Monday, October 24, 2016

Saint Raphael, Archangel

White
Double

The approach of the great solemnity, which will soon be shedding upon us all the splendors 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 confirmity with the dispositions of our common Mother. It will not, however, be out of keeping to give a thought to the great Archangel, honored 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.

And when father and son endeavored, 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 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.

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 country 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.

We will borrow from the Ambrosian Breviary a hymn in honor of the bright Archangel.

Hymn

Divine ductor, Raphael,
Hymnum benignus suscipe
Quem nos canendo supplices,

O Raphael, divinely sent guide, graciously receive the hymn we suppliant address to thee with joyful voice.

Lætis sacramus vocibus.
Cursum salutis dirige,
Gressusque nostros promove:
Ne quando aberrent devii,
Cœli relicto tramite.

Make straight for us the way of salvation, and forward our steps: lest at any time we wander astray, and turn from the path to heaven.

Tu nos ab alto respice:
Lucem micantem desuper,
A Patre sancto luminum,
Nostris refundas mentibus.

Look down upon us from on high; reflect into our souls the splendor shining from above, from the holy Father of lights.

Ægris medelam perfice,
Cæcisque noctem discute:
Morbos fugando corporum,
Dona vigorem cordibus.

Give perfect health to the sick, dispel the darkness of the blind: and while driving away diseases of the body, give spiritual strength to our souls.

Astans superno Judici,
Causam perora criminum:
Iramque mulce vindicem,
Fidus rogator Numinis.

Thou who standest before the Sovereign Judge, plead for the pardon of our crimes: and as a trusty advocate appease the avenging wrath of the Most High.

Magni resumptor prælii,
Hostem superbum deprime:
Contra rebellus spiritus
Da robur, auge gratiam.

Renewer of the great battle, crush our proud enemy: against the rebel spirits give us strength, and increase our grace.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Ejusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Et nuno, et in perpetuum.

To God the Father be glory, and to his only Son, together with the Paraclete Spirit, now and for evermore.

Amen.

Amen.

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