Today we celebrate the feast of the Archangels Michael and Raphael of whom we know very little.
Of Michael we know that the Bible presents him as the leader of the heavenly army. We see this in today’s reading that tells us, “War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.”
(This was written when Israel was under the rule of the Persians who pictured heaven as inhabited by good and evil forces.)
We know Archangel Raphael from the Book of Tobit that was written after the northern tribes were carried off by the Assyrians. Tobit’s father, Tobiah, was alone among his fellow captives who remained true to his faith. He often took care to give honorable burials to his slaughtered fellow countrymen.
When he needed to send his son on a mission to a far place, he went out to the market in search of a reliable guide. At that time Raphael, disguised as an Israelite name Azariah , presented himself; and he went on to help young Tobit accomplish everything.
When he and young Tobit returned, along with Tobit’s bride Sarah, Raphael revealed his true identity, saying:
“God commissioned me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord.”