---¤¤¤¤¤--- The Feast of Saint Raphael the Archangel ---¤¤¤¤¤---
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 Feasts of simple rite 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 today 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 couutry 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.
Taken from THE LITURGICAL YEAR, Vol. XIV, by Dom Gueranger.