ARCHANGEL GABRIEL: “The strength of God”.

Loneliness? Many in the modern world complain and suffer due to an intense loneliness.  This crushing loneliness has often led many to the brink of despair and ultimately suicide! This loneliness has been so intense and pervading that life seems excruciatingly unbearable—better not to live and have existence then to live in a world all alone, all alone, all alone!!!

Wrong perspective of reality!  We are never alone even a second of our existence—not even a split second! Why are we never alone? The response is very simple: God as well as His works of creation that we call angels are always with us!

Saint Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles, quotes one of the poets with this immortal phrase:  In Him we live and move and have our being.” Some of God’s primary attributes are the following: His omnipotence, omniscience, eternity and infinity and also God’s omnipresence.

Actually we can never escape from God’s presence. The Psalmist attests to this by saying that if we go to the heights of the mountain, God is present. If we go to the depths of the sea; God is present. Even in the depths of  utter darkness, God is present as if it were the noon-day sun!

In addition to God always being present in every breath we take and every heart-beat of our entire life, He also becomes acutely present in His creation—especially through the presence of His angels! Let us mention one of these great angels—actually Archangels—that God has created to be with us now, and the hour of our death and even into heaven for all eternity.  This angel is the Archangel Gabriel.

Meaning of the name Gabriel?  In the Liturgy of the Hours for the Feast day of the three Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael, on September 29th every year we read and meditate a spiritual masterpiece written by Pope Saint Gregory the Great. This saintly Pope calls Gabriel “The strength of God”. In other words, God is omnipotent (All-powerful), but He manifests His power in creation and in the Archangel Gabriel. Through this Archangel Gabriel may God grant us power to overcome our human weaknesses, frailties and sins!

Where in the Bible can the Archangel Gabriel be found? It is very interesting that the Archangel Gabriel can be found in both the Old Testament and New Testament. In the Old Testament he can be found in the Book of the Prophet Daniel---chapters 8 and 9. He comes to the aid of Daniel to help him to interpret a vision!  Let us pray to Gabriel also so that he can help us to penetrate the deep meaning of Sacred Scripture and put the Word of God into practice!

In the New Testament the Archangel Gabriel is found two times, back to back! First, he appears in the passage Luke 1:5-25.   In this passage Zechariah is carrying out his priestly duties in the temple offering incense. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. He announces to Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child whom, they would name “John”.   He will be a source of great joy to both Zechariah and Elizabeth. However, Zechariah doubts and due to his doubt he is chastised by being struck dumb. 

There are some very important messages in this encounter between man and angel.

1.    Good News. God sends his angel as a source of great and joyful news. The Angels of God are present to console us in our moments of desolation and crushing loneliness. We are never alone, but in communion with our angel friends, especially Gabriel!

2.    TRUST.  God wants us to trust His plans even though we cannot always understand them completely. Our God is at times a very mysterious God, but he always works for our good and eternal salvation.

3.    CONTROL TONGUE.  We learn a hard lesson here!  We should always consider thinking before we speak.  Saint James reminds us with these clear and cutting words: “We should be slow to speak, but quick to listen.” The Imitation of Christ asserts: “There are very few who regret remaining silent, but many for having spoken when they should not have.”

The most important presence of the Archangel Gabriel is of course the passage of the Annunciation or sometimes called the Incarnation, which is the first Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary. (Lk. 1: 26-38)

This encounter between the Archangel Gabriel and the Blessed Virgin Mary can be considered one of the most important encounters in the History of all of humanity—world-changing, until the end of time, the effects felt even into eternity!

This passage, most likely, is familiar to many of us. However, at times some of the most sublime and sacred of events can easily be skipped over, read flippantly or superficially without giving too much thought or importance to it. This should not be the case with the account of the Annunciation of the Archangel to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us beg for the grace to never trivialize the sacred! May God save us! Let us unpack the eternal importance of this life-changing, historical event  that took place in the humble abode of Nazareth.

1. MARY’S FREEDOM. Mary is free to accept the offering of God or she is free to say “No” as did Eve in the very beginning. Mary teaches us to use our freedom properly and to say “yes” to God and His divine plan of redemption.

2. GABRIEL—GOD’S AMBASSADOR. God chose to send one of His ambassadors from Heaven to announce the Good News of salvation.    Saint Paul says that we are also “Ambassadors of Christ”.  Through Baptism we are sons and daughters of God, but also ambassadors who represent the King of King and Lord of Lords.” We should always strive to live up the heights of this call from God!

3. GREETING OF ARCANGEL GABRIEL.   The Archangel cordially greets Mary:  “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee…”  We eternally thank the Archangel Gabriel for this greeting because this is the very first part of the prayer that Our Lady loves most the Hail Mary…. May we pray the Hail Mary with greater attention, love and devotion through the intercession of the Archangel Gabriel.

4. HOLY NAME OF JESUS.  It was the Archangel Gabriel who was sent by God the Father to announce the Good News to Mary that she would be the Mother of God, but also even to announce His NAME.   It was the Archangel Gabriel who actually gave the Holy Name that Mary would give to her child, the Holy Name of JESUS! At this name every knee will bow in heaven, on earth, and even under the earth…” May we learn to have the greatest respect for the name Jesus. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that saying the Name of Jesus with reverence and faith is already a prayer.

5. SALVATION.  Gabriel even explains the meaning of the name of Jesus—“He will come to the people to save them of their sins!”   What an important message: explaining that all of humanity would be saved by this Heavenly Child with the name of JESUS—meaning Savior! Come Lord Jesus, come, come and save us!

6. VIRGINAL CONCEPTION.  Mary had made a vow of virginity and asks the Archangel Gabriel how she would become a mother if she had no relations with man. Once again, it was the Archangel Gabriel who was chosen to explain to Mary the means by which she would maintain her vow of virginity and still have a child and actually be the Mother of God.

7. HOW?  The Archangel Gabriel gives a sign, actually a miraculous sign. Mary’s elderly cousin Elizabeth—way beyond the age of child-bearing—was already in her sixth month because nothing is impossible with God! The virginal conception would come about through the overpowering of the Holy Spirit. How sublime and wonderful this announcement made by the Archangel Gabriel!

8. OUR GOD IS A GOD OF POWER AND MIRACLES!  As was just mentioned the Archangel Gabriel said: “Nothing is impossible with God.”  Our God is a mysterious God, but also a God of power and miracles! Through the intercession of the Archangel Gabriel may we carry out the miracles in our lives that God may ask each and every one of us!

9. ANGEL’S SILENCE AND WAITING FOR MARY’S CONSENT.   The Archangel Gabriel after delivering this heavenly message of Good News waits in silence for Mary to think, ponder, reflect, pray and respond. May this holy angel grant us the grace to think and pray and then respond like the Blessed Virgin Mary! May we have a contemplative spirit and be “contemplatives in action.”

10. MARY’S YES!  Mary responded to the Archangel Gabriel and to God the Father with her “Yes”—this YES of Mary would change the history of the world. Indeed this moment of Mary’s YES was one of the most important moments in the history of the world. Mary said: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to thy word.”   In that moment Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Yes! Jesus descends from heaven into the womb of Mary. The consequences of this “Yes” of Mary--- SALVATION!!!         Through Mary’s “Yes” Jesus comes into the world, lives among us, suffers, dies and is buried and is raised from the dead—the gates of heaven are burst asunder and we can be SAVED!!!!! Heaven can be ours for all eternity. Thanks be to God! Thanks be to Mary!  Thanks be to the GOOD NEWS announced to Mary through the Archangel Gabriel. For that reason Pope Paul VI named the Archangel Gabriel the Patron of Communications. Why? Because he communicated the most important Good News of our salvation: the Incarnation and birth of JESUS, Our Lord God and Savior.

Conclusion, we hope and pray that you have met a new friend, an angel friend, an Archangel friend—THE ARCHANGEL SAINT GABRIEL. We pray and hope that this great angel will empower you to avoid sin and practice virtue. We pray that he will help you to understand and live Sacred Scripture.  Furthermore, we pray that he will help you to be thankful to God for the Good News of salvation come about through the mystery of the Annunciation and the Incarnation. Also we pray that he will help you to be a true herald of Good News by your words and life. Of course never forget that when you feel sad, depressed, in a state of deep desolation to turn to your Archangel friend and he will walk with you, talk with you, console you and help you realize that your are really never alone in life! Finally, may the Archangel Gabriel inspire you to love the HAIL MARY. It was Gabriel that gave us the first words and part of the Hail Mary. May he be with us in this life and all eternity to praise the Trinity along with the angels and the Queen of Angels—Mary most Holy, the Mother of God!