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Monday, October 24, 2016

Sermon of St. Bonaventure on St. Raphael

Sermon of St. Bonaventure on St. Raphael
The name of this archangel (Raphael = "God has healed") does not appear in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in the Septuagint only in the Book of Tobias. Here he first appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of the younger Tobias, calling himself "Azarias the son of the great Ananias". The story of the adventurous journey during which the protective influence of the angel is shown in many ways including the binding "in the desert of upper Egypt" of the demon who had previously slain seven husbands of Sara, daughter of Raguel, is picturesquely related in Tobit 5-11, to which the reader is referred. After the return and the healing of the blindness of the elder Tobias, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tobit 12:15. Cf. Revelation 8:2). Of these seven "archangels" which appear in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, are mentioned in the canonical Scriptures. The others, according to the Book of Enoch (cf. xxi) are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel, while from other apocryphal sources we get the variant names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel instead of the last three in the other list.

Regarding the functions attributed to Raphael we have little more than his declaration to Tobias (Tobit 12) that when the latter was occupied in his works of mercy and charity, he (Raphael) offered his prayer to the Lord, that he was sent by the Lord to heal him of his blindness and to deliver Sara, his son's wife, from the devil. The Jewish category of the archangels is recognized in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 4:15; Jude 9), but only Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name. Many commentators, however, identify Raphael with the "angel of the Lord" mentioned in John 5. This conjecture is based both on the significance of the name and on the healing role attributed to Raphael in the Book of Tobias. The Church assigns the feast of St. Raphael to 24 October. The hymns of the Office recall the healing power of the archangel and his victory over the demon. The lessons of the first Nocturn and the Antiphons of the entire Office are taken from the Book of Tobias, and the lessons of the second and third Nocturns from the works of St. Augustine, viz. for the second Nocturn a sermon on Tobias (sermon I on the fifteenth Sunday), and for the third, a homily on the opening verse of John 5. The Epistle of the Mass is taken from the twelfth chapter of Tobias, and the Gospel from John 5:1-4, referring to the pool called Probatica, where the multitude of the infirm lay awaiting the moving of the water, for "an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved.And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under". Thus the conjecture of the commentators referred to above is confirmed by the official Liturgy of the Church.


For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord. Tobias 12: 15


The name of this blessed Angel signifies "cure" of God. He is, according to his own testimony to Tobias, one of the seven Spirits who stand before the Throne of God. From having so safely conducted that good man on his journey to Rages, and the many helps afforded by him during his stay in that city, he should be invoked by travelers and voyagers, persons about to contract the sacred matrimonial engagement, as well as those engaged in trade and commerce. Indeed, all should beg his assistance, all being strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and standing in a greater or lesser need of it.

Aspiration--O Angel of God, illumine, defend and preserve me this day, and for ever.



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Sermon of St. Bonaventure Bishop Lesson IV


Raphael is interpreted, "medicine of God." Note that Raphael heals us by bestowing three benefits to cure us of evil. Raphael the physician heals the illness of our souls by leading us to the bitterness of contrition. Therefore in the book of Tobias it is said, "When thou shalt enter thy house, anoint his eyes with gall." Tobias did so, his father's eyes were healed, and he saw. Why could Raphael not do this himself? Because an angel can not give contrition, he can merely point the way. The gall symbolizes the bitterness of contrition which heals the inner eye of the mind. As the psalm say, "Who heals the broken heart." The bitterness of contrition is the best eye salve. In the second chapter of Judges it is related that the angel ascended to the place of the weepers and said to the people, "I have led you out of the land of Egypt, I have done for you so many and such good things." All the people wept so that the place is called the place of the weepers. Dearly beloved, all day long the angels tell us of the blessings of God and recall them to our memories. Who created you? Who redeemed you? What have you done? Whom have you offended? If you consider these things you have no recourse but to weep.

In the second place, Raphael leads us out of the devil's bondage by recalling to our minds the passion of Christ. This is expressed figuratively in the sixth chapter of Tobias. Raphael says, "If thou wilt place a little piece of its heart upon the coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kinds of devils." In the eighth chapter we read that Tobias did place the little piece of its heart upon the coals, and that Raphael bound the devil in the desert of upper Egypt. What does this mean? Could not Raphael have bound the devil if the heart had not been placed upon the coals? Did the heart of a fish give such great power to an Angel? Not at all. The heart of the fish in itself could do nothing; its significance lies in it as a mystical figure. Here we are to understand that there is today nothing which can free us from the slavery of the devil but the passion of Christ. This proceeded from the depths of his heart, namely form His love. The heart is the warm fountain of all life. If therefore you place upon the coals, that is upon your kindled memory, the heart of Christ, that is the passion He underwent which sprang from the root of charity and font of all warm affection, the devil will be bound instantly. He can not harm you.

Thirdly, Raphael frees us from the wrath of God which we incur by sinning against God. He does this by inducing us to pray earnestly. This is what Raphael the Archangel told Tobias in the twelfth chapter, "When thou didst pray with tears, I offered thy prayer to the Lord." the angels themselves, so far as they are able, try to reconcile us with God. The devils are our accusers before God. The angels excuse us when they offer to God the prayers they have induced us to say devoutly. This we read in the eighth chapter of the Apocalypse, "The smoke of the incense ascended in the sight of God from the hands of the Angel." Those sweet fragrant spices are the prayers of the saints Would you appease God whom you have offended? Pray then with fervor. The angels offer your prayer to God in order to reconcile you with him. In like manner, it is related that when Christ was in agony in the garden, he prayed the more earnestly. An angel appeared and comforted Him. All this was done for our sake. Christ had no need to be comforted. Rather was it done to show that the Angels help those who pray earnestly, that they help them willingly, comfort them and offer their prayers to God.

From the Roman Breviary


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Hymn for the Feast of St. Raphael, at Vespers

Jesu, brightness of the Father!
Life and strength of all who live!
In the presence of the angels,
Glory to Thy name we give;
And Thy wondrous praise rehearse,
Singing in alternate verse.

Hail, too, ye angelic powers!
Hail, ye thrones celestial!
Hail, Physician of salvation!
Guide of life, blest Raphael
Who the foe of all mankind
Didst in links of iron bind.

Oh may Christ, by thy protection,
Shelter us from harm this day;
Keep us pure in flesh and spirit;
Save us from the enemy;
and vouchsafe us, of His grace,
In His Paradise a place.

Glory to the Almighty Father,
Sing we now in anthems sweet;
Glory to the great Redeemer,
Glory to the Paraclete;
Three in one, and one in three,
Througout all eternity. Amen



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Prayer for Safe Travel


The following prayer is an adaptation of the itinerarium, the prayer said by clerics to invoke God's protection before beginning a journey. The faithful who are about to travel may use this form to pray for God's blessing on their journeys.
Along the ways of peace and prosperity may the almighty and merciful Lord lead us, and may the Angel Raphael accompany us on the journey. So may we in peace, health, and joy return unto our own.


Let us Pray:
O God, who didst lead the sons of Israel through the sea over a dry path, and didst reveal the way to the three Magi by the guidance of a star; vouchsafe to grant us a happy journey and a peaceful time, that accompanied by Thy angel we may safely reach our present destination, and come finally to the haven of eternal salvation.

O God, who didst lead Thy servant, Abraham, out of Ur of the Chaldeans, safeguarding him on all his wanderings-- guide us Thy servants, we implore Thee. Be Thou unto us support in battle, refuge in journeying, shade in the heat, covering in the rain and cold, a carriage in tiredness, protection in adversity, a staff in insecurity, a harbor in shipwreck; so that under Thy leadership we may successfully reach our destination, and finally return safe to our homes.

Give ear, we pray Thee, Lord, to our entreaties! And direct the steps of Thy servants on the paths of righteousness, that in all the vicissitudes of the journey and of life, we may have Thee as our constant protector.

Grant, O almighty God, that Thy children march forth on a successful journey; and heeding the exhortation of Blessed John, the Precursor, let them come safely to Him whom John foretold, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.





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Hymn: Placare, Christe

O Christ, thy servants' wanderings spare;
For whom Thy Maiden-Mother's prayer
Beseeches at Thy throne of grace
Mercy before the Father's face.

Be near us, Angel from on high,
Whose name God's might doth signify;
Strengthen the weak with ceaseless ward,
And to the sad thine help afford.

Ye ninefold ranks of Angel-choirs,
Whose order for our help conspires,
All past and present ills dispel,
From future danger guard us well.

Drive far away in shamed disgrace
From Christian lands the faithless race;
That so the rule one Shepherd hold
Over one flock, one single fold.

To God the Father praise be done,
Who hath redeemed us through His Son,
Anoints us by the Holy Ghost,
And guards us by the Angel-host. Amen

(Roman Breviary)




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Prayer for a Christian Family


O God of goodness and mercy, to Thy Fatherly protection we commend our family, our household and all that belongs to us. We commit all to Thy love and keeping; do Thou fill this house with Thy blessings even as Thou didst fill the holy House of Nazareth with Thy Presence.

Keep far from us, above all things else, the taint of sin, and do Thou alone reign in our midst by Thy law, by Thy most holy love and by the exercise of every Christian virtue. Let each one of us obey Thee, love Thee and set himself to imitate in his own life Thine example, that of Mary, Thy Mother and our Mother most loving, and that of Thy blameless Guardian, Saint Joseph.

Preserve us and our house from all evils and misfortunes, but grant that we may be ever resigned to Thy divine Will even in the sorrow which it shall please Thee to send us. Finally give us all the grace to live in perfect harmony and in the fulness of love towards our neighbor. Grant that every one of us may deserve by a holy life the comfort of Thy holy Sacraments at the hour of death. O Jesus, bless us and protect us.

O Mary, Mother of grace and of mercy, defend us against the wicked spirit, reconcile us with Thy Son, commit us to His keeping, that so we may be made worthy of His promises.

Saint Joseph, foster-father of our Saviour, guardian of His holy Mother, head of the Holy Family, intercede for us, bless us and defend our home at all times.

Saint Michael, defend us against all the wicked cunning of hell.

Saint Gabriel, make us to understand the holy Will of God.

Saint Raphael, keep us free from all sickness and from every danger to our lives.

Our holy Guardian Angels, keep our feet safely on the path of salvation both day and night.

Our holy Patrons, pray for us before the throne of God.

Yea, bless this house, O God the Father, Who hast created us; O God the Son, Who hast suffered for us upon the holy Cross, and Thou, O Holy Spirit, Who hast sanctified us in holy Baptism. May the one God in three divine Persons preserve our bodies, purify our minds, direct our hearts and bring us all to everlasting life.

Glory be to the Father, glory be to the Son, glory be to the Holy Ghost! Amen.



(An indulgence of 500 days)