In the mid-1980s and for about twenty more years, angels were depicted as dolphins, or, if they had a more human visage, were often presented as feminine and effeminate, often with the Christmas decorations of Western materialism: long blonde hair, gentle facial features, and with ever so dainty, delicate, ethereal wisps of clothing with matching wings. Without the wings, no one would ever have guessed that they were angels, mistaking them rather for a super-model Barbie that had been crossed with Peter Pan’s fairy.
The archangels are all kind of like the more rough and tumble images we have of Saint Michael.
The name Raphael means “Physician-of-God” (not any doctor that God needs, but the messenger of healing that God sends to us). Raphael also, of course, battles with Satan. From the book of Tobit: “The demon [...] fled into Upper Egypt; Raphael pursued him there and bound him hand and foot. Then Raphael returned immediately.” Raphael, mind you, would have had to have appeared as someone fitting the description of a capable bodyguard, able to fend off any danger of any circumstance. The image here is that of Saint Michael’s foot, so to speak, stomping Satan into the dirt. But it is a fitting image of Saint Raphael doing the same with Satan.
The name Gabriel means “War-Hero-of-God”, a kind of black-ops, special forces, seal team type, pretty much constituting an entire military in his own person. You can read about his exploits in the last chapters of the book of Daniel. It is interesting that in all this warfare, Saint Michael is the one who helps Gabriel, not the other way around. Gabriel, when he appeared at the annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, must have done so with all the splendor of military bearing that he could muster. She is about to enter into the war with Satan full on, that war mentioned in Genesis 3,15, where we read of the enmity between Satan and herself, between Satan’s “seed” (his followers) and her “Seed” (the Redeemer, and His Mystical Body). Of course, the warrior of all warrior angels is sent to her to make the announcement of the Incarnation of the Prince of Peace, who will lay down His life for us. Since the thesis has everything to do with explaining all this, as will the popular version of that thesis, Saint Gabriel is a patron saint of Holy Souls Hermitage. But I have always felt close to him. The image here is that of Saint Michael dispatching the power of Satan, but this is a fitting image of the work of Saint Gabriel as well.
The name Michael means “Who-Is-Like-God”. He battles with Satan, especially inasmuch as Satan prowls the world looking for the ruin of souls. Again, you can read about him in the last chapters of the book of Daniel, as well as in the Apocalypse.
Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan
and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.