As I child, I found great comfort in knowing that there were guardian angels out there, guiding us and protecting us from harm. The prayer “Angel of God, my guardian dear…” was prayed often in our house.

Later, when I was a young adult, Canadian singer-songwriter Jane Siberry’s poignant song “Calling All Angels” – and her remarkable voice and harmonies – was a popular one with our crowd. They spoke to our young and earnest hearts as we walked a new, more grown-up path. We knew we needed all the help we could get as the world around us changed and evolved, presenting us with unfamiliar situations and new moral conundrums.

Today, I find myself checking in with the angels regularly. Although I’m older now, the world continues to change and evolve. Let’s face it: these days it’s kind of overwhelming. We all need an angel or two to back us up and help us stay strong. A striking image from the 1987 Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire is that of angels gently embracing suffering people in ordinary settings (including on the subway). Although the angels are invisible to those they comfort, you sense that their presence is making a difference. And if you’ve watched the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, you’ve seen another fictional angel, Clarence, help a troubled man rediscover love and joy and the beauty of life.

Saints and archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are messengers from God who are named in the Bible. Michael defends Israel against its enemies in the book of Daniel, then leads God’s armies to victory over evil in Revelation. Gabriel is mentioned in Daniel as well, but Catholics know him for announcing to a young Jewish girl named Mary that she will bear the Son of God. Raphael guides the son of Tobit in the Old Testament.

Hence their missions:

Michael protects.

Gabriel announces.

Raphael guides.

Each is a patron saint to various causes as well, making them ideal companions as we journey through life. When your world becomes complicated, when you are finding it difficult to move forward, call on these three angels. They are always near.

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, pray for us!

Anne Louise Mahoney, Managing Editor, Novalis

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