— Council of Vienne ♰♰♰

Sunday, October 24, 2021

October 24 Feast of St. Raphael the Archangel

The Hebrew word for a doctor of medicine is Rophe connected to the same root word as Raphael. 


For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord. Tobias 12: 15

The name of this blessed Angel signifies "cure" of God. He is, according to his own testimony to Tobias, one of the seven Spirits who stand before the Throne of God. From having so safely conducted that good man on his journey to Rages, and the many helps afforded by him during his stay in that city, he should be invoked by travelers and voyagers, persons about to contract the sacred matrimonial engagement, as well as those engaged in trade and commerce. Indeed, all should beg his assistance, all being strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and standing in a greater or lesser need of it.

Aspiration--O Angel of God, illumine, defend and preserve me this day, and for ever.


Sermon of St. Bonaventure Bishop Lesson IV

Raphael is interpreted, "medicine of God." Note that Raphael heals us by bestowing three benefits to cure us of evil. Raphael the physician heals the illness of our souls by leading us to the bitterness of contrition. Therefore in the book of Tobias it is said, "When thou shalt enter thy house, anoint his eyes with gall." Tobias did so, his father's eyes were healed, and he saw. Why could Raphael not do this himself? Because an angel can not give contrition, he can merely point the way. The gall symbolizes the bitterness of contrition which heals the inner eye of the mind. As the psalm say, "Who heals the broken heart." The bitterness of contrition is the best eye salve. In the second chapter of Judges it is related that the angel ascended to the place of the weepers and said to the people, "I have led you out of the land of Egypt, I have done for you so many and such good things." All the people wept so that the place is called the place of the weepers. Dearly beloved, all day long the angels tell us of the blessings of God and recall them to our memories. Who created you? Who redeemed you? What have you done? Whom have you offended? If you consider these things you have no recourse but to weep.

In the second place, Raphael leads us out of the devil's bondage by recalling to our minds the passion of Christ. This is expressed figuratively in the sixth chapter of Tobias. Raphael says, "If thou wilt place a little piece of its heart upon the coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kinds of devils." In the eighth chapter we read that Tobias did place the little piece of its heart upon the coals, and that Raphael bound the devil in the desert of upper Egypt. What does this mean? Could not Raphael have bound the devil if the heart had not been placed upon the coals? Did the heart of a fish give such great power to an Angel? Not at all. The heart of the fish in itself could do nothing; its significance lies in it as a mystical figure. Here we are to understand that there is today nothing which can free us from the slavery of the devil but the passion of Christ. This proceeded from the depths of his heart, namely form His love. The heart is the warm fountain of all life. If therefore you place upon the coals, that is upon your kindled memory, the heart of Christ, that is the passion He underwent which sprang from the root of charity and font of all warm affection, the devil will be bound instantly. He can not harm you.

Thirdly, Raphael frees us from the wrath of God which we incur by sinning against God. He does this by inducing us to pray earnestly. This is what Raphael the Archangel told Tobias in the twelfth chapter, "When thou didst pray with tears, I offered thy prayer to the Lord." the angels themselves, so far as they are able, try to reconcile us with God. The devils are our accusers before God. The angels excuse us when they offer to God the prayers they have induced us to say devoutly. This we read in the eighth chapter of the Apocalypse, "The smoke of the incense ascended in the sight of God from the hands of the Angel." Those sweet fragrant spices are the prayers of the saints Would you appease God whom you have offended? Pray then with fervor. The angels offer your prayer to God in order to reconcile you with him. In like manner, it is related that when Christ was in agony in the garden, he prayed the more earnestly. An angel appeared and comforted Him. All this was done for our sake. Christ had no need to be comforted. Rather was it done to show that the Angels help those who pray earnestly, that they help them willingly, comfort them and offer their prayers to God.

From the Roman Breviary


Hymn for the Feast of St. Raphael, at Vespers

Jesu, 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 in 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.

Oh 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 the Almighty Father,
Sing we now in anthems sweet;
Glory to the great Redeemer,
Glory to the Paraclete;
Three in one, and one in three,
Througout all eternity. Amen

Prayer to Saint Raphael the Archangel

Glorious Archangel, St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travelers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the "physician of God," I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

(Indulgence of 100 days.----Leo XIII., June 21, 1890)


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