Saint Raphael Archangel
This holy Archangel, sent by the Almighty to Tobias, himself explained who he was, in the following words: "I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord." Several authors maintain that he is one of those heavenly spirits who constitute the first and highest choir, and are called Seraphim. He is generally called an Archangel like St. Michael and St. Gabriel. Our knowledge of him is taken from the book of Tobias, the substance of which is as follows : Tobias, one of the captive Jews at Ninive, a good and faithful servant of God, when old and blind, remembered that he had lent a sum of money to a relative named Gabelus, living in the city of Rages, in Media, and wished to send his son, the young Tobias, to collect it. But unwilling to send him alone, he bade him go and seek a traveling companion to bring him safely to the place of his destination and back again. Hardly had the youth gone into the streets of Ninive, where he lived, to seek one, when he saw a beautiful young man standing girded as if ready to set out on a journey. This youth, as will be seen, was St. Raphael. Tobias asked him who he was and if he knew the road to Rages. Raphael answered that he was the son of the great Ananias, and knew well the way to Rages, and had made his abode with Gabelus, an inhabitant of that city. Tobias rejoiced and told it to his parents, who called the youth before them, and asked him whether he would conduct their son to Rages and back again for fair wages. Raphael consented, promising to do as they desired.
The two youths then set out on their journey. After the first day's march, Tobias rested on the bank of the river Tigris, and when he went to wash his feet in this river, an immense fish came suddenly up to devour him. When he called to his companion for help, Raphael told him to seize the fish courageously and draw him to land. Tobias did so; after which Raphael told him to open the fish, take out the entrails, and keep the heart, liver, and gall, as useful medicines. They continued their journey and took lodgings in the house of Raguel, who was of the same tribe as Tobias and who had an only daughter, named Sara, whom Raphael advised Tobias to take to wife. Tobias feared to do this, as he had heard that Sara had already been given in marriage to seven husbands, all of whom had been killed by the devil. Raphael, however, said: "Hear me, and I will tell thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. It is they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from their heart and mind."
Tobias exactly followed the directions of his holy companion and remained unharmed. While Tobias remained at the house of Raguel, his heavenly companion went to Rages, demanded and received without any hesitation, the borrowed money from Gabelus, returned to Raguel and having made a short stay there, accompanied Tobias back to his home at Ninive.
Anna, Tobias' mother, had meanwhile, grieved very much at the long absence of her son. She daily went to a high mountain and looked into the distance, to see whether her son was coming; and when, on the day of his return, she saw him from afar, she ran to her husband and informed him of his son's coming. Being blind, Tobias gave his hand to a servant and went to meet his son, as also did Anna. Tobias, the son, then took some of the gall of the fish, and anointed his father's eyes, as the Angel Raphael had told him to do before they had reached the house; and immediately the blind father recovered his sight. Indescribably great was the joy of the father, the mother, the whole household and neighborhood. Having given humble thanks to God for this new grace, Tobias told his parents how many benefits he had received from his traveling companion. "He conducted me and brought me safe back again," said he; "he received the money from Gabelus, he caused me to obtain my wife, and he chased from her the evil spirits and gave joy to her parents. Myself he delivered from being devoured by the fish; thee also, father hath he made to see the light of heaven, and we are filled with all good things through him. What can we give him sufficient for all these?"
Before his father could answer, he begged him to give so faithful a companion, as recompense, one-half of all the things they had brought. Tobias acceded to this proposal of his son without hesitation, and calling the Angel, they both begged him to accept one-half of all the things they had brought, as a recompense for his services. But the Angel said to them: "Bless ye the God of heaven; give glory to Him in the sight of all that live; because he hath showed mercy to you. For it is good to hide the secret of a king, but honorable to confess and reveal the works of God. Prayer is good with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures of gold; for alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sin and maketh us to find mercy and life everlasting. But they that commit sin and iniquity, are enemies to their own soul. When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner, and hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayers 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."
- By Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876.
Saint Raphael Archangel is first and foremost the Angel of healing. His name means "God heals". Also, he is the joyful saint patron of young people, purity, travelers, future spouses, and happy meetings. He is also invoked in the case of eye diseases, among other patronages.
Teachings of Saint Raphael Archangel
On righteousness: “Do that which is good, and no evil shall touch you. Prayer is good with fasting and alms and righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than much with unrighteousness. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold: For alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin. Those that exercise alms and righteousness shall be filled with life: But they that sin are enemies to their own life.” Tobit 12:7-10
"Learn that the good works done by men are offered by the Holy Angels to the Almighty, and are not lost, though they are not immediately followed by a reward. And understand well why the pious Tobias was visited with blindness. "Because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee," said St. Raphael. Hence, it is no sign that we are forsaken by God, or that we are not in favor with Him, when we have to suffer, although we lead a pious life. The misfortunes which assail the pious, are proof of virtue, and not a sign of divine anger.
From a homily of Pope Gregory the Great.
Prayer for the Youth with Saint Raphael Archangel
Saint Raphael, be with our youth; walk with them; pray for them; be their dear and constant friend!
Angel of travelers, accompany them and save them from the many dangers they experience on their journey to heaven.
Angel of purity, may our young people, through your intercession, pursue holiness of mind, feelings, body, thought and action.
Angel of future spouses and happy meetings, give our youth light and wisdom on this all-important choice.
Glorious Archangel, foster in their hearts an attitude of perpetual gratitude and a desire to constantly praise the good God for all the gifts He has so generously bestowed upon them.
Saint Raphael Archangel, pray for our youth!
Top picture: Portrait of St. Raphael Archangel, by Christopher Santer, Pacem Studio. Used with permission.
Bottom picture: Tobias and the Angel, by Evelyn Pickering de Morgan. CC0 Public domain.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6