Today we've got lots of plans. It's the feast of the three archangels mentioned in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Our little Michael has been looking forward to his feast day for months. He gets a pass from lessons and at the current moment is painstakingly setting the dining room table up to be all sorts of fancy for our dinner tonight.
I love St. Michael. Obviously. We wouldn't have named our kid after him if he weren't kind of important to us. He's had our back so many times over the years and we ask for his protection for our family every day.
But instead of talking about Michael today, I kind of want to talk a little bit about poor neglected Raphael. Raphael, the patron of this blog, a patron of our family, and whose name in Hebrew means It is God Who Heals, is one of my all-time favorite intercessors. He is the best. Patron of healing, marriage, travelers, happy meetings, and more, he found me about seven years ago when I needed him desperately. Des-per-ate-ly. His story is found in the book of Tobit and even if you aren't Catholic and don't recognize the book as canon, I encourage you to read it. The story is absolutely beautiful. It's dramatic and weird and engaging and mind-blowing when you ponder the meaning behind it. A very long story waaaay abridged: the archangel disguised as the man Azarias guides Tobiah on his journey protecting him from a demon, healing his father from blindness (using fish guts!), and convincing Tobiah to wed Sara and freeing her from the demon who had been killing each of her seven previous grooms on their wedding night. The story is an amazing account of the work of this messenger of God and how God longs to heal us in all the ways and is so very concerned with the details of our lives. The book contains one of the most beautiful and simple prayers of holy married love.
This great archangel found me at a time when I was quite near broken. I felt lost, alone, and we were in desperate need of healing in our marriage from all sorts of demons of our own. I was so close to giving it all up, my heart a shattered mess. I began attending a daily Mass several times a week at a brand new parish about twenty minutes from our home. The parish was named St. Raphael. While standing next to a stunning statue of the patron, the resident priest gave me a small book about his story, his intercession, and his work. I didn't know anything about him. I read it and was hooked.
I claimed him as a patron for our family and our marriage and feel sure that his intercession was critical to the healing we have experience in our marriage and within each of us individually. Only a straight up angel of God could've pulled us out of the mess we were in. Who knows, maybe I can someday convince the husband to let me use the name on a potential kiddo as a small thank you.
Today I'm remembering again how much Raphael has done for us. I'm grateful for the protection and guidance he has given to our family and I'm asking for his intercession even more. I encourage you, especially those who are desperate, those who feel on the brink of losing everything and who need healing, be it physical, mental, emotional, or in relationships, to reach out to this one of seven who stands before the throne of God and discover the power of Raphael, Healer of God.
Due to the story in Tobit, Raphael is claimed patron of (ready for this list?):
St. Raphael, Healer of God, pray for us.
"I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One."
Our dinner tonight includes angel hair pasta, pan fried tilapia (fish for Raphael!), and, of course, our Devil's Food Cake in honor of Saint Michael. I suppose it's Gabriel's turn to be neglected because I couldn't come up with anything for him :)