October 24, 2021: ST. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL
October 24, 2021: COMMEMORATION OF ST. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL
“And now the Lord hath sent me to heal
thee... For I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord.”
(Tobias, xii. 14, 15)
O God, Who didst give to Thy servant Tobias, as the companion of his journey, thy holy archangel Raphael, grant to us thy servants that we may be always protected by his guardianship, and fortified by his assistance. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Jesus, brightness of the Father!
Life and strength of all who live!
In the presence of the Angels,
Glory to Thy name we give,
And Thy wondrous praise rehearse,
Singing the alternate verse.
Hail, too, ye angelic powers!
Hail, ye thrones celestial!
Hail, Physician of salvation,
Guide of life, blest Raphael!
Who the foe of all mankind
Didst in links of iron bind.
O may Christ,
by thy protection,
Shelter us from harm this day;
Keep us pure in flesh and spirit,
Save us from the enemy;
And vouchsafe us, of His grace,
In His Paradise a place.
Glory to th’ Almighty Father
Sing we now in anthems sweet;
Glory to the great Redeemer,
Glory to the Paraclete;
Three in one, and one in three,
Throughout all eternity. Amen.
In those days, the angel Raphael said to Tobias: For it is good to hide the secret of a king, but honourable to reveal and confess the works of God. Prayer is good with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures of gold. For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting. But they that commit sin and iniquity are enemies to their own soul. I discover then the truth unto you, and I will not hide the secret from you. When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and leave thy dinner, and hide the dead by day in thy house and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.
The approach of the great solemnity, which will soon be shedding upon us all the splendours of heaven, seems to inspire the Church with a profound recollection. Except for the homage she must needs pay, on their own date, to the glorious apostles Simon and Jude, only a few [commemoration feasts] break the silence of these last days of October. Our souls must be in conformity with the dispositions of our common mother. It will not, however, be out of keeping to give a thought to the great Archangel, honoured to-day by many particular churches.
The ministry fulfilled in our regard by the heavenly spirits is admirably set forth in the graceful scenes depicted in the history of Tobias. Rehearsing the good services of the guide and friend, whom he still called his brother Azarias, the younger Tobias said to his father: ‘Father, what wages shall we give him? or what can be worthy of his benefits? He conducted me and brought me safe again, he received the money of Gabelus, he caused me to have my wife, and he chased from her the evil spirit, he gave joy to her parents, myself he delivered from being devoured by the fish, thee also he hath made to see the light of heaven, and we are filled with all good things through him (Tob, xii. 2,3)
And when father and son endeavoured, after the fashion of men, to return thanks to him who had rendered them such good service, the angel discovered himself to them, in order to refer their gratitude to their supreme Benefactor. ‘Bless ye the God of heaven, give glory to Him in the sight of all that live, because He hath shewn His mercy to you. . . When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead. . . I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son’s wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord. . . Peace be to you, fear not; . . . bless ye Him and sing praises to Him.’ (Tob, xii. 6-18)
We too will celebrate the blessings of heaven. For as surely as Tobias beheld with his bodily eyes the Archangel Raphael, we know by faith that the angel of the Lord accompanies us from the cradle to the tomb. Let us have the same trustful confidence in him. Then, along the path of life, more beset with perils than the road to the country of the Medes, we shall be in perfect safety; all that happens to us will be for the best, because prepared by our Lord; and, as though we were already in heaven, our angel will cause us to shed blessings upon all around us.
An account of St. Raphael and Tobias.
This holy Archangel, sent by the Almighty to Tobias, himself explained who he was, in the following words: “I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.” Several authors maintain that he is one of those heavenly spirits who constitute the first and highest choir, and are called Seraphim. He is generally called an Archangel like St. Michael and St. Gabriel. Our knowledge of him is taken from the book of Tobias, the substance of which is as follows: Tobias, one of the captive Jews at Ninive, a good and faithful servant of God, when old and blind, remembered that he had lent a sum of money to a relative named Gabelus, living in the city of Rages, in Media, and wished to send his son, the young Tobias, to collect it. But unwilling to send him alone, he bade him go and seek a travelling companion to bring him safely to the place of his destination and back again. Hardly had the youth gone into the streets of Ninive, where he lived, to seek one, when he saw a beautiful young man standing girded as if ready to set out on a journey. This youth, as will be seen, was St. Raphael. Tobias asked him who he was and if he knew the road to Rages. Raphael answered that he was the son of the great Ananias, and knew well the way to Rages, and had made his abode with Gabelus, an inhabitant of that city. Tobias rejoiced and told it to his parents, who called the youth before them, and asked him whether he would conduct their son to Rages and back again for fair wages. Raphael consented, promising to do as they desired. The two youths then set out on their journey. After the first day's march, Tobias rested on the bank of the river Tigris, and when he went to wash his feet in this river, an immense fish came suddenly up to devour him. When he called to his companion for help, Raphael told him to seize the fish courageously and draw him to land. Tobias did so; after which Raphael told him to open the fish, take out the entrails, and keep the heart, liver and gall, as useful medicines. They continued their journey, and took lodgings in the house of Raguel, who was of the same tribe as Tobias and who had an only daughter, named Sara, whom Raphael advised Tobias to take to wife. Tobias feared to do this, as he had heard that Sara had already been given in marriage to seven husbands, all of whom had been killed by the devil. Raphael, however, said: “Hear me, and I will tell thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. It is they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from their heart and mind. Tobias exactly followed the directions of his holy companion, and remained unharmed. From how many evils would persons about to be married be saved if they had first received and followed suitable instructions from their pastors who, in regard to them, take the place of Raphael, advising them what they should do in order to enter the state of holy matrimony properly prepared. They should purify their heart by a good general confession and be married, not like heathens in the darkness of night, but at mass receiving the blessing of the priest at the altar. After marriage they should live as becomes the marriage state, faithfully fulfilling the admonition of St. Paul, sanctifying each other and taking care that their children shall become without delay children of God through baptism. Indeed how much displeased must be the guardian Angels of new-born children at seeing them, through the neglect of their parents to have them baptized in time, left in the power of the devil, in original sin and in danger of eternal perdition. While Tobias remained at the house of Raguel, his heavenly companion went to Rages, demanded and received without any hesitation, the borrowed money from Gabelus, returned to Raguel and having made a short stay there, accompanied Tobias back to his home at Ninive.
Anna, Tobias' mother, had meanwhile, grieved very much at the long absence of her son. She daily went to a high mountain and looked into the distance, to see whether her son was coming; and when, on the day of his return, she saw him from afar, she ran to her husband and informed him of his son's coming. Being blind, Tobias gave his hand to a servant and went to meet his son, as also did Anna. Both fell on his neck, kissed him and wept for joy. Having all entered their house, they adored the Almighty and gave due thanks to Him for the happy issue of the journey. Tobias, the son, then took some of the gall of the fish, and anointed his father's eyes, as the Angel Raphael had told him to do before they had reached the house; and immediately the blind father recovered his sight. Indescribably great was the joy of the father, the mother, the whole household and neighborhood. Having given humble thanks to God for this new grace, Tobias told his parents how many benefits he had received from his travelling companion. “He conducted me and brought me safe back again,” said he; “he received the money from Gabelus, he caused me to obtain my wife, and he chased from her the evil spirits and gave joy to her parents. Myself he delivered from being devoured by the fish; thee also, father hath he made to see the light of heaven, and we are filled with all good things through him. What can we give him sufficient for all these?” Before his father could answer, he begged him to give so faithful a companion, as recompense, one-half of all the things they had brought. Tobias acceded to this proposal of his son without hesitation, and calling the Angel, they both begged him to accept one-half of all the things they had brought, as a recompense for his services. But the Angel said to them: “Bless ye the God of heaven; give glory to him in the sight of all that live; because he hath showed mercy to you. For it is good to hide the secret of a king; but honorable to confess and reveal the works of God. Prayer is good with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures of gold; for alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sin and maketh us to find mercy and life everlasting. But they that commit sin and iniquity, are enemies to their own soul. When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner, and hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayers to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil. For I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.” Having thus spoken, the holy Archangel was silent, but Tobias and his son were seized with fear, and fell trembling, with their faces to the ground. The Angel cheered them, with the words: “Peace be to you; fear not. For when I was with you, it was by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises unto him. It is time now that I return to him that sent me: but bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works.” Having said these words, he vanished from their sight. They, however, lay prostrate on the ground for three hours, partly from fear, partly in wonder at the great goodness of God who had sent so high a prince of heaven to protect, comfort and help them. At length, having overcome their fear, they repeated their thanks to God, and announced everywhere, the benefits He had bestowed on them. The beautiful hymn of praise which Tobias composed on that occasion is to be found in Holy Writ.
And Tobias the elder opening his mouth, blessed the Lord, and said: Thou art great, O Lord, for ever, and thy kingdom is unto all ages:
For thou scourgest, and thou savest: thou leadest down to hell, and bringest up again: and there is none that can escape thy hand.
Give glory to the Lord, ye children of Israel, and praise him in the sight of the Gentiles:
Because he hath therefore scattered you among the Gentiles, who know not him, that you may declare his wonderful works, and make them know that there is no other almighty God besides him.
He hath chastised us for our iniquities: and he will save us for his own mercy.
See then what he hath done with us, and with fear and trembling give ye glory to him: and extol the eternal King of worlds in your works.
As for me, I will praise him in the land of my captivity: because he hath shewn his majesty toward a sinful nation.
Be converted therefore, ye sinners, and do justice before God, believing that he will shew his mercy to you.
And I and my soul will rejoice in him.
Bless ye the Lord, all his elect, keep days of joy, and give glory to him.
Jerusalem, city of God, the Lord hath chastised thee for the works of thy hands.
Give glory to the Lord for thy good things, and bless the God eternal, that he may rebuild his tabernacle in thee, and may call back all the captives to thee, and thou mayst rejoice for ever and ever.
Thou shalt shine with a glorious light: and all the ends of the earth shall worship thee.
Nations from afar shall come to thee: and shall bring gifts, and shall adore the Lord in thee, and shall esteem thy land as holy.
For they shall call upon the great name in thee.
They shall be cursed that shall despise thee: and they shall be condemned that shall blaspheme thee: and blessed shall they be that shall build thee up.
But thou shalt rejoice in thy children, because they shall all be blessed, and shall be gathered together to the Lord.
Blessed are all they that love thee, and that rejoice in thy peace.
My soul, bless thou the Lord, because the Lord our God hath delivered Jerusalem his city from all her troubles.
Happy shall I be if there shall remain of my seed, to see the glory of Jerusalem.
The gates of Jerusalem shall be built of Sapphire, and of Emerald, and all the walls thereof round about of precious stones.
All its streets shall be paved with white and clean stones: and Alleluia shall be sung in its streets.
Blessed be the Lord, who hath exalted it, and may he reign over it for ever and ever, Amen.
From this event, as true as it is wonderful, several historians, not without reason, conclude that the intercession of St. Raphael ought to be invoked by those who are either troubled or tempted by the Evil One, who are blind, or otherwise infirm, or who go on a journey. The name, Raphael, means “the remedy, or the physician of God,” and shows that this holy Angel assists particularly those who are sick, either in soul or body. The true Church teaches those who intend to undertake a journey to pray: “May the Angel Raphael be with us on our way!” from which we infer, that he is the especial patron of all travellers.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. V, Edition 1910;
The Lives of the Saints, Rev. F.X. Weninger D.D., S.J. Vol. II, Permissu Superiorum, 1876.
St. Raphael, pray for us.