Communications of all kinds – in particular, consolation and guidance – are the basic attributes of the archangel Gabriel. His earthly visitations always portend a major change in human history. Islam credits the archangel Gabriel with dictating the Koran to the prophet Mohammed. Not only does the angel Gabriel, as a divine messenger, announce a coming event; he is also known to explain the meaning of the news, and to those who are frightened he offers consolation. It was Gabriel who remained with Christ on the eve of his crucifixion, giving him the fortitude to face his fate. The name Gabriel means “Strength from God” and thus he is invoked for courage.
The first mention of Gabriel the Archangel is in the Book of Daniel. In it, Gabriel visits the prophet Daniel, interpreting his dreams and explaining his visions to him. After Daniel prays for Israel, Gabriel goes to him and, by touching him, communicates the prophecy that “seventy weeks” of years would elapse before the coming of the Savior. The ancient Jews viewed the Archangel Gabriel as a judgmental figure, who meted out punishments. They believed that it was he who buried Moses, as well as leveled the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
It is assumed that it was the Archangel Gabriel who appeared to Saint Joachim to instruct him on the coming birth of his daughter, Mary. To the priest Zechariah he announced the coming birth of John the Baptist. When Zechariah scoffed at the angel because he and his wife were too old to be parents, Gabriel struck him dumb until the child was born. Gabriel is particularly devoted to Jesus and the Blessed Mother and his celestial intervention occurs throughout their earthly lives. The greatest visitation of Gabriel is known as the Annunciation. He visited the fourteen-year-old Mary and told her that she would soon give birth to the Divine Savior. When Mary asked how this could be possible, since she was still a virgin, he carefully explained the role of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s creation. It is said that the beauty expressed by Mary as she resigned herself to the will of God made the angel tremble. Saint Gabriel is known as the “Angel of the Incarnation” because he was present when “the Word was made flesh”. As he spoke to Mary, Jesus was created in her body. Gabriel then went on to comfort and reassure Joseph that this was indeed an act of God, so that he would stand by Mary. When the baby Jesus was born, it was Gabriel who spread the news of his birth to the shepherds in the surrounding region.
As Saint Raphael guides us on earth and Saint Michael meets us in death, Saint Gabrrl is the angel who selects souls from heaven to be given birth in the material world. He spends the nine months that the baby is forming instructing that soul on what he or she will need to know on earth. Because of his willingness to teach and to ensure that we understand the information he imparts, Saint Gabriel is the patron of parents and teachers. His role as a heavenly messenger also makes him the patron of postal workers and those in the communications industry. His feast has been changed from March 24 to the Feast of the Archangel, September 29.
Saint Gabriel, Archangel is the patron saint of: Communications Industry, Postal Employees, Parents, Teachers
NOVENA TO SAINT GABRIEL, ARCHANGEL
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the Angel of the Incarnation, because God specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a very tender and devoted love for the Incarnate Word and his Blessed Mother, more like your own.
I venerate you also as the “Strength from God”, because you are the giver of God’s strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God’s faithful and teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions; renew my courage; comfort and console me in the problems, trials and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in his agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.
Saint Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God made man and for his Blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, it it be God’s holy will.
Pray for us, Saint Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.
Say this novena nine times in a row for nine days in a row.
Excerpted from the book, “Novena: The Power of Prayer” by Barbara Calamari and Sandra DiPasqua.