In homily notes for the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael the Congregation for Clergy state that now more than ever Europe needs the protection, truth and healing brought by the Holy Archangels because of the threats from atheistic secularism and materialism.
‘The Angels invite us to rediscover that we, like them, continually receive our existence from God and that we are also called to stand before God. This is our communal identity and truth.’
The Archangel Michael’s role is to defend and protect God’s people from atheistic secularism:
‘He defends the cause of the only God against the presumption of the dragon. In every epoch the devil’s great temptation is to make man believe that God ought to disappear so that man can become great. The dragon not only accuses God, but also man as Satan is the one who ‘accuses them [our brothers] night and day before our God’ (Ap 12:10) The man who goes away from God does not become great but, on the contrary, he is deprived of his dignity and becomes insignificant. On the other hand, faith in God defends man, making him free, thus revealing his true greatness.’
The Congregation for Clergy remind Europeans of the importance of the Archangel Michael to our history, reminding us that, ’Today, more than ever, his powerful defence is necessary for us!’
‘St Michael’s other great assignment is to be the protector of God’s people (cfr. Dn 10, 13:21; 12:1) as where the glory God shines in His Church the envy of the Devil brakes out against it. Medieval Christians were very well aware of St Michael’s protective role and constructed beautiful Churches in his name. For example, the three Abbeys dedicated to St Michael: San Michele in Monte Sant’ Angelo Gargano, Sacra di San Michele in Torino (both in Italy) and Mont Saint Michael in France, which span Europe and are on a unique geographical axis that is 1000 M equidistant and orientated towards Jerusalem, testify to the ecclesial confidence in Michael’s protection for the whole of Europe.’
The Archangel Raphael’s role is to heal us from the blindness of self-sufficient materialism through bringing Christ’s healing light:
‘The Book of Tobias speaks of the healing of the blind. We touch upon how we are threatened by blindness to God today. There is the great danger that, when faced with all the material things we have and all that we are able to do, we become blind to God’s light. Healing the heart’s blindness, by announcing Christ, is the sublime work that we, together with St Raphael, have been entrusted. Only the experience of the regenerating presence of Christ, can make the new light shine in our sight and open up Heaven where the angels are ‘ascending and descending’ to serve and to praise God in communion between heaven and earth.’
The Archangel Gabriel, as the messenger of God’s incarnation, continually brings Christ to the world who seeks to enter into our lives:
‘The Lord stays tirelessly at the door of the world and of every heart continuing to knock: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.’ (Rev 3:20) He knocks at the door, in order to ask for the liberty to open it. He, entering in us and living amongst us, desires that our lives have the breath of God and the amplitude of Heaven.’
The Congregation for Clergy concludes:
‘Today, in the Holy Archangels, heaven luminously shines forth and is opened once more for us as defence, protection and as the happy announcement of God’s presence like the healing light for our eyes. Let’s thank the Lord for the gift of these powerful friends and, together with Her who is the Queen of the Angels, invoke their celestial protection for our good and the good of the Church!’
Protect the Pope comment: One of the consequences of living in an assertive secular country is that Catholics feel reticent to talk about our belief in the presence and activity of angels. Protect the Pope believes that if Jesus and the Evangelists talked freely and openly about angels, then we should also be as open and free to talk about their importance to our lives.
The other reason why Catholics don’t talk about angels is that due to collapse of catechesis over the past 40 years many Catholics know next to nothing about the Church’s rich tradition around the existence and actions of angels.
Protect the Pope recommends that we begin today a resurgence in our devotion to the Archangels and angels through praying at least twice a day the prayer of protection to Archangel Michael and at least twice a day the traditional prayer to our Guardian Angels. It will change all our lives for the better.