Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 138 which begins with the beautiful  verse:

I will praise You with my whole heart…

Abraham with the Three Angels – Rembrandt

As we celebrate the feast of the three great archangels, known to us by name because of their appearances in the Bible, we are invited to explore all the aspects of our spirituality – our whole heart.


As bodily beings, we might most often pray by using our senses:

  • with what we read and see with our eyes
  • with vocal prayer or soulful music
  • with the transporting aroma of incense
  • with the tactile assurance of a rosary over our fingertips

But we are also spiritual beings. There are dimensions of our experience that could never be put into words. There are melodies playing within us too profound to be rendered in notes.

There is a Presence within us beyond and greater than ourselves, breathed into us at our creation, and longing for the fulfillment of Heaven. Our human experience is like a shadow cast over time by the Great Light Who lives and loves in us.


The angels are beings released from that shadow. They completely dwell in and radiate the One Who breathed them forth in the fullness of Light. They are the ones who companion us to the wondrous edges of our own possibility –

as Raphael did for Tobit (Tobit 12:1-22)
as Michael did for Daniel (Daniel 10:13-21)
as Gabriel did for Mary (Luke 1:26-38)

These stories might inspire us today to speak and listen to our angels, one of whom is particularly charged to guide us.


Poetry: A Sonnet for St. Michael the Archangel – Malcolm Guite

Michaelmas gales assail the waning year,
And Michael’s scale is true, his blade is bright.
He strips dead leaves; and leaves the living clear
To flourish in the touch and reach of light.
Archangel bring your balance, help me turn
Upon this turning world with you and dance
In the Great Dance. Draw near, help me discern,
And trace the hidden grace in change and chance.
Angel of fire, Love’s fierce radiance,
Drive through the deep until the steep waves part,
Undo the dragon’s sinuous influence
And pierce the clotted darkness in my heart.
Unchain the child you find there, break the spell
And overthrow the tyrannies of Hell.

Music: Confitebor Tibi Domine – Francisco Valls

Psalmus 138Psalm 138
1 Confitebor tibi Domine in toto corde meo quoniam audisti verba oris mei in conspectu angelorum psallam tibi1 I will praise thee, O lord, with my whole heart: for thou hast heard the words of my mouth. I will sing praise to thee in the sight of his angels:
2 Adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum et confitebor nomini tuo super misericordia tua et veritate tua quoniam magnificasti super omne nomen sanctum tuum2 I will worship towards thy holy temple, and I will give glory to thy name. For thy mercy, and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy holy name above all.
3 In quacumque die invocavero te exaudi me multiplicabis me in anima mea virtute3 In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me: thou shall multiply strength in my soul.
4 Confiteantur tibi Domine omnes reges terrae quia audierunt omnia verba oris tui4 May all the kings of the earth give glory to thee: for they have heard all the words of thy mouth.
5 Et cantent in viis Domini quoniam magna gloria Domini5 And let them sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 Quoniam excelsus Dominus et humilia respicit et alta a longe cognos cit6 For the Lord is high, and looketh on the low: and the high he knoweth afar off.
7 Si ambulavero in medio tribulationis vivificabis me super iram inimicorum meorum extendisti manum tuam et salvum me fecit dextera tua7 If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, thou wilt quicken me: and thou hast stretched forth thy hand against the wrath of my enemies: and thy right hand hath saved me.
8 Dominus retribuet propter me Domine misericordia tua in saeculum opera manuum tuarum ne dispicias8 The Lord will repay for me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: O despise not the work of thy hands

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