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St. Gabriel Archangel

St. Gabriel Archangel by Br. Arturo Olivas, OFS

Artist Narrative:

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the Angel of the Incarnation, because God specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a very tender and devoted love for the Incarnate Word and his Blessed Mother more like your own.

I venerate you also as the "Strength from God" because you are the giver of God's strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God's faithful and teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions; renew my courage; comfort and console me in the problems, trials and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in his agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials.

I put my confidence in you. Saint Gabriel I ask you especially for this favor: (mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God made man and for his Blessed Mother I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, if it be God's holy will.

Pray for us, Saint Gabriel the Archangel, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

His feast day is September 29.

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Archangel. Messenger of God. One of the three angels mentioned by name in the Bible. Appeared to the prophet Daniel to explain the prophet's visions relating to the Messiah. (Daniel 8:16-26; 9:21) Appeared to Zachary in the temple to announce the coming of Zachary's son, John the Baptist, and to strike Zachary mute for his disbelief. (Luke 1:11-20) Appeared to Mary to let her know she'd been selected to bear the Savior. (Luke 1:25-38)

Thus he is throughout the angel of the Incarnation and of Consolation, and so in Christian tradition Gabriel is ever the angel of mercy while Michael is rather the angel of judgment. At the same time, even in the Bible, Gabriel is, in accordance with his name, the angel of the Power of God, and it is worth while noting the frequency with which such words as "great", "might", "power", and "strength" occur.

The Jews indeed seem to have dwelt particularly upon this feature in Gabriel's character, and he is regarded by them as the angel of judgment, while Michael is called the angel of mercy. Thus they attribute to Gabriel the destruction of Sodom and of the host of Sennacherib, though they also regard him as the angel who buried Moses, and as the man deputed to mark the figure Tau on the foreheads of the elect (Ezech., 4). In later Jewish literature the names of angels were considered to have a peculiar efficacy, and the British Museum possesses some magic bowls inscribed with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac incantations in which the names of Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel occur. These bowls were found at Hillah, the site of Babylon, and constitute an interesting relic of the Jewish captivity. In apocryphal Christian literature the same names occur, cf. Enoch, ix, and the Apocalypse of the Blessed Virgin.

Gabriel is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, but it is not unreasonable to suppose with Christian tradition that it is he who appeared to St. Joseph and to the shepherds, and also that it was he who "strengthened" Our Lord in the garden (cf. the Hymn for Lauds on 24 March). Gabriel is generally termed only an archangel, but the expression used by St. Raphael, "I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tob., xii, 15) and St. Gabriel's own words, "I am Gabriel, who stand before God" (Luke 1, 19), have led some to think that these angels must belong to the highest rank; but this is generally explained as referring to their rank as the highest of God's messengers, and not as placing them among the Seraphim and Cherubim (cf. St. Thomas, I, Q. cxii, a.3; III, Q. xxx, a.2, ad 4um).

—Excerpt from The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI

Name Meaning: God is my strength; God is mighty; man of God; the strength of God