Archangel, to be precise. The Roman calendar celebrates three mysterious beings today, but the one I always focus on is Raphael, the healer. It helps that he features prominently in my favorite book of the Bible. Raphael, knowledgeable about strange fish, also plants the seed of love in the heart of a young man who seems to be on a quest for mere material wealth:
Brother, today we shall stay with Raguel. He is your relative, and he has an only daughter named Sarah. I will suggest that she be given to you in marriage, because you are entitled to her and to her inheritance, for you are her only eligible kinsman. The girl is also beautiful and sensible. Now listen to my plan. I will speak to her father, and as soon as we return from Rages we will celebrate the marriage. For I know that Raguel, according to the law of Moses, cannot give her to another man without incurring the penalty of death, because you rather than any other man are entitled to the inheritance.
Tobiah, though living several days’ journey away, inexplicably knows the beautiful and sensible Sarah has some baggage. He protests:
Brother Azarias, I have heard that the girl has been given to seven husbands and that each died in the bridal chamber. Now I am the only son my father has, and I am afraid that if I go in I will die as those before me did, for a demon is in love with her, and he harms no one except those who approach her. So now I fear that I may die and bring the lives of my father and mother to the grave in sorrow on my account. And they have no other son to bury them.
The angel persists:
Do you not remember the words with which your father commanded you to take a wife from among your own people? Now listen to me, brother, for she will become your wife; and do not worry about the demon, for this very night she will be given to you in marriage. When you enter the bridal chamber, you shall take live ashes of incense and lay upon them some of the heart and liver of the fish so as to make a smoke. Then the demon will smell it and flee away, and will never again return. And when you approach her, rise up, both of you, and cry out to the merciful God, and he will save you and have mercy on you. Do not be afraid, for she was destined for you from eternity. You will save her, and she will go with you, and I suppose that you will have children by her.
And you know why Raphael is patron of matchmakers as well as healers:
When Tobias heard these things, he fell in love with her and yearned deeply for her.
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.