On September 29 and October 2 we celebrate feasts of angels and archangels. What do these feasts tell us about God?
Angels have been a consistent part of Catholic belief and faith. In scripture, angels are the messengers of God, intermediaries who communicate God’s will to humans.
Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) mention a number of angels but only three are named: Gabriel, Michael and Raphael. Gabriel and Michael also appear in the New Testament.
Using Matthew 18:10, the Church has taught that every human being is assigned an angel as their guardian, guide, protector and companion on life’s journey to God. The tasks angels are described as performing in scripture are the same tasks they continue to perform for all humans.
Michael is the mighty warrior defending and protecting the people of God from evil forces. Gabriel is best known for announcing God’s great favor and joy to both Zechariah, who becomes the father of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the highly favored of God who brings Jesus into the world. Raphael, appearing only in the book of Tobit, is sent by God to cure Tobit’s blindness and to guide and protect his son Tobiah on his life journey.
Angels are symbols of God’s continual, persistent and faithful love towards all. John Shea, a theologian poet, affirmed this reality in the phrase “the wings of God’s love beat above us all.”