St. Raphael: Our Joyful Angelic Friend

Couched in between the Book of Nehemiah and Judith can be found an endearing, heart-warming, uplifting and inspiring short Book of the Bible with the title Tobit.  Composed of only fourteen short chapters, the story runs smoothly and quickly with simple but profound messages for the whole world and at all times.

The Word of God is like a two-edged sword that pierces bone from marrow. Jesus reminds us that man does not simply live on bread alone but on every word that issues forth from the mouth of God. The Psalmist calls our attention to the fact that the word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path.

In this short essay we would like to focus upon one person present in this brilliant Biblical short-story and literary masterpiece — the person of an angel, whose name is Raphael. Our prayer and hope is that after reading and prayerfully reflecting upon the Book of Tobit and becoming familiar with this simple and humble composition, that you will be comforted with meeting, knowing, and loving a new friend that already knows you and loves you—the Archangel Raphael.

Indeed this Archangel greatly desires to walk with you, accompany you in this life so that he will be present with you for all eternity, absorbed in the love of the Blessed Trinity for all eternity.

 

Two Problems & God’s Intervention

The Book of Tobit presents us with two very serious problems from the outset! Two families are suffering excruciating pains that do not seem to have an easy solution.

Problem One:

There are two Tobits — the father and son.  The father is a very good man! During a meal, he leaves the table to help to bury the dead. But as it happens, exhausted due to his strenuous work of burying the dead, he falls asleep, but with his eyes open. Unfortunately, birds passing left their droppings that fall into his eyes.

To make a long story short, despite the intervention of the doctors and their various remedies, the poor man ends up blind — not able to see the light of the day, the color of the rainbow or the smiling faces of his family members. Imagine his suffering and all because he sacrificed himself to exercise a corporal work of mercy — to bury the dead.

Problem Two:

Not too distant from the residence of the two Tobits lived Sarah, a distant relative to the family of Tobit. The suffering of this young woman was beyond limits! Her most earnest desire was to marry a young man and to form a wholesome and God-fearing family. However, the devil, whose name was Asmodeus, intervened in a terrible fashion.

Every time that Sarah would marry, the wedding night Asmodeus would visit the room and slay her new husband, leaving him dead and the poor young woman a widow. This did not happen once or twice, but six times! The end result for Sarah was nothing less than total despair! The thought came to her that the best solution would be to simply go up in the upper room, get a rope and hang herself to end her endless misery.

Therefore, we are confronted with two very serious family problems; on a human level, seemingly beyond solution! However, all things are possible for God if there is faith. Indeed God can even move mountains. God will intervene in a surprising, but very powerful way, not directly, but indirectly through the mediation of one of His chief emissaries—an angel, better yet an Archangel, whose name was Raphael. Actually the translation of “Raphael” could be rendered “Medicine of God or “God heals”.

In short, Raphael is sent by God to accompany the younger Tobit to the home of Sarah for the purpose of sealing a marriage and avoiding future tragedies. On the way to the home, Tobit Jr. being led by Raphael, as they walk along the shore of the sea, they grab hold of a fish and cut out the liver of the fish which Raphael insists be brought with them to the home of Sara and her parents — which is done!

Upon arriving Tobit asks for the hand of Sarah in Holy Matrimony. The parents consent to giving up their beautiful daughter, who has suffered so much for having lost her previous six prospect husbands. However, before retiring that night and consummating the marriage, both Sarah and Tobit burn some of the gall of the fish—to ward away the evil spirits. But even more important, they both pray that God will protect them and bless their marriage. This being done in the name of God, the two are united in holy Matrimony and the evil spirits take flight. Most likely the other prospects died because they sought her for lustful motives rather than noble motives of pure love.  A great message today for our youth!  Thanks be to God and thanks be to the intercession of the Archangel Raphael, “God Heals”, Sarah’s problem was brought to a successful conclusion.

Now what about the problem of the elderly blind man — Tobit Sr.? Upon returning from his wedding and arriving home with his wife, accompanied by the Archangel Raphael, the angelic doctor insists on prayer and also to taking the fish  gall that was used earlier before the wedding night, but this time to apply the fish gall to the eyes of the  blind—father. Done with humility and obedience something consoling happened to the father of Tobit.  Something like scales that were covering his eyes peeled off and he was able to see once again. Another major victory and triumph over human evil—sickness, manifested by blindness. How kind, loving and good God truly is!

Therefore, before our eyes this Biblical passage manifests God’s loving and healing presence in healing two families with almost unsolvable predicaments—blindness and the loss of prospect husbands. Sadness to the point of despair was transformed into overflowing light for the eyes and joy to the young romantic hearts.

We would invite all of you to choose today a new friend—the Archangel Raphael, “God heals”.  We will present a list of the specific areas that this great angel can help you, come to your aid and lead you on to the path that leads to holiness, happiness, and heaven!

St. Raphael As The Patron Of…

Travelers.

He led young Tobit safely to the home of his future bride and spouse Sara. May Raphael accompany us and save us from the many dangers we experience on our journey to heaven.

Future Spouses.

It was Raphael that brought both Tobit Jr. and Sarah together as future spouses.  Today more than ever let us consecrate our young people to Raphael so that he might help them to make the right decision with respect to their marriage vocation. One wrong choice can prove catastrophic. May this holy Angel give them light and wisdom on this all-important choice.

Purity.

Before they married they prayed together, expressing their desire not to marry due to lust but for the noble purpose of forming a family. May our young people, through the intercession of Saint Raphael, pursue holiness of mind, feelings, body, thought and action!

Happy Meetings.

Furthermore, St. Raphael is the patron of happy meetings or encounters.  He was the one that presented the young couple to each other by travelling with Tobit Jr.  How often do we have meetings and encounters on a daily basis?  How often these meetings start with tensions and end worse?

Why not make it a common practice to invite the Archangel Raphael to be with you in your daily encounters with people.  Beyond a shadow of doubt, the meetings will be more peaceful and bear more abundant fruit. Try it!

Joy!

Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, insists on being missionaries to the whole world, in bringing the Good News of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to all people. However, the Pope insists that we cannot be walking around with a funeral face, but must radiate the joy of the Risen Jesus!

The Archangel Raphael, by his powerful intercession and will of Almighty God, transformed tragedy and utter despair into an overflowing and exultant joy! Blindness into sight and death into the joy of married love! May you choose the Archangel Raphael to be your travelling companion in life and he will preserve you in a constant state of joy of heart. Saint Paul exhorts us: “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it once again: rejoice in the Lord!” (Phil. 4:4)

Patron of the Eyes.

It was through the intercession of the Archangel Saint Raphael that this poor blind man, Tobit Sr. recovered his sight, by the application of the remains of the fish. How important today in our modern society to consecrate our eyes to Saint Raphael, Saint Lucy, and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In a pornographic society where so many people are addicted to the impure image — TV., internet, movies, indecent magazines, billboards, etc.—we must have some powerful intervention. May Saint Raphael help us to walk on the path of holiness and purity. May he help us to avoid the near occasion of sin; may he help us to control our eyes which are truly the mirror of our soul. May this great angel help us to live out the Beatitude:  “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” (Mt. 5:8)

Patron of Prayer, Thanks, and Praise.

At the end of this heart-warming story, the Archangel Raphael does not attribute the triumphs and successes to himself. On the contrary, the angel points to God and praises and thanks God and invites Tobit, the family as well as all of us to render praise and thanksgiving to God who is the author of all good gifts—sight, health, healing, marriages and vocations.

May this Glorious Archangel foster in our hearts an attitude of perpetual gratitude and a desire to constantly praise the good God for all the gifts He has so generously bestowed upon us.

In conclusion, you are never alone! Starting today, why not embrace a new friend, and angelic friend, an Archangel—Raphael. Ask him to walk with you, to accompany you, to be with you, to guide and protect you, to fill you with both purity and over-flowing joy. He longs for your friendship. If accepted he will be your strong and faithful friend on earth in time and for all eternity in heaven.

Saint Raphael, be with us; walk with us; pray for us; be our dear and constant friend!

image: Angelo Puccinelli Tobit Blessing His Son, Tobias, Accompanied by Archangel Raphael, 1390s, Philbrook Museum of Art /  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

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Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary and the author of Total Consecration Through the Mysteries of the Rosary and From Humdrum to Holy. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.

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