WHY DO WE CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF THE ARCHANGELS?


Scriptures give no indication of the precise time of the creation of angels; it is assumed that they were created very early. Like us, angels were created in and receive God’s grace and love. But because, unlike us, they are non-bodily creatures, their response to God’s love did not require time and reflection to grow and mature. As soon as they were created and received grace, they had the opportunity to respond to God’s love and be welcomed into bliss. For them, this choice was once and for all time. Despite the skepticism of our modern age, or the romanaticism of New Age cultic belief in angels as interstellar messengers, angels created by God to be His messengers and Heavenly court are real. We know this from the many Scripture references to them and from the numerous mentions that Christ made of angels in His teaching. They are servants and messengers of God, intermediaries between God and man, seeking the fulfilment of God’s saving plan.
In the same way, we also know that there are good angels who follow and obey God and bad angels called demons or devils, who in pride refused to obey God’s commands. The Temptation of Adam and Eve presupposes the reality of evil angels or demons wanting to lead others into disobedience. Accepting the existence of angels then naturally leads to an acceptance of the devil and of hell, which is nothing more than the total and everlasting absence of God without hope of redemption. The pride of Satan and the other demons created hell. Accepting the existence of devils and of hell then leads to the understanding that Christian tradition holds that the Archangels have four tasks or offices:
 To lead the fight against Satan.
 To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.
 To be the champion of God’s people, the Jews of the Old Testament, the Christians in the New Testament.
 To lead away from earth and bring men’s souls to judgement.
September 29 celebrates the three archangels who were sent to man to proclaim wondrous messages, or defend mankind against the wickedness of the devil: Michael, whose name means ‘Who is like God?’ which was the war cry of the angels, led by Michael who cast Satan and his followers out of Heaven. He is especially honored and invoked as a patron and protector by the Church throughout history. Gabriel primarily appears as a messenger for God, in the Old Testament and the New. He was the angel who appeared to Zechariah to proclaim the conception of John the Baptist and then appeared to Mary at the Annunciation. The name means ‘man of God’ or ‘God has shown himself mighty’. Raphael means ‘God has healed’ This angel has acted as a guide to God’s people and healed others. He reveled his identity as “I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the throne of God.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “The whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.” (CCC 334) which in one of the reasons we pray the Prayer to St. Michael at the end of every Mass at the Cathedral – a powerful helper and one who protects each of us and the Church from Satan and evil.