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St. Gabriel Archangel

St. Gabriel Archangel by Brenda Nippert

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Gabriel means “Messenger of God”. It was Gabriel who announced the time of the coming of the Messiah to the prophet Daniel. He appeared to Zachariah in the Temple to announce the birth of John the Baptist. Of course, his most famous announcement was when he approached the Virgin Mary to ask her to be the mother of God. Gabriel's words echoed throughout the ages as his greeting “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art though amongst women...” became part of the Hail Mary prayer. The lily often symbolizes Gabriel because of his offer of never ending purity to Mary.

His feast day is September 29.

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St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his visions. Gabriel is described as, "one who looked like man," as he interprets Daniel's visions. He speaks to Daniel while he is sleeping. After Gabriel's first visit, Daniel becomes tired and sick for days. Gabriel later visits Daniel again providing him with more insight and understanding in an answered prayer.

In the New Testament, Gabriel, described as "an angel of the Lord," first appears to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. He tells him, "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth." Luke 1:13.

After Elizabeth conceived and was six months pregnant, Gabriel appears again. The Book of Luke states he was sent from God to Nazareth to visit the virgin married to a man named Joseph. Gabriel said to Mary, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." Luke 1:28.

"Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:30-33

Gabriel told Mary she would conceive from The Holy Ghost and the baby will be the Son of God.

After the Annunciation of Mary, Gabriel is not spoken of again.

Gabriel's attributes are the Archangel; he is clothed in blue or white; and is seen carrying a lily, a trumpet, a shining lantern, a branch from Paradise, a scroll or a scepter. In art, Gabriel is often represented in the scene of the Annunciation.

He is occasionally cited as the one who blows God's trumpet to indicate the Lord's return to Earth. However, the person designated with this task varies; different passages cite different people. The earliest known identification of Gabriel as the trumpet holder comes in 1455 represented in Byzantine art.