Saint Gabriel the Archangel
By Petronia Laine

The angel Gabriel is one of the three angels named in the Bible and is one of the seven angels who stand before the Throne of God. The name Gabriel is Hebrew from the words geber and ale. The word geber means a valiant man (in gender) or warrior having strength to fulfill a responsibility. The word ale is "-el". El means God in the ancient near east. And while it usually occurred alone, "el" was also combined with other words to constitute deity, or to identify the nature and functions of the deity in some manner. Thus the expression "manlike strength of God" for Gabriel. Gabriel's identity is first made known in scripture, Dan. 8:16.

The book of Daniel Ch. 7-10 is about visions that Daniel had been given and he was seeking to understand them. Then a manlike figure appeared to him. He heard a voice cry out, "Gabriel, explain the vision to this man" (Dan. 8:16). Daniel was in fear and the manlike vision says to him, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the end time". The angel Gabriel explained the vision as the period of wrath, for at an appointed time, there will be an end. Gabriel goes on to explain the visions and revealing the coming of the Son of Man, who will save the holy ones from destruction. The explanation included where in Daniel 7:10-16 it reads the Ancient One is at His Throne in heaven, which is in reference to Rev. 5:11, where Christ appears as a Lamb coming to receive the scroll from God at the end time and the angels are praising God and Christ.

In Dan. 9:21, again Daniel was petitioning for understanding of the vision and Gabriel came to him in rapid flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. And, in Dan.10:5-12, Gabriel appeared to Daniel to give further understanding of the 'end time' vision. Gabriel was dressed in power of God in linen with a belt of fine gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face shown like lightning, his eyes were like fiery torches, his arms and feet looked like burnished bronze, and his voice sounded like the roar of a multitude. Daniel fell in fear and Gabriel touched him, raising him, and said, "Daniel, beloved, understand the words which I am speaking to you; stand up, for my mission now is to you." And continued, "Fear not, Daniel, from the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard....." It is my thought that Gabriel is displaying power to Daniel to mean that he is from God. He is giving God's message for the coming in power and glory of the Lamb of God as in Rev. 5:11. Gabriel strengthens Daniel to prepare him to hear the truth (Dan. 10:19-21) and instructed him further about the 'end times'.

In Luke 1:19 Gabriel appeared in the 'fullness of time' and was sent to Zechariah and Elizabeth to announce God's plan in preparing for the coming of the Lord. They were an older couple and righteous in the eyes of God and they were childless (Luke 1:5-7). Zechariah was a priest and was chosen by lot for his turn to offer the prayers for the people at the hour of the incense offering. He entered the sanctuary and offered the people's petitions. The people were also praying outside the sanctuary (Luke 1:8-12). Gabriel greeted Zechariah, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.... Gabriel continued that John was to be a prophet and filled with the Holy Spirit and would help others turn from disobedience of God and prepare people for the coming of the Lord (Luke 1:17).

Zechariah asked Gabriel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." And the angel said, "I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to you and to announce to you this good news.....(Luke 1:18-21). Then Zechariah became mute because he did not believe Gabriel's words, but also his being mute served a purpose of confirming Gabriel's words to him. After John was born Zechariah's voice returned as Gabriel said it would happen (Luke 1:20). Elizabeth's sixth month with child, Gabriel was sent to Mary, the virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. Gabriel greets Mary, "Hail, Favored one! The Lord is with you!" Mary pondered this greeting and the angel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord will give Him the throne of David his father and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." But Mary asked, "How can this be, since I have no relations with man?" And Gabriel said, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God (Luke 1:26-36). After this Gabriel told Mary about her cousin Elizabeth being with child in the sixth month. Mary went to Elizabeth to help her until John was born. John's birth was also a confirmation to Blessed Mary of Gabriel's words to her. In announcing the Incarnation to Blessed Mary and when Mary accepted according to the word of God, Gabriel was the first to worship the Son of the Most High.

In my thoughts of the Gabriel's assignments in Daniel and Luke, I notice that part of Gabriel's role is announcing the coming of Christ, the Anointed One in God's plan for the salvation of the world. John the Baptist heralded the coming of the Lord by calling for repentance from sin and to be baptized with water. The Blessed Virgin Mary has been coming to earth giving us messages from God in Medjugorje, I believe as began in June 24, 1981 on the feast day of John the Baptist. Similar to Gabriel and John the Baptist's missions, Our Lady's mission is to herald the second coming of her Son, Jesus Christ in our hearts. She has been inviting us to live her messages and open our hearts to love God for many years. Let us pray as Our Lady asks of us, and because Gabriel stands before the Throne of God, let us ask Gabriel, the archangel, for his mighty and powerful intercession of our prayers.

Prayer to the Archangel Gabriel

Oh, Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech you, to intercede for us in our necessities at the throne of Divine Mercy, that you who made known to Mary the Mystery of the Incarnation, through your prayers and intercession in heaven, may obtain for us the benefits of heaven that we may sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.

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