The archangel’s name in Hebrew means “Divine Healer.”
Among the three archangels named in the Bible, St. Raphael is probably the least known. This is likely due to the fact that St. Raphael is only found in the Old Testament (and there only in a book not considered canonical by Jews or Protestant Christians), while Gabriel and Michael feature prominently in the New Testament.
Traditionally, Raphael had a separate feast celebrated on October 24, though recently his feast was combined with those of the other two archangels on September 29.
St. Raphael is a powerful intercessor whom we should not forget, especially during times when we are most in need of healing.
Raphael is found in the Book of Tobit, where he reveals himself as a healer of mind, body and spirit. The first part of the biblical story narrates the life of Tobit, a righteous Jewish man who took upon himself the burial of the dead even when it was forbidden by his Assyrian captors. Tobit became blind after bird droppings fell into his eyes. The blindness lasted for several years and sent Tobit into a deep anguish, creating in him a desire to die.
At the same time there was a woman named Sarah who was tormented by a demon. She married seven times, but each time her bridegroom was killed by the demon on their wedding night, before the marriage could be consummated. She too was deeply depressed and wished for death.
St. Raphael was sent to both. He brought about their healing by accompanying Tobit’s son, Tobias, on a journey to find a special kind of fish liver with healing properties. Raphael was disguised as Tobias’ travel guide, and in this tradition he is often invoked by pilgrims.
On the way back home, Raphael and Tobias stopped at the home of Tobit’s kinsmen — the parents of Sarah. Tobias and Sarah fell in love, and on their wedding night Tobias’ pledge of chaste love, stirred by Raphael’s angelic power, defeated the demon.
Returning home with his bride, Tobias laid the fish liver on Tobit’s eyes and his blindness was healed. At the marriage feast of Tobias and Sarah, the family turned to thank Raphael, who only then revealed himself as an archangel.
The word Raphael in Hebrew can be rendered as, “God heals,” “Divine Healer,” or “Remedy of God.” His angelic mission on earth is to heal, which is very important for those suffering in any way.
O Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of 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 once you 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 (here mention your special intention), and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Short Prayer to St. Raphael the Archangel
St. Raphael, the Archangel, arrow and medicine of Divine Love, wound our hearts, we implore you, with the burning love of God and let this wound never heal, so that even in daily life we might always remain upon the path of love and overcome all things through love. Amen.
Consecration Prayer to St. Raphael
Holy Archangel Raphael, standing so close to the throne of God and offering Him our prayers, I venerate you as God’s special Friend and Messenger. I choose you as my Patron and wish to love and obey you as young Tobias did. I consecrate to you my body and soul, all my work, and my whole life. I want you to be my Guide and Counsellor in all the dangerous and difficult problems and decisions of my life. Remember, dearest Saint Raphael, that the grace of God preserved you with the good angels in heaven when the proud ones were cast into hell. I entreat you, therefore, to help me in my struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Defend me from all dangers and every occasion of sin. Direct me always in the way of peace, safety, and salvation. Offer my prayers to God as you offered those of Tobias, so that through your intercession I may obtain the graces necessary for the salvation of my soul. Remember me and always entreat for me before the Face of the Son of God. Help me to love and serve my God faithfully, to die in His grace, and finally to merit to join you in seeing and praising God forever in heaven. Amen.