as he was in a coma he was heard calling for Raphael over and over again. Then there was quiet after the last call. Raphael, guided him as he did Tobias to his destination, to the white light to be in union with Jesus Christ and his Mom and Dad and brothers he'd left so long ago in Italy. He was home brought by Raphael the Archangel. Who else would he be calling by that name?
So my faithful messengers of God, Happy feast day.