Archangel Raphael

A few years ago, I began a litany to Archangel Raphael, whose feast is today, and shared by Michael and Gabriel. I was trying to pull out themes from the book of Tobit, in which he figures prominently.

Raphael, messenger from God, pray for us.

Raphael, trusted companion and guide, pray for us.

Raphael, knowledgeable healer, pray for us.

Raphael, whisperer of love and marriage, pray for us.

Raphael, binder of demons, pray for us.

Raphael, source of good advice, pray for us.

Raphael, affirmation for generosity, pray for us.

Any additions?

The archangel has good words for generosity when Tobiah suggests to his father than an apt reward for his successful journey is to give half the loot to the companion. A nice canticle for sacrificial giving:

Thank God!
Give him the praise and the glory.
Before all the living,
acknowledge the many good things he has done for you,
by blessing and extolling his name in song.
Before all people, honor and proclaim God’s deeds,
and do not be slack in praising him.
A king’s secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be declared and made known.
Praise them with due honor.
Do good, and evil will not find its way to you.
Prayer and fasting are good,
but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness.
A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness.
It is better to give alms than to store up gold;
for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin.
Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;
but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies. (Tobit 12: 6b-10)

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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9 Responses to Archangel Raphael

  1. Liam says:

    My patron, adopted in midlife.

    Btw, I was wondering about the provenance of the painting, as I am a Venice hound and it looked like 18th century Venetian art. And it is by Guardi, circa 1750, from the Venetian church dedicated to Raphael, one of the original 9th century parishes of the city located in one of the under-touristed parts of the Dorsoduro sestiere. It seems this church and the angel have role in a novel:

    http://italy-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_church_of_the_archangel_raphael_venice

    The best-known American depiction of Raphael is probably as the Angel of the Waters of the Bethesda Fountain in NY’s Central Park:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/Bethesda_Fountain_central_park3.jpg

    This is a reference to the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, which while it does not name Raphael by name, by longstanding Christian tradition has been associated with Raphael as the archangel of healing.

  2. Archangel Gabriel is one of my patrons — also adopted in midlife, what’s up with that? Also a messenger from God or, as I like to articulate it, the Patron Saint of Blabbermouths.

  3. Rand Lee says:

    I am not a Christian, but I have been powerfully drawn to the Archangel Raphael for some years now. Does anybody know the oldest texts that refer to him?

  4. Liam says:

    The Book of Enoch, chapter 20, is perhaps the earliest reference by name; this book is considered non-canonical by Jews and Christians (except for the Ethiopian Coptic Church), and is classified as pseudopigrapha.

    The Book of Tobit (or Tobias) is the work where Raphael is not only named but an important actor. This book is considered canonical Scripture by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, but not Protestants nor Jews.

    There is a old tradition of Christian understanding of the angel of the Lord referred to in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John being an unnamed reference to Raphael.

    I know that Islamic tradition (though not the Quran itself) also acknowledges Raphael under the name Israfel.

    Of course, the importance of angels in the end is not for themselves but the way they point to God for us.

  5. Todd says:

    The classic text in the Scriptures would be the Book of Tobit, accepted in the early Church and by the diaspora Jews. I’m not familiar with any other non-canonical text. Readers?

  6. Anna Horn says:

    not many of my protestant friends are aware of the angel Raphael. When I say it in the book Of Tobit, they say that is not a part of the Bible. how can I talk to them about Raphael if there is nothing about him in the standard Bible?Thanks, Anna

  7. Todd says:

    Good question, Anna. Tobit was considered part of the Jewish canon before the second century by Jews living outside of Palestine. As such it was adopted as part of the Christian canon of Scripture very early. For all Christians, it was part of the Bible from about the 3rd to the mid-16th century. What the Protestant reformers did was to set the Old Testament by then-Jewish practice, which did not include Tobit.

    Protestants see Tobit as part of the apocrypha, included in some Bibles, but not accepted as the canon of Scripture. Do Christians accept the example of Wesley, or MLK, or Watts, or Calvin or Luther? They’re not in the Bible either.

  8. Patricia Conrad says:

    I want to start praying to Archangel Raphael.

  9. Deborah Billingha says:

    Recently I received healing by touch and the energy healer asked if I had ever heard of the Angel Raphael. I had heard but did not know anything of him. Apparantly I have a bright blue aura about me and that responds to healing. I am Protestant and not very familiar with the Bible so would appreciate any text or reference that I may read to expand my knowledge of Raphael. Thank you

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