Archangel Gabriel

Patron Saint of Messengers

Hebrew: "God is my strength"

Only four appearances of Gabriel are recorded: In Daniel 8, he explains the vision of the horned ram as portending the destruction of the Persian Empire by the Macedonian Alexander the Great, after whose death the kingdom will be divided up among his generals, from one of whom will spring Antiochus Epiphanes. In chapter 9, after Daniel had prayed for Israel, we read that "the man Gabriel . . . . flying swiftly touched me" and he communicated to him the mysterious prophecy of the "seventy weeks" of years which should elapse before the coming of Christ. In chapter 10, it is not clear whether the angel is Gabriel or not, but at any rate we may apply to him the marvellous description in verses 5 and 6. In the New Testament he foretells to Zachary the birth of the Precursor, and to Mary that of the Saviour.

Thus he is throughout the angel of the Incarnation and of Consolation, and so in Christian tradition Gabriel is ever the angel of mercy while Michael is rather the angel of judgment. At the same time, even in the Bible, Gabriel is, in accordance with his name, the angel of the Power of God, and it is worth while noting the frequency with which such words as "great", "might", "power", and "strength" occur in the passages referred to above.

The Jews indeed seem to have dwelt particularly upon this feature in Gabriel's character, and he is regarded by them as the angel of judgment, while Michael is called the angel of mercy. Thus they attribute to Gabriel the destruction of Sodom and of the host of Sennacherib, though they also regard him as the angel who buried Moses, and as the man deputed to mark the figure Tau on the foreheads of the he elect (Ezekiel 4). In later Jewish literature the names of angels were considered to have a peculiar efficacy, and the British Museum possesses some magic bowls inscribed with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac incantations in which the names of Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel occur. These bowls were found at Hillah, the site of Babylon, and constitute an interesting relic of the Jewish captivity. In apocryphal Christian literature the same names occur, cf. Enoch, ix, and the Apocalypse of the Blessed Virgin.

As remarked above, Gabriel is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, but it is not unreasonable to suppose with Christian tradition that it is he who appeared to St. Joseph and to the shepherds, and also that it was he who "strengthened" Our Lord in the garden (cf. the Hymn for Lauds on 24 March). Gabriel is generally termed only an Archangel, but the expression used by St. Raphael, "I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tobit 12:15) and St. Gabriel's own words, "I am Gabriel, who stand before God" (Luke 1:19), have led some to think that these angels must belong to the highest rank; but this is generally explained as referring to their rank as the highest of God's messengers, and not as placing them among the Seraphim and Cherubim (cf. St. Thomas, I.112.3; III.30.2 ad 4um). 1

Archangel Gabriel - The Annunciation

Archangel Gabriel - The Annunciation
by Bartolome Murillo 1

Prayer to Archangel Gabriel

You Angel of humanity, you trusting messenger of God, open our ears also for the quiet warnings and calls of the most loving Heart of Jesus! Always be in front of our eyes, we beg you, that we understand the Word of God correctly, that we follow, obey and fulfill that which God wants of us! And assist us in staying awake for when the Lord comes to get us so that He does not find us asleep! Amen. 2

Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Gabriel
Artist Unknown 2

Prayer to Archangel Gabriel

O Captain and Leader of the armies of heaven, unworthy as we are, we beseech you without cease to surround us with your intercession and cover us beneath the shelter of the glory of your ethereal wings. We bend our kneee and cry out with perservance: "Deliver us from danger, O Prince of the Powers on high!" Amen. 3

Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Gabriel
by Luke Dingman 3

Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Gabriel
by Tiziano Vecellio 4

Litany of St. Gabriel

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary , Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel, glorious Archangel, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, strength of God, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, who stands before the throne of God, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, model of prayer, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, herald of the Incarnation, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, who revealed the glories of Mary, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, Prince of Heaven, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, ambassador of the Most High, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, guardian of the Immaculate Virgin, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, who foretold the greatness of Jesus, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, peace and light of souls, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, scourge of unbelievers, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, admirable teacher, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, strength of the just, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, protector of the faithful, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, first adorer of the Divine Word, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, defender of the Faith, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, zealous for the honor of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, whom the Scriptures praise as the Angel sent by God to Mary, the Virgin, pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
V. Pray for us, blessed Archangel Gabriel,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let Us Pray: O blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, intercede for us at the throne of Divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in Heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen. 4

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