Friday, September 29, 2006

Today is the Feast of St Michael and the Archangels: A Sermon of Pope Saint Gregory on Angels

11th century icon of St Michael
We speak of nine orders of Angels, because we know, by the testimony of Holy Scripture, that there are the following: Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim. It must be realized that "Angel" is the name of their office, not of their nature. For the holy Spirits of the heavenly homeland are always Spirits, but they cannot always be called Angels; they are Angels only when they are announcing something. Those who announce less important things are called Angels, and those who announce the highest things are called Archangels. And so not any Angel but the Archangel Gabriel was sent to Mary; for this ministry, it was fitting to have the highest Angel, since he was to announce the greatest news of all. These Archangels are also given special names to describe their particular virtue. For Michael means "Who is like to God?" Gabriel means "Strength of God," and Raphael "Medicine of God."
Whenever something is to be done needing great power, Michael is sent forth so that from his action and his name we may understand that no one can do what God can do. Hence that old enemy who through pride desired to be like God is shown at the end of the world, left to his own strength and about to undergo the final punishment, as destined to fight with Michael the Archangel, as John says, "There was a battle with Michael the Archangel." Similarly, Gabriel was sent to Mary; he who is called "Strength of God" came to announce Him who deigned to appear in humility to conquer the powers of the air. And Raphael is interpreted, as we said, "Medicine of God," for when he touched the eyes of Tobias to do the work of healing, he dispelled the "night of his blindness."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

What does the Church teach about Guardian Angels? Please tell us, Father.

Fr Ray Blake said...

wait for the feast next week

George M said...

Thankyou for this brief explanation of some of the points about the nature of Angels.
Can you help me understand the term "Theologian" as I am not familiar with Greek or Latin.
Does Theo mean "Truth" and Logian mean "of God"?

Fr Ray Blake said...

theo = God, logos = word/reason/communication,
therefore a theologian is some who speaks/reasons/communicates about God.
There is a tendency nowadays to speak of theologians as academics but St John Chrysostom said, "a theologain is one who prays, one prays is a theologian".

g. m. said...

Thanks, fr. Ray, for your comment,

Anonymous said...

Holy Archangels pray, do battle for Holy Church, let her enemy the Lord of this World not triumph over her in Europe.

James said...

That icon is amazing...