Because angels have never had a human existence, their attributes are in the purest forms. There are seven archangels that sit before the throne of God, exalted above all others. Of these, three are mentioned in the Bible as interacting the most with humanity: Raphael, Gabriel and Michael. While entire nations invoke Michael, and Gabriel has a very specific purpose, the archangel Raphael is most effectively invoked when we are at our most human. Raphael, whose name means “Remedy of god,” might also be known as the angel of everyday life. For example, we pray to Saint Raphael in hopes of meeting a life partner, before we take a trip, or to heal our illnesses. He is known for infusing even the smallest, most mundane daily events with peace and happiness.
It was Raphael who healed the earth after the fallen angels who were cast out of heaven landed on it. In ancient times there was a small body of water akin to a pond, called Probatica. Those with devastating illnesses could go there and wait in the water as an angel of the Lord came down and, moving the water over the afflicted, healed them. That angel was Raphael. Raphael’s relationship with humankind is such that he also sees to it that scientific knowledge is brought to its highest level. It was Raphael who instructed Noah on how to build the ark and King Solomon on how to build the great temple.
One of the most famous stories of Raphael’s intervention is told in the Bible Book of Tobit. The story is significant because in it, Rapahel is petitioned by disparate people, but in a wholly loving fashion he managed to bring them all together in the most joyous of outcomes. Tobit, having gone blind and thus unable to travel with his son Tobias across the desert, called on Raphael to accommodate his son. Meanwhile, on the other side of the desert was a woman named Sara who also had been praying to Raphael for relief, because she’d lost seven husbands, all of whom died on their wedding nights, victims of a demon. Raphael, disguising himself as a man named Azariah, guided Tobias in his travels. Upon reaching their destination, the angel, as Azariah, pointed Sara out to Tobias and suggested that she would make a wonderful wife. He further advised Tobias on how to defeat the demon by praying for three days, burning the innards of a fish they had caught, and thinking of God on his wedding night. Tobias and Sara were blessed with a most happy marriage, and the demon was expelled into the desert. Raphael even restored Tobit’s sight. In responding to their prayers to him, Raphael was able to guide them all to a higher level of life. For this reason, prayers are said to Raphael in order to find a life partner that is on an equal spiritual level.
Saint Raphael is also the patron of travelers; we ask him not only for a safe journey, but for a more enlightened one. He is always depicted leading Tobias, who is carrying the fish. The original feast day of Raphael is October 24, but his day was changed to the Feast of the Archangel, which he shares with Gabriel and Michael, on September 29.
Saint Raphael is the patron Saint of: Travelers, the Blind, the Sciences, Healing
He is invoked for: Happy Meetings
Novena to Saint Rapahael
Glorious archangel Saint Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide to those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted and refuge of sinners.
I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as you once helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God”, I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (mention your request) and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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