Angels // Saint Gabriel the Archangel

Blessed Saint Gabriel, Archangel We beseech you to intercede for us at the throne of divine mercy: As you announced the mystery of the Incarnation to Mary, so through your prayers may we receive strength of faith and courage of spirit, and thus find favor with God and redemption through Christ Our Lord. May we sing the praise of God our Savior with the angels and saints in heaven forever and ever. Amen.

“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.” -Luke 1:30-35

The Hebrew name Gabriel means “God is my strength.” St. Gabriel is most known for announcing to Mary that she would conceive Jesus. He also announced the conception of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah. Theologians have even speculated that St. Gabriel could have been the angel who announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, and/or who comforted and strengthened Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane during His Passion.

While St. Michael is a protector and St. Raphael is a healer, St. Gabriel is a messenger - always proclaiming the Good News to humans. He is the patron saint of messengers and communication and broadcasting (hello, Heart of Mary!). His name signifies that he uses the strength of God to proclaim, and brings that same strength to the humans he visits as well. Mary and Zechariah needed God’s strength to accept the prophecies that were given to them, and to proclaim the arrival of the Messiah with both their words and their actions. Mary and Jesus, later on, needed God’s strength to endure the Passion and fulfill the mission of Christ.

We too can pray to St. Gabriel for courage, strength, and wisdom to preach the Good News to all we meet, to announce the love of God through our words and our actions. Do others come to know Jesus through your witness, through your love? Do you speak grace into your neighbor, strengthening them when they are weary and proclaiming hope and life to them?

What’s so beautiful about the Annunciation is that St. Gabriel and all of heaven literally had to wait for Mary’s response. She had the free will to say no. So do we, sisters. Heaven is ready and waiting to unleash graces upon us to allow us to spread the Good News, but we first have to accept. We first have to conceive Jesus in our hearts, as Mary did, before we bear fruit.  

Reflection: What is one way you can proclaim Christ this week, either in word or in deed?

To Jesus through Mary-Emily Naylor

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