Today is the feast that, in our Anglican days we called St Michael and All Angels. Now we have to get used to it being the feast of the archangels, St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael. There are some lovely folk traditions associated with this feast and we use the recipes from the Lavender and Lovage blog. This year I have forgotten to get blackberries so will have to hunt some out!
One of the passages in the Office of Readings this morning was from a sermon by St Gregory the Great explaining that angels are angels by their function, rather than nature.
Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”
Today is a good day to remind us that we can ask the Archangels for their prayers. The prayer to St Michael is probably the most famous and is prayed at the end of our said masses. There is a very lovely prayer to St Raphael to ask for his intercession for healing:
Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners. I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favour [here mention your special intention], and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
And for those who like a little philosophy with your blackberries, we enjoy reading Peter Kreeft’s article about Angels.
However you choose to celebrate, have a happy Michaelmas!