· Mass at Santa Marta ·
Celebrating Holy Mass on the occasion of the feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael at Santa Marta on Friday, 29 September, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of entrusting ourselves to the archangels so that they may help us fight against the seductions of the devil, bring us the good news of salvation and take us by the hand. In this way, they can help us avoid taking the wrong path in our life's journey while at the same cooperating with “God's design”. He recalled the words of the day's collect prayer: “Oh God, who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven”, and then pointed out that we share the same vocation as the angels. “We are, so to speak, `brothers'”, Francis explained. The angels “are before the Lord to serve him, praise him and also to contemplate the glory of the face of the Lord: Angels are the great contemplatives: they serve and contemplate, but the Lord also sends them forth to accompany us in the journey of life”, he added.
“Today, we celebrate three of these Archangels because they played an important role in the history of salvation and also because they play an important role in our journey towards salvation ”, the Holy Father said. He described Michael as being “great: the one who fights against the devil”, as described in the day's reading from the Book of Revelation (12: 7-12), and the devil as being our enemy: “troubling our lives: he always tries to seduce [us] as he seduced our mother Eve”. “This is mine' are the very words of the devil; he wins us over with seduction and then accuses us before God: `This [one] is mine, I will take him with me'”. “Michael fights against him”, he continued, because the “Lord asked him to fight [the devil] for us who are on our life journey towards heaven; Michael helps us to fight against him and to not be seduced by this evil spirit which deceives us”.
Archangel Gabriel “is the one who brings the good news, the one who brought the news to Mary, Zachariah and Joseph”, Pope Francis explained. He is therefore the messenger of the “good news of salvation”. He too is “with us and helps us along our journey”, especially when, as often happens, “with so much bad news or news with no substance, we forget the good news, the one of the Gospel”. It is “Gabriel himself who reminds us of this”, he added.
Pope Francis thus summed up the roles of the Archangels: “Michael defends us, Gabriel gives us the good news and Raphael takes us by the hand and walks with us; he helps us with the many things that occur along the journey”. We must ask Raphael to help “us not to be tempted to take the wrong step, to take the wrong path”, the Holy Father stressed. “Guide us along the right path; you are our traveling companion as you were [once] the traveling companion of Tobias”, he concluded.
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